Jewelery giant Tiffany & Co. has been fairly quiet in the men’s watch arena in recent years but returned in a big way last week, announcing the launch of a brand-new watch collection called Tiffany CT60, with designs inspired by a particularly notable historical timepiece, namely the gold Tiffany watch given to President Franklin D. Roosevelt by company founder Charles Lewis Tiffany.
As many who know the brand more as a purveyor of ladies’ jewelry might be unaware, Tiffany & Co. has actually been a player in the timekeeping game for a long time. Charles Tiffany unveiled the iconic nine-foot Atlas clock, which today stands above the entrance of the flagship Tiffany store on New York’s Fifth Avenue, in 1853. The city’s residents used the huge public clock to keep their busy lives on time, including using it as a reference timekeeper with which to set their watches, and the Tiffany clock became a concrete reminder of the concept of the “New York Minute,” a phrase evocative of the city’s fast-paced energy that is still used today. In 1883, with the adoption of standard time, Tiffany customers were treated to weekly regulation of their Tiffany clocks.
The company first began selling watches in 1847, and opened one of the largest and most sophisticated watch manufacturing facilities in Geneva as early as 1874. The first stopwatch used in the United States for scientific and engineering functions, introduced in 1868, was a Tiffany product, and the company received patents for several horological advances, including certain movement and hand-setting technologies in 1875 and an early type of luminescent paint used for watch numerals and hands in 1903. Of course, as avid students of watch history know, the Tiffany brand also has a longstanding relationship with Patek Philippe, dating to 1854; Tiffany is the only retailer authorized to co-brand watches with Patek, and many of the timepieces that have emerged from this collaboration are highly sought after by collectors and fetch huge prices at auction. Since the 1940s, Tiffany watches have found their way to the wrists of seven U.S. Presidents; the historical gold wristwatch given to FDR in 1945 provides the inspiration for the new Tiffany CT60 collection (The “CT” is for Charles Tiffany’s initials; the “60” is a reference to the “60 seconds of pure possibility” philosophy embodied by the famous phrase “New York Minute.”)
The Tiffany CT60 watches are made in Switzerland, with components “sourced from the highest caliber Swiss partners,” according to the company. (Tiffany & Co. does not own the manufacturer, but does maintain a dedicated watch business unit in the country, Tiffany & Co. Swiss Watch Sagl. Tiffany & Co. also no longer has ties to the Swatch Group.) Movements come from several well-known suppliers, including Dubois Dépraz, La Joux-Perret, and Sellita, and feature haute horlogerie decorative finishing, including côtes de Genève, colimaçon, and perlage motifs. Three models are available: a simple three-hand with date, a chronograph, and a limited-edition calendar watch. The watches (23 new references in all) are available stainless steel and some gold cases (34-, 40-, and 42-mm sizes), and there are a few options with diamonds.
The three-hand version of the Tiffany CT60 collection uses a Sellita movement and displays hour and minute, central seconds, and the date in a window at 6 o’clock (several of the dial color and strap/bracelet options are pictured below, and on the following page.) Like all CT60 watches, the dials have Arabic numerals in gold or silver poudré, evoking the look of the vintage FDR presidential watch.