Tiffany Gets Back into the Luxury Watch Game

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Tiffany Gets Back into the Luxury Watch Game

Tiffany Gets Back into the Luxury Watch Game

A company that has been around for 178 years shouldn’t have to stage a comeback but that’s just what Tiffany & Co. is attempting with its new line of luxury watches. The high-end jeweler has been out of the game since a joint venture with Swatch ended in a bitter feud four years ago but now there’s a new collection that could make Tiffany a major player again.

The legendary name in fine jewelry is counting on the CT60 line to re-establish the Tiffany name among buyers of luxury watches. The watches in the CT60 collection, which take their name from the initials of Tiffany founder Charles Lewis Tiffany and the number of seconds in a “New York minute,” are priced from $4,250 to $19,000.

Tiffany learned a hard lesson from the disastrous partnership with Swatch when an attempt to take advantage of the latter’s distribution network and expertise in making parts resulted instead in a loss of control over the final product. This time around, Tiffany will be taking a hands-on approach to every step of creating that product even down to purchasing makers of small components and opening its own assembly plant in the near future. Two years ago, Tiffany hired third-generation Swiss watchmaker Nicola Andreatta to do a total makeover on the company’s watch business that included a new operation in Switzerland.

Andreatta has his work cut out for him since watches now account for only 1% of Tiffany’s sales after peaking at 9% in the late 1990s. His ambitious plans include getting watch sales up to 10% of the company’s total revenue and making Tiffany one of the top 15 watchmakers worldwide.

The clean, classic look of the CT60 collection is part of the new Tiffany style. As Tiffany senior VP Jon King told Fortune, “It has a strength and clarity to it that is very American.”

Andreatta stated what Tiffany must do to regain its place among makers of luxury timepieces. “The step we need to make at this very moment is to become a proper watchmaker and not a jeweler making watches.”

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