It was FDR's Tiffany & Co. watch, given to him in 1945 and pictured on his wrist at the historic Yalta Conference, that inspired Tiffany & Co.'s new CT60 watch collection—CT for Charles Tiffany, the brand's legendary founder.
It's the first watch collection released by the jeweler in over 20 years, and while Tiffany & Co. has become synonymous with diamonds, silver charms and those distinctive, heart-stopping blue boxes, it's easy to forget that the brand has a storied history in watchmaking. Though founded in New York, Tiffany & Co. opened a major watchmaking factory in Switzerland in 1874, now owned by prestige watchmaker Patek Phillipe. (If you ever find one of the early timepieces that are co-branded with both the Tiffany & Co. and Patek Philippe insignia, buy it, as they are incredibly rare and, accordingly, valuable.)
But the store was associated with time even before the factory, since at least 1854, when Tiffany installed a clock held up by a statue of Atlas above the Manhattan storefront, a landmark in a city with few public clocks at the time. And while Tiffany & Co. can't claim to have invented the "New York minute," they certainly feel that it's associated with their brand.
The new watch collection harkens back to that history, while also introducing some modern ideas. The face on the CT60 is almost identical to FDR's, with stout Arabic numerals, updated for contemporary sensibilities with rose gold on the dial—there's not a drop of yellow gold in the collection, just rose gold and stainless steel—and alligator replacing Roosevelt's simple leather band. Upgraded versions add additional complications, like the chronograph and a date counter, as well as diamonds on the dial, bien sûr.
But the line also pushes the boundaries of the traditional watch sector by not branding any of the collection as men's or women's, as trends show that women are buying larger watches and men sometimes prefer something more streamlined. Versions that play up a monochromatic color scheme—blue dial on blue alligator, or brown on brown— also look surprisingly cutting-edge.
Swiss-made with self-winding movement, the CT60 line is positioned as a design-forward upgrade to battery-powered watches without the ultra-premium price tag of a Patek Philippe, which still maintains its association with the Tiffany & Co. brand. The premium, limited-edition version of the CT60 tops out at $19,000—and has already sold out. The rest of the line is already available in the Houston Galleria location—Houston is a "major" watch market, according to a Tiffany's rep—with prices ranging from $4,250 to $15,500.