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Watch chief Biver honored at Harvard Business School

It was an exclusive group that gathered Sunday to honor Jean-Claude Biver, the man many regard as the savior of the modern-day luxury timepiece. All were on time for the dinner, hosted by luxury-goods company LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, for Biver, who was invited to speak at Harvard Business School Monday. HBS professor Ryan Raffaelli , who did a case study on Biver’s impact on the Swiss watch world, introduced the 65-year-old Biver as the “rare” leader who has an impact not only on brands (Omega, Hublot), but on a whole industry. Biver regaled the crowd, which included Lux Bond & Green’s John and Marc Green, Shreve Crump & Low’s David Walker and Adam Bossi, and Royal Jewelers’ Steven Leed, with stories of his youth. He was a hippie working the overnight shift at the post office in the late 1970s and early 1980s when he saved enough money (about $21,000) to purchase and resuscitate then-bankrupt watch company Blancpain. A turnaround of Omega was next, followed by Tag Heuer and Zenith. Biver said he plans to retire in 2020 to devote more time to his other passion, cheesemaking. The gruyere aficionado produces about five metric tons annually, giving it to friends and charity.