Haute Living sits down with Lance Burstyn and discovers what it is that makes him tick
By Ronald Harsch
Lance Burstyn is one of those gentlemen who is not above some hard work, despite hailing from a family with deep roots and deeper pockets. Grandfathers on both sides owned such famous Miami landmarks as the Haddon Hall Hotel, and the Ritz Plaza Hotel, and Lance grew up learning the ins and outs of Miami’s burgeoning real estate scene, bearing witness to some of the very deals that helped put Miami on the map. Lance’s father, Sam Burstyn, first came to Miami Beach in 1972 and purchased the Ocean Terrace Hotel. He continued buying properties that were in neglect, renovating and developing some of Miami’s top properties in the 1970’s and 80’s. It seems like an inevitable step that Lance would some day continue this real estate legacy.
But then one night his step-father, Ira Kreiger, found himself stranded while returning home on his boat because of the rising tides. After searching unsuccessfully for a watch that told tides as well as time, Krieger invented the first Tidal Chronometer, and was bombarded with requests for this innovative watch. Thus the Kriëger Watch Corporation was born. What is a boy to do? Join his father in real estate ventures, or go off with his step-father and work with the successful watch-making venture?
My main passion is real estate, it’s in my blood, but the watch industry is exciting for me-it challenges me to repurpose my business savvy in every aspect.
The hard-working Lance chose to do both, and now he splits his time between a new project with his father, and as the new President of the Kriëger Watch Corporation.
The same passion and undeterred drive that helped put Sam Burstyn on Miami’s real estate map was passed along to Lance. Working closely together over the years, Lance and his father have become a successful father and son team, keeping alive the same great enthusiasm and momentum that is inherent in his family. With new ideas always on the horizon, Lance and his father are currently working on their newest and largest real estate development project, which is brimming with innovation and originality.
The project, Civica Towers, will be the first ever all-inclusive, self-contained medical community to serve the South Florida region. A proven recession-proof site with approximately one million-square feet of space, the property will feature a hotel, restaurants, retail shops, and medical offices. This unique, mixed-use development project, adjacent to the newly finished University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, is destined to play a vital role in an untapped market. Centrally located, the site will be situated directly across the street from the renowned Jackson Memorial Hospital and all of its seven major hospital-related institutions, easily accessible from all major highways. The major institutions have future plans to invest $1 billion in various surrounding projects, which will undoubtedly enhance the area and stimulate growth. Lance says, “We are transforming the Miami Civic Center area into a world-class medical community, and something the whole city can be proud of.”
As if this wasn’t enough to keep him busy, Lance recently stepped up to President of Kriëger Watch Corporation. Applying the same marketing tactics and business savvy used in his real estate dealings, Lance managed to market himself and the Kriëger name in such a way that allowed him to gain exposure and build awareness very quickly in the early years of the company. This marketing style, coupled with Lance’s ability to maneuver into the right social circles, has been a huge asset for Kriëger.
Lance gained recognition for the watch brand among some of the most recognizable celebrities in sports, entertainment, and music, as well as seasoned watch aficionados. Kriëger watch has participated in many local and high profile national events, such as the Super Bowl, the Grammy’s, and the Kentucky Derby. But even with all the successes and demands of becoming a popular luxury brand, Lance has made it a main priority to remain focused and grounded. Although such milestones as accessorizing Alicia Keys with a Kriëger for the Super Bowl’s national anthem is gratifying, Lance gains a much greater satisfaction by showing support for more worthy causes. He welcomes nearly every opportunity for Kriëger to participate in charitable and fundraising events. One of the most recent was sponsoring a poker event for IDF that raised over $250,000 for the Israeli Defense Forces, an organization in which Lance’s family has been heavily involved. “There is nothing more satisfying to me than having the power to do something great for an organization that represents something I believe in,” Lance says.
Even with the demands of juggling between building a watch brand and a real estate empire simultaneously, Lance welcomes new challenges each and everyday. As he says, “My main passion is real estate, it’s in my blood, but the watch industry is exciting for me-it challenges me to repurpose my business savvy in every aspect. I strive to stay ahead of the curve, create consumer demand with innovative marketing strategies, and always push the limits by doing what has not been done before. I have never been one to be satisfied by meeting expectations; it’s exceeding them that invigorates me. I will continue to set myself apart from the rest, keep people guessing and making time for everything, literally.”
And this mentality seems to be working. As Kriëger rings in their 20th anniversary year, their most successful to date, Lance has introduced some of Krieger’s most exquisite timepieces in the company’s history. From the popular Kriëger Gigantium, the vintage pocket watch for the wrist, to the newly designed Kriëger Tidal Wave, the collections boasts innovative design, style, and exquisite beauty. Producing watches that value from $2,000 to over $100,000 has brought a whole new level of cache to Burstyn’s life, and lifestyle. A lifestyle where timing is everything—and let’s not forget about location, location, location.