The news that industry legend Jean-Claude Biver and his son would be launching their own brand took the world of watchmaking by storm last year. When the brand was finally launched earlier this year, big things were, of course, expected to follow.
It is no surprise then that the first ever JC BIVER 00/00 prototype has just been sold for CHF 1 million (total paid by the buyer: CHF 1.27 million/1.3 million euro/US$ 1.3 million) in Geneva by Phillips. It’s a record amount for the first watch of a new brand that has not yet started production. The prototype is for Tourbillon Minute Repeater Carillon in titanium. It’s a unique piece with a silvered obsidian stone dial, marking the start of the production of the brand’s watches.
The sale was won by an American collector, who opted for online bidding. Along with the watch, as congratulatory gifts from Jean-Claude Biver and his son, Pierre Biver, the collector received a bottle of 1949 Château d'Yquem from JC Biver's private collection and two kilos of his mountain cheese.
Interestingly, when he met team GMT India at Watches and Wonders earlier this year, Jean-Claude Biver said, “In America or Italy — typical countries where watches are very popular — when the name of the watch that comes up is Biver, it will have results.” Needless to say, the prototype being won by a collector based in America, the brand’s target market, marks a promising start to the brand’s journey.
Led by Aurel Bacs, the Phillips auction was held at the lakeside at Geneva’s Hotel La Réserve. When the prototype of the Tourbillon Minute Repeater Carillon went under the hammer, bids poured in from across the world: while there were several in-room bidders, many put in their bids online and over the telephone.
The watch will be presented in a 42 mm round case with a concave bezel, the case bands and the caseback. The bold aesthetics of the timepiece will be highlighted by a large crown while the angular soldered lugs will add to the bold character of the watch.
When announcing the launch of the brand earlier this year, Pierre Biver said, “The minute repeater doubles up as a collector’s item and an object of curiosity. It carries a soul within it and this soul is transmitted to the object by the artists and craftsmen. We wanted the minute repeater to be the foundation stone of the brand.” The contemporary watch, with a striking neo-classical design, is inspired by tradition, but it also represents the identities of the father-and-son duo. Production of the first three Tourbillon Minute Repeater Carillon models (in pink gold, titanium and two-tone skeleton) has just begun; deliveries are scheduled for September 2023.