Urquhart, Stephen

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Stephen "Steve" Urquhart was co-manager of Audemars Piguet before moving to Swatch Group to head Blancpain and Omega, which he leads as of 2021.

Biography

Stephen Urquhart began his career in watches in 1968 working in the marketing and product development areas of Omega.

In 1974, Urquhart moved to Audemars Piguet. In 1987, Urquhart was named Commercial Manager of Audemars Piguet, serving alongside Georges-Henri Meylan who focused on production. Urquhart and Meylan were successful in their co-leadership of the brand, but an audit late in the 1990s revealed a disagreement over the direction of the brand. Urquhart left, and Meylan quickly implemented drastic changes to move up-market and solidify the financial position of the company.

Urquhart was brought in to Swatch Group by Nicolas G. Hayek to succeed Jean-Claude Biver as Managing Director of Blancpain. This fit his talents well after Audemars Piguet, and he was soon moved to be President of Omega, replacing Michele Sofisti. This was the same career path followed by Biver a decade earlier. Urquhart worked under Biver for the next few years, his old mentor at Omega.

Urquhart's leadership saw Omega continue the growth initiated by Biver in the 1990s. The brand focused on heritage and innovation, focusing on the unique Co-Axial movement unveiled in 1999 and solidifying branding with the Olympic Games, James Bond films, and product ambassadors. Omega also followed Audemars Piguet in the creation of special branded sales outlets and deftly moved the brand to compete with Rolex in the minds of consumers.