In 1971 Bernard Arnault took control of his father’s construction firm Ferret-Savinel. Eight years down the line, he changed the company’s name to Férinel Inc. and shifted its focus to real estate.
With $15 million of his own money, Arnault, together with Antoine Bernheim, a managing partner of the French bank Lazard Frères and Co., raised the $80 million required to purchase Boussac Saint-Frères, a bankrupt textile company that owned the fashion house of Christian Dior. Under his direction, Dior has risen into one of fashion’s greatest symbolic and monetary powerhouses.
After buying his stake in Dior, Arnault was then invited to invest in LVMH. LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, commonly known as LVMH, is a French holding multinational corporation and conglomerate specializing in luxury goods headquartered in Paris. The company was formed in 1987 through the merger of fashion house Louis Vuitton with Moët Hennessy, which was established after the 1971 merger between the champagne producer Moët & Chandon and the cognac producer Hennessy.
Today, Bernard Arnault is the majority shareholder in LVMH and has the title CEO and chairman. LVMH is a dominant force in the fashion industry, owning brands like Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Céline, Christian Dior, Givenchy, TAG Heuer, Dom Perignon, Hennessy, Sephora, and more.
LVMH is the only group present in all five major sectors of the luxury market: Wines & Spirits, Fashion & Leather Goods, Perfumes & Cosmetics, Watches & Jewelry and Selective Retailing. LVMH currently employs over 150,000 people worldwide and reported sales of 44.7 billion euros in 2020.
Discussing his attitudes about happiness and business, Arnault said, “Happiness for me is really leading the team and, if possible, to leading them to the top – whether in business or in sports or when I play music. Money is just a consequence. I always say to my team, don’t worry too much about profitability. If you do your job well, the profitability will come.
When we discuss a brand, I always tell them my real concern is what the brand will be in five or ten years, not the profitability in the next six months. If you take a brand like Louis Vuitton, which is the number one luxury brand in the world, what I am interested in is how we can make it as admired and successful in ten years as it is today. It’s not how much we’re going to make next year.”
That long term business strategy has worked well for him. Bernard Arnault’s net worth has nearly doubled in less than a year. As of July 2021, it reached $195.9 billion. He has become history’s third centibillionaire and is the richest person in the fashion industry.
With so many well-known brands, LVMH is consistently in the news. Most recently for holding their third edition of LVMH Watch Week from January 24th to the 28th.
Continuing to build on the success and appeal generated by previous editions, LVMH Watch Week has become a must rendezvous for watchmaking professionals around the world, establishing a position as a key complementary event alongside traditional watch trade shows. The week featured a compelling lineup of presentations and product reveals by each of the brands, targeting both journalists and retailers worldwide.
“For this third edition of LVMH Watch Week, we’re once again proud to shine a light on the collective momentum of our four Maisons – Bulgari, Hublot, TAG Heuer and Zenith – and kick-off 2022 with a presentation of their latest creations. Our clients and partners will be able to discover innovative updates of iconic models, along with limited editions and exceptional timepieces, all reflecting exceptional craftsmanship and a unique vision of watchmaking. Underpinned by the LVMH Group’s core values of creativity and innovation, this event is the first on the calendar of watch industry showcases, coming ahead of Watches and Wonders Geneva, which takes place in spring 2022,” comments Stéphane Bianchi, Chief Executive Officer of the LVMH Watches & Jewelry Division.
The exceptional timepieces from each watchmaking Maison reflect their distinctive identity and unique savoir-faire.
The latest creations from Bulgari embody the Maison’s singularly stylish aesthetic. More than simply marking time, the Jeweler of Time exquisitely expresses its passage with superb craftsmanship and precious gemstones. With the Serpenti Misteriosi, the Roman jeweller revisits the multiple facets of its iconic design, equipped with the new Piccolissimo mechanical movement, a technological feat of miniaturization. The Lvcea Intarsio translates the distinctive blue and pink of the sky over the Eternal City, while the new Octo Roma Emerald Grande Sonnerie is a sparkling reminder that “Time is a Jewel”, a masterful fusion of sound and precious gemstones.
With the three pieces in the Big Bang Integral Time Only collection, Hublot has unveiled the first-ever 40mm dial, while the six models in the Yellow Gold Collection capture the founding essence of the manufacture, a chic and sporty aesthetic elevated by the fusion of gold and rubber. The latest feat from the Swiss watchmaker is the Big Bang One Click 33mm range, proposing 12 different interchangeable calfskin straps in hues ranging from sober to intense to match changing moments with timeless style.
TAG Heuer is spotlighting three new models in its legendary Autavia collection, created in 1962 for free-spirited adventurers. The brand’s Aquaracer collection, which combines precision and reliability even in the most extreme conditions, welcomes new models, including a limited edition featuring a color scheme by international tennis star and TAG Heuer ambassador Naomi Osaka.
New timepieces from Zenith include the Defy Extreme Carbon with three interchangeable straps, the first-ever full carbon fibre watch, ready for the future of auto sports thanks to its exceptional durability and performance. The Swiss Maison also pays tribute to its heritage with two new models. The Defy Revival A3642 is an update of the very first Defy model, created in 1969, the year the iconic El Primero movement was introduced. The Defy Skyline evokes the night sky, a major source of inspiration for the visionary founder of the manufacture, Georges-Favre Jacot. The unique alchemy created by coloured metallic dials and the shimmering spectacle of light from the engraved motif – a modern take on the “double Z” logo from the 1960s – adds a subtly stunning effect that transports the wearer to experience a different notion of time.
For more information on the third edition of LVMH Watch Week, visit the websites and social media pages for Bulgari, Hublot, TAG Heuer and Zenith.