For the last 17 years, George Kern has been one of the most successful CEO’s in the luxury watch idustry. He brought IWC to another stratosphere. It went from a brand that no one except watch enthusiasts, collectors and the press had heard of to a brand that celebrities like Kevin Spacey, Carmello Anthony and Quentin Tarantino proudly wear as their go to brand! It’s really amazing when you think about it. My first exposure to IWC was in the early ninties when I started my luxury watch career. I remember the IWC collection at that time was much smaller but the core collections were definitely taking shape. When I would call to inquire about ordering a watch there were only four or five people running the brand in the US. Now the brand has nealry 1,000 employees world wide, boutiques all over the world, has done some incredible collaborations with the likes of the Tribecca Film Festival, AMG, Top Gun, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry foundation and so much more! Most of this could have not been acieved without George Kern. A few months ago, he was named head of watch making for the Richemont Group which owns watch brands including; A Lange & Sohne, Baume & Mercier, Cartier, IWC, JLC, Montblanc, Panerai, Piaget, Roger Dubuis and Vacheron Constantin.
It came as a shock to the world when the Richemont Group recently announced the resignation of George Kern, effective immediately. So what now? Well, Mr Kern will be the NEW CEO of Breitling. Even though I am NOT a Breitling fan, but I am curious to see what he will do with it. Breitling already has more reach than IWC because it’s more recognizable and well known. So in that regard, Mr Kern’s may not have the same challenges as he had with building IWC from scratch. In my opinion Breitling needs an overhall and a direction ASA Yesterday! All their watches look more or less the same except for the classic Navitimer. Please stay tuned!