Georges Kern is CEO of internationally renowned watch brand IWC Schaffhausen
. The role, which he took back in 2002, made him the youngest CEO within the Richemont Group of exclusive luxury brands. During the past decade, he has also held CEO positions at IWC sister brands Baume & Mercier and Roger Dubuis.
At Watches & Wonders, an annual event for watch buffs in Hong Kong, we sat down with Kern to get to know the personality that drives IWC Schaffhausen.
The one accessory (aside from your watch) that you could not live without
A nice pair of shoes.
What about ties? You seem to have a pretty interesting collection?
I have a Hermes tie which is printed with monkeys. It's an eye-catching piece, and I wear it because I feel like, sometimes, we are in a world of monkeys. Aside from that one, I also have one which is for looking at the stock market. It's also by Hermes, and is printed with brown bears and bulls in a pattern that are "going up" or imitate the stock market. I look at the stock market and share prices, and that shows which tie I will wear.
What's the next holiday you have planned (or would like to take)?
I'm going to go diving in the Red Sea in two weeks.
What are you wearing on your wrist right now?
I'm wearing the Portguese Annual Calendar Dark Blue Dial. I love dark blue, that's why I'm wearing a dark blue suit right now as well, it's a great color.
The Portguese Annual Calendar Dark Blue Dial, worn by Georges Kern during this year's Watches & Wonders fair. Credit: courtesy iwc
Aside from premium watches, what other collector's items interest you?
Many things! There are a couple of vintage cars that I would like to buy, such as a Dino Ferrari, for example. There are, of course, some art pieces I would like to buy, some houses, a plane. But, you know, I'd never buy a boat. That is definitely off my list.
When and why did you first fall in love with watches?
My father was a jeweler, so I was born into a love of it. I've been facing jewelry, watches and arts since I was a baby.
Cate Blanchett attends Watches & Wonders in 2014 wearing IWC.
Credit: courtesy iwc
If a man or woman could invest in just one watch in their lifetime, which one would it be and why?
It would have to be one of the classics in the watch industry, which is of course the Portuguese.
Which celebrities wear an IWC watch? Any particularly interesting stories to tell?
There are actually quite few of celebrities that wear IWC -- Bradley Cooper, Kevin Spacey, Cate Blanchett, many people that I've known for many years and are very good people. Cate, she wears the Portofino, and she's the one that was always asking for developments for the Portofino with a female line. She's been pushing me and teasing me for several years, and is one of the main influencers in that line. And then, once the brand was mature enough, we went for it.
Where are you most likely to be found on weekends?
In the winter, you'll find me skiing in St. Moritz. In the summer, you'd find me in the mountains on my bike, my Colnago. Colnago is an Italian bike that is basically the Rolls Royce of bicycles.
What flavor is your birthday cake?
Chocolate, and only chocolate.
Describe IWC in five words
Tasteful, technical, strong DNA, modern, Swiss-German.