Pierre Biver, discovering his own passion


December 2023

Pierre Biver, discovering his own passion

Some newcomers to the GPHG Academy are unknown to the public. Other names ring out like a clock striking noon in the town square. Pierre Biver is one of those. His surname is closely linked to the history of modern watchmaking. Recent events have propelled him to centre stage. But in reality, his passion for watches grew organically over time. Here is his portrait.


ne might assume that Pierre Biver, son of watchmaking icon Jean-Claude Biver, was predestined to follow in his father’s footsteps; that he would inevitably make a career in the environment that was so familiar to him since childhood. But that wasn’t the case. His career did not begin in a watchmaking workshop, at the workbench or in the offices of one of the major brands that his father developed.

“I couldn’t necessarily appreciate the fine watchmaking to which I had always been accustomed,” he confides. “At 18, I wanted to get away from it all and become an architect. I like design, the idea of creating buildings that fit into their environment and leave their mark.”

Pierre Biver began his studies at HEC Lausanne, but soon realised that it wasn’t for him. So he decided to travel, to gain some personal experience. Then, in 2018 in London, he met Aurel Bacs, who had just opened his first shop selling second-hand watches over the counter. He started working there, and James Marks, an expert in Phillip’s watch department, became his mentor. He now felt more at home and could let himself express his own passion for watchmaking.

“In this vintage field, where my father wasn’t really involved, I was under less pressure. I was able to read a lot and learn the stories behind the watches. It was then that I really started to understand, and finally began to appreciate all the fabulous stories that had formed the backdrop to my youth. I was also able to appreciate the value of the Blancpain watch that my father had given me as a coming-of-age present. It’s easy to be thrust into this world as a Biver, but it’s not enough, you need to have a real passion.”

Pierre Biver, discovering his own passion

When the pandemic hit, Pierre returned to Switzerland and resumed his studies at HEC. But he had to pull out once again when his father suffered a serious cycling accident, and Pierre was obliged to step in and manage his ongoing affairs, in particular his watch collection.

Pierre Biver, discovering his own passion

Faced with this new twist of fate, Jean-Claude Biver felt the pressing need to pass on his heritage, his passion. He asked his son to join him in creating their eponymous brand. Today, Pierre could not be happier: “I’m now moving from vintage to pure creation. It’s wonderful. I realise that I, too, want to pass this on, to grow the Biver brand for the next 50 years with pride and humility.”

Pierre Biver, discovering his own passion

What about his appointment as a member of the GPHG Academy? “It’s part of my passion. It’s an honour to be able to reflect and to discuss all these creations with genuine experts. It also encourages me to put myself in the creators’ shoes, to understand what they wanted to achieve. It opens your mind and gives you a real sense of responsibility. I feel like I’m part of this great watchmaking family, doing what I love.”

It’s not easy growing up in the shadow of a powerful figure, but it’s exciting to be able to assert your own personality.

Pierre Biver, discovering his own passion

About the GPHG Academy

The Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) Academywas established in 2020. Its 840-plus members are men and women who believe in the common destiny of watchmaking. Experienced and respected stakeholders in key sectors relating to the watch industry, Academy members preselect the watches that will compete in the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève and, alongside the Jury, vote for the year’s winners.

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