Jean-Claude Biver Announces His Own Watch Brand

The industry veteran and his son Pierre intend to offer the first JC Biver models late this year.

Forty years ago, Jean-Claude Biver, then an executive with Omega, reportedly paid about $16,000 for rights to the name Blancpain, a Swiss mechanical watch brand founded in 1739 that had been pushed to the edge of insolvency during the 1970s, when the advent of cheap Japanese quartz technology decimated the Swiss industry.

“Blancpain was more or less the first independent brand,” Mr. Biver, now 72, recalled on a recent video call from his home near Zurich. “And whoever has 40 years behind him, he wants one day to go back and close the

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