Jean-Claude Biver, who officially retires tomorrow as CEO of TAG Heuer and head of LVMH’s Watchmaking Division, says that Richemont’s purchase of Watchfinder this year will be the first of several acquisitions of secondary market platforms by the biggest watchmaking conglomerates.
The Watchfinder acquisition, rumored to have cost Richemont between £250m and £350 million, depending on performance, gave Richemont an instant outlet for over-stocked watches and opened the possibility of them creating a certified pre-owned program for brands including Cartier, Panerai and IWC.
“I think [the platforms] will be bought by brands,” Mr Biver predicts. “Brands have already started to buy. Richemont bought Watchfinder, and that is the start. Other groups will start to buy too. I do not know the secrets of other groups, but I think they will buy,” he adds.
Mr Biver, who is taking on the non-executive title of chairman for LVMH’s Watchmaking Division, may not know the secrets of rival watchmaking groups, but he also dodged the question from WatchPro of whether LVMH might be in the market for an acquisition of a platform like Chrono24.
“I do not know,” he replies. “It makes sense, but I do not know whether LVMH would buy it,” he adds.