Nicola Andreatta on Tiffany & Co watches: There’s a place for Swiss watchmaking with an American soul

All-American Approach

For a company that sells predominantly women’s jewellery, Tiffany & Co’s men’s watch lines are surprisingly dashing. The CT60 and EastWest collections, in particular, stand out with their impeccably refined aesthetics and in the case of the CT60, thoughtful functionality.

Nicola Andreatta, vice-president and general manager of Swiss watches for Tiffany & Co
Nicola Andreatta

Kudos to Nicola Andreatta, the vice- president and general manager of Swiss watches for Tiffany & Co. The 44-year-old Swiss-Italian joined Tiffany just four years ago and established everything from scratch: a full luxury timepiece division; an assembly line in Ticino, Switzerland; three stellar collections and a watch culture within the company. Hailing from a family of watchmaking professionals, Andreatta spent his entire career around watches and has outlined an ambitious 10-year-plan for the American jeweller- watchmaker that’s already well underway.

How do you intend to develop the company’s haute horlogerie profile?
We are going to work more on the pure horological world, so to speak, in enhancing our industrial capabilities and our capabilities in terms of manufacturing watches. This clearly goes in the direction of men’s watches, maybe do a little more complications, and at the same time, we will be talking more to women, who are our key customers. Thus, we’ll be joining the two different worlds of Tiffany, jewellery and watches.

Has it been difficult reaching out to the far-right watch market?
If by that you’re referring to those who look for special crazy complications, then that’s not our market. One of our main points of differentiation is that we have an American soul. For that reason, we want to make sure our watches are easy to use and intuitive in the way they operate. This does not mean we won’t do complications. Rather, the way we design complications will be different from other brands.

Can you please elaborate?
A tourbillon, for instance, is a beautiful mechanism but it’s not really relevant. That’s the main point with Tiffany’s watches for men. As a jeweller, we want to make sure that our watches are always beautiful on the outside. I think the Tiffany man is a bit more classy and elegant. There are not so many brands only catering to elegant men, men who like refined things.

So what’s your approach with complications?
It’s definitely a functional approach because that’s very American. Our TCO.5959 movement is an automatic dual time that looks like a chronograph. Why? Because the idea of opening the crown, taking it out, maybe engaging it at the wrong notch so it doesn’t turn, setting the hands … that’s not going to cut it. We want a movement that’s very intuitive, very easy to use. This is how I see complications for Tiffany. The designs are also very clean, not fussy. American design is not decorative. It’s very clean and we’re going to keep that.

What are you working on now?
The next step is our new in-house manufacture movement. It’s going to debut in October. It’s a simple movement, manual-winding and very thin, elegant, classic. It’s going to be launched in a limited edition of 180 pieces, celebrating 180 years of Tiffany as a brand.

What sort of watch will it be?
It’s a watch you can wear every day but that can also be a special piece to go with a tux. It’s a reinterpretation of a heritage piece from 1945. It’s a small 37mm by 37mm square case. The movement, too, is square. Tell us about movement finishing at Tiffany. We’ve been decorating the bridges in a certain way, the platine in a certain way. We’re experimenting with different colours for the screws, we’re thinking of doing something that’s not the normal blue. Still working on it, I can’t tell you in advance, but yes it would be so awesome to have Tiffany blued screws. At the end, it will definitely be recognisable as a Tiffany product.

Will you consider incorporating elements of metiers d’arts in your watches?
Metiers d’arts moves in a different world and that speaks exactly about Tiffany. That should be one of the ways to immediately identify a Tiffany watch.