The return of Tiffany & Co. to the world of mechanical men’s watches after decades of being known primarily for jewelry happened in 2015 with the debut of the Tiffany CT60 collection. Now, a short couple of years later, Tiffany releases a totally new watch with, we are told, an “in-house” movement for 2017. Based on a 1920s model from the brand’s archives and descriptively called the Tiffany & Co. Square watch, this is a very formal way to celebrate the company’s 180 years since Charles Lewis Tiffany opened his store on Lower Broadway in New York in 1837.
The Tiffany & Co. Square watch is 27mm wide in 18k yellow gold with short lugs that will help give it a barely rectangular profile on the wrist. Remember that square and rectangular watches wear a bit larger than round watches with the same width measurements. Such case shapes are notoriously hard to get right, but in my opinion, keeping it thin is key, and the 6.9mm case width will likely help its wearability a lot. The case’s sloping sides are polished in contrast to the brushed case sides, similar to the treatment of the brand’s other current quadrangular men’s watch, Tiffany & Co. East West Automatic (reviewed here). The Tiffany & Co. Square watch’s 50m of water resistance is also welcome when so many “formal watches” only manage the bare minimum of 30m.
Cathedral hands, classic-looking Arabic numeral hour markers, the choice of a yellow “aged” color for the Super-LumiNova, small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock, and the outer railroad-style minute track all serve to make the Tiffany & Co. Square watch a pretty retro tribute to many early wristwatches – such as the Cartier Tank, another square watch celebrating big birthdays this year (Tank is 100 years old and Cartier is 170). Tiffany has plenty of men’s watches in its history to draw upon for either more vintage rereleases, as are always so popular, or modern reinterpretations. The Streamerica or even the Atlas watch seem like good candidates.
Tiffany calls the hand-wound movement inside “in-house,” though it appears very similarly laid out to the ETA 7001. One major difference, of course, is that it is square, and a view of it fills out the entire sapphire crystal display caseback (sapphire up front too, naturally) of the Tiffany & Co. Square watch. It’s an attractive view, for sure, with a traditional finishing style appropriate for the watch’s overall buttoned-up personality. No word yet on its frequency, but the simple time-only movement has 17 jewels and a 42-hour power reserve.
Recent Tiffany & Co. watches have used sourced movements, but the proudly New York-based company also has a long history of producing watches in Switzerland – they first opened a large watchmaking facility in Geneva in 1874 – and they recently again invested in watchmaking with Swiss manufacturing facilities. Tiffany & Co. watches are not cheap to begin with but, based on the 7001 or not, a push for “more in-house” means they are aiming more upmarket and for more enthusiast recognition. Other well-known jewelry makers have very successfully moved into men’s mechanical watches and even haute horology, so there are strong precedents for Tiffany to learn from.
But one step at a time. For now, their new Square watch is only available in 18k gold and as a limited run. The reference 61522514 Tiffany & Co. Square watch is limited to 180 pieces for the brand’s 180th birthday, and will have a price of $17,000 USD. It will be available at Tiffany & Co. stores from November 2017. tiffany.com