Jean-Claude Biver unites with up-and-coming Swiss watch brand Norqain as advisor to the board
NORQAIN’s momentum in the world of watches will be pushed further with guidance and mentoring from the iconic industry legend. Jean-Claude Biver and the team behind the family-owned brand have set their sights on revolutionary new product lines with innovative, sustainable materials.
With an average age of 35, the NORQAIN team is the youngest to have made its mark in the Swiss watch industry. Today, the brand announces a new and exciting collaboration with Jean-Claude Biver – the industry legend who has brought success to every brand he was involved with. Together, NORQAIN and Jean- Claude Biver aim to spread their passion for mechanical watches in the age of digitalization and smartwatches. NORQAIN’s mission is to support the movement of putting Swiss-made watches on the wrists of the young and the young-at-heart, a mission that Jean-Claude Biver wholeheartedly supports.
Jean-Claude Biver says: “Giving back to the younger generation now at the forefront of the industry is always something I’ve wanted to do. From 20 to 40 I learned, from 40 to 60 I capitalised on my knowledge, and now I want to share my experiences and know-how with the young talents who are shaking up the watch world. I am happy to support NORQAIN because of its young, dynamic team and I share their passion for the Swiss watch industry. As I announced earlier this year, I will launch my own exclusive watch brand, JC Biver, together with my son Pierre in 2023. At the same time, my role as Advisor to the Board at NORQAIN allows me to be associated with an exciting brand in an essential price-point for the Swiss watch industry. It is very important to have strong Swiss independent brands in different price segments and NORQAIN offers an exciting challenge to the status quo”.
Revolutionary new product concept
NORQAIN CEO Ben Küffer adds: “It is an honour to have the opportunity to work together with one of the greats. I am extremely excited to work with Jean-Claude and to have him challenge the team to reach the highest summits and further develop the brand through innovation. The fact that Jean-Claude is building up his own family-owned brand at the same time will definitely lead to motivating discussions and a valuable exchange of ideas and experiences”.
Jean-Claude Biver has already had several workshops with the team to develop innovative marketing and distribution concepts. Looking ahead, the watch industry icon will support the brand through the process of receiving CO2-neutral certification and creating a revolutionary, eco-friendly, robust and ultra-light product line that will be introduced in autumn this year. This new collaboration strongly underlines the long-term vision of the independent brand.
The rise of the industry’s youngest team
Guided by the motto “young team – bold decisions”, NORQAIN’s product development achievement with movement manufacturer Kenissi and prominent partnerships with the NHL Players’ Association and Matterhorn Ultraks were pivotal in shaping the independent brand’s reputation. Its promise to use only vegan-certified straps for all new products and its collaboration with the Butterfly Help Project – giving children in Nepal access to education – underscore NORQAIN’s real commitment to environmental and social initiatives. NORQAINERS such as wildlife ambassador Dean Schneider, ice hockey stars Mark Streit and Roman Josi, and other trailblazers in the worlds of sport, culture and entrepreneurship have helped the brand express its values of adventure, freedom and independence.
Jean-Claude Biver says: “I have kept a close eye on NORQAIN since its founding and have been consistently impressed with the team’s achievements around the world in such a short amount of time. The brand’s values align with my own and I am looking forward to climbing new peaks with them and developing innovate products using new sustainable materials”.
Strengthening values, increasing sales
Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19 over the past years, NORQAIN’s global sales increased by over 50% in 2021. The family-owned brand’s success is a result of a distinguished and stylish product range that embodies its personality as an adventurous watchmaker that creates timepieces for equally adventurous customers. NORQAIN’s entire product range exceeds the strictest quality standards and all its watches are developed with the industry’s leading suppliers. Jean-Claude Biver’s involvement with NORQAIN will help the brand maximise untapped potential – his interest in the brand is a sign that it is moving in the right direction.
“There are few truly independent watch brands that exist today – NORQAIN is rare in this sense. Without the pressure of shareholders, NORQAIN has freedom to create its own long-term vision and the path it takes to get there. This opens the door to innovation”, says Jean-Claude Biver.
NORQAIN Chairman Marc Küffer says: “I am extremely pleased to welcome Jean-Claude as Advisor to the Board. His experience, vision and contacts in the industry will be a great asset for the future development of our company”.
Part of NORQAIN’s strategy has been to do things differently, as expressed by its slogan: “your life, your way”. Working with Jean-Claude Biver is a natural progression of this strategy and fans of the brand can expect to see the legendary disruptor’s spirit infuse the brand’s engagements and future product design.
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Founded in 2018, NORQAIN is a fully independent, family-owned Swiss watch company located in Nidau (Bienne) in the heart of the Swiss watch industry. Driven by the excitement that comes with exploring the road less travelled, NORQAIN has three collections – Adventure, Freedom and Independence – that are exclusively equipped with mechanical automatic movements. In 2020, it introduced two Manufacture Calibres produced in collaboration with movement manufacturer, Kenissi. NORQAIN is a proud partner of the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) and the Official Timekeeper of the Spengler Cup Davos. In July 2020, the brand organised its second NORQAINER Challenge together with On. Available throughout Europe, Japan and the US, NORQAIN has an expansive network of retail partners that includes Bucherer and Kirchhofer in Switzerland; Wempe in Germany; Watches of Switzerland in the UK; Tourneau, Westime and Govberg in the US; L’Oro in Canada; Seddiqi in Dubai; and over 30 points of sale in Japan.