PARIS — The Newest Member of Luxury’s First Family. Frédéric Arnault, the 26-year-old CEO of TAG Heuer, may be the world’s youngest C.E.O. of a premium watch brand. He might be the fourth child of Bernard Arnault, the world’s third richest man and chairman of LVMH Mot Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s largest luxury corporation (owner of TAG Heuer as well as Dior, Givenchy, Bulgari and more than 70 other brands).
He might possibly be the fourth child in the family to enter the family company. He may have grandiose expectations about how large his watch brand may become. And his father, 72, is known for his aggressive acquisition techniques and may have dynastic aspirations for the business he has formed.
But don’t say the term “Succession” in front of anyone. As Frédéric Arnault becomes the latest Arnault to enter the spotlight, thanks to a highly public partnership with actor Ryan Gosling announced earlier this month at a celebrity-packed party in Beverly Hills — Mr. Arnault’s first major in-person event since taking command of TAG Heuer last year — the family wants to be clear that this is not a storey about Kendall Roy, Roman Roy, or anyone remotely Roy-like.
No way, no how. Uh-uh. Regardless of how much the rest of the world wants it to be otherwise. As a result, the newest member of luxury’s first family is now ready to speak up.
LVMH’s art-filled headquarters Mr. Arnault is dressed in a blue suit with an undone white shirt collar and a revised TAG Heuer Aquaracer Night Diver, his thick brown hair standing on end. He is excited while describing how he came to work for TAG Heuer and how he is modernising the brand.
He can recite statistics and models as fluently as he speaks English, Italian, and German; wax lyrical about the watch factory in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, and the 150 steps it takes to build one dial; debate the merits of mechanical versus connected watches; and enthuse about the 500,000 members of the TAG Heuer golf app linked to the company’s golf smartwatch.
In fact, he enjoys talking about his business more than he enjoys talking about himself or his family. Despite the fact that the two are inextricably linked.