All You Need is Love by The Beatles is the secret behind the success of one of the Swiss watchmaking industry’s most respected leaders of the past 40 years.
Jean-Claude Biver, who was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the UK edition of WatchPro last night, told an assembled audience of 300 watch executives that his core values were defined back in the 1960s when, while living in a hippy commune, he first saw the Fab Four perform their 1967 hit on television.
Quoting from the lyrics of the song, he said he was inspired by the the message that, “There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done,” and, “All you need is love.”
Love in business, Mr Biver expanded, means respect and support for colleagues, suppliers, customers and the work we do.
The greatest love of all, he continued, is between a mother and her child; a love that cannot be broken from the womb to the grave. Relationships must be treated the same way in business, he said.
A perfect illustration of how love influences business came in a speech by Time Products chief executive Marcus Margulies, who first started working with Mr Biver in the early 1980s, and spoke movingly of the friendship and respect the two industry giants have enjoyed over almost 40 years.
Time Products distributed Blancpain, Hublot, Audemars Piguet and other luxury Swiss watch brands in the UK and United States in the 1980s and 90s. It owns Sekonda and Accurist.
From their first encounter when Mr Biver was trying to sell a few dozen Blancpain watches to Mr Margulies, through to the pair cracking the American market on bootstrapped road trips, the pair built their reputations and business empires side-by-side.
Mr Biver, who was listening with his wife to the tribute from Mr Margulies, was visibly moved as he accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award and applause from the room.