Watches

Steven Kaiser, Watch Industry Veteran and Beloved Mentor, Dies at 68

WatchesMay 23, 2022

Steven Kaiser, Watch Industry Veteran and Beloved Mentor, Dies at 68

Kaiser, whose illustrious career spanned decades, died suddenly on Friday.

20220523_Steven Kaiser NEW.jpg
Steven Kaiser, who spent decades working in the watch industry, most recently taking over U.S. operations for Australian company Kennedy Luxury Group, died unexpectedly on Friday, May 20.
New York—Steven Kaiser, a watch industry veteran who mentored countless individuals along the way, died suddenly on Friday.

He was 68.

Kaiser’s career spanned decades, and his commitment to the industry was seemingly inexhaustible.

He worked with Baume & Mercier for more than 16 years, serving as both president and CEO during the course of his tenure.

In 2000, he sold his interest in Benedom Inc., a subsidiary of LVMH, to the luxury conglomerate and launched his own company, Kaiser Time Inc.

Kaiser Time did consulting, business development, executive recruiting, and mergers and acquisitions, all drawing upon its namesake’s experience in the Swiss watch market.

Kaiser Time partnered with dozens of companies over the years, becoming the go-to organization for any business that wanted to ingratiate itself into the luxury watch market.

In 2005, with the aid of his longtime associate and “veritable right hand” Diane James, Kaiser launch a new trade show, Swiss Watch by JCK, creating a platform for Swiss timepiece brands to enter the U.S. market.

After a decade, the two joined the Couture show as consultants, helping it grow its luxury watch exhibitor list.

In 2020, Kaiser and James made another career move, joining Kennedy Luxury Group, an Australian jewelry and watch retailer with 14 stores. Kaiser became the company’s U.S. president and CEO.

He also gave his time to numerous organizations, serving on the boards of Jewelers for Children, Jewelry Information Center (now part of Jewelers of America), Jewelers Vigilance Committee, and Jewelers’ Security Alliance, where he had been serving as chair since 2019.

In 2007, he received the Women’s Jewelry Association’s Ben Kaiser Award—an accolade named after his father—and just this past March, the JVC awarded him its Stanley Schechter Lifetime Achievement Award.

In addition to being a knowledgeable professional as well as friend and mentor to many in the industry, Kaiser was a devoted husband and father.

He was married to his wife, Vivian, for 39 years, and together they had two children, Jeff and Emily. He was also the proud father of a pet tortoise, Mikey.

Kaiser was an avid New York Giants fan. When he couldn’t attend games in person, he watched them at Blondie’s on the Upper West Side. A regular at the popular sports bar, Kaiser had his own stool.

Services are scheduled to take place this Wednesday, May 25, at 11 a.m. at Riverside Memorial Chapel, 180 W. 76th St. in New York City. Burial will take place at Sharon Gardens in Valhalla, New York at 1:30 p.m.

Shiva will be held Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 3-7 p.m. at 545 West End Avenue, Apartment 12A, New York.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations be made in Kaiser’s name to an organization near and dear to his heart—Jewelers for Children.
Michelle Graffis the editor-in-chief at National Jeweler, directing the publication’s coverage both online and in print.

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