Stéphane Linder

Stéphane Linder

Today, we learned about the decision of Stéphane Linder, CEO of TAG Heuer to leave the company in the hands of his boss, Jean-Claude Biver. In March 2014, Jean-Claude Biver stepped up from being CEO of Hublot to become the head of the watch division at LVMH, overseeing the activity of TAG Heuer, Zenith and Hublot.

Linder’s departure is probably the result of the differences in opinion between the two about the future of TAG Heuer. Linder was behind the development of the in-house Calibre 1969, that was planned to power the Carrera collection, priced at CHF 6,000 to 8,000. Or the Monaco V4 (90,000CHF) that we saw entering this year’s GPHG, competing in the tourbillon category, another example of TAG Heuer aiming for higher status.

These ambitions were quickly watered down with the arrival of Jean-Claude Biver, who would like to define TAG Heuer as brand with watches in the CHF1,500-3,000 range, while keeping the higher prices for Zenith and the top prices for Hublot.

In a recent interview with TheWatches.TV, Biver declared that he would like TAG Heuer to be the brand that looks to the future. It is rumored that as soon as January, TAG will unveil at CES his Intel powered smartwatch.

If we add to this cocktail the global economic slowdown, the restructuring of TAG Heuer that resulted in the 46 people being laid off in October and another 49 being placed on temporary unemployment, the decision of Stéphane Linder is not surprising.