The news broke about a year ago – industry veteran Jean-Claude Biver and his son were about launch their own brand. The idea was to launch a “small family brand, for passionate people, and very exclusive watches“. Off the record, the first watch was to be a carillon minute repeater tourbillon with a micro-rotor presented in spring 2023. The promise has been kept. A few days ago, we joined Jean-Claude Biver and his son Pierre Biver in their new facility in Givrins, a small village between Geneva and Lausanne, to discover the Carillon tourbillon Biver and the father-and-son’s plans for the future. Their first opus combines classic design codes, distinctive character and top-notch craftsmanship. We also had the opportunity to discuss their future projects… and exciting watches are in development: a beautiful three-hander, a jaw-dropping chronograph and even more in the coming years! But this is for later.
One of the most prominent figures in the watch industry, Jean-Claude Biver has a 50-year career behind him. It has taken him from Audemars Piguet to Blancpain, Omega, Hublot and more recently to TAG Heuer and LVMH. The 73-year-old stepped down from the head of the LVMH Watch Division in September 2018. Most people look forward to retirement, not Jean-Claude Biver. There is no finish line for people like JCB… It was time to embark with his 22-year-old son Pierre on a new adventure, the creation of a highly exclusive independent brand. To this end, they called upon the expertise of the best specialists in each field and the exceptional Biver experience and network within the industry.
The first chapter of the Biver watches story is seriously complex, represented by a carillon minute repeater regulated by a tourbillon and wound by a micro-rotor.
“We want the minute repeater to be the cornerstone of the brand,” explains Pierre Biver, “made to a design we both could identify with, and with a movement that serves the aesthetic we defined. A contemporary watch, inspired by tradition and representative of both my father and me.”
To create their Minute Repeater Carillon Tourbillon, the Bivers called upon the expertise of one of the best specialists in the field, Le Cercle des Horlogers. The following developments are proprietary calibres developed with Dubois-Dépraz. There is a movement constructor, François Perez, in-house. Two watchmakers to assemble the movements and a specialist in movement decoration have also been hired.
The repeater movement was “upgraded” with a carillon (using three hammers to chime instead of two) and a tourbillon. A pretty rare feature for a repeater, it is wound by a micro-rotor, adding the comfort and practicality of automatic winding while keeping the movement relatively thin and allowing for an uncluttered view of the movement.
The Carillon Tourbillon Biver is presented in a 42mm round case with a concave bezel, case bands and caseback. The large crown and the angular soldered lugs add to the character of the watch. The water-resistance is rated at 50 meters. A bold design choice, the dials are made of hard stone, with silver obsidian or sodalite. These are domed and feature superbly finished curved indexes paired with hand-polished dauphine-style hands. The one-minute tourbillon rotates at 6 o’clock under a bridge matching the design of the hands.
Turning the watch over, the exhibition caseback allows a view of the beautiful micro-rotor movement with superb finishes throughout. Among other details, the white gold bridges are black polished and grained; the steel parts are black polished and satin finished. The automatic calibre JCB001 is 34mm in diameter, it runs at 21,600 vibrations/hour (3Hz, classic for a tourbillon), and it has an autonomy of 72 hours when fully wound.
Availability & Price
The watch is presented on a distinctive 5-row titanium or gold bracelet with faceted links. Perfectly integrated into the case, it is interchangeable. At EUR 520,000 or USD 550,000, the Carillon Tourbillon Biver is not for every pocket but will be a rare watch anyway. For now, Biver Watches will be available with one retailer per region. Yoshida in Japan, The Hour Glass in Singapore, Bucherer in Europe, Material Good in the USA, and Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons in Dubai.
For more information, please visit www.jcbiver.com.
This post first appeared on Monochrome Watches - An online magazine dedicated to fine watches.