NEW YORK — Tiffany & Co. is getting serious about time.

This story first appeared in the June 24, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Last Tuesday, the firm launched Tiffany Mark, a new collection of 53 watches that company executives said signals a new plan to build Tiffany’s watch business to compete with other fine watchmakers.

“Watches are a relatively insignificant portion and account for approximately 3 to 4 percent of our worldwide sales,” said Michael J. Kowalski, president and chief executive officer at Tiffany, which had sales of $1.61 billion last year. “It’s been a missing link in our product assortment.”

Tiffany first introduced clocks and pocket watches in the 1870s, when founder Charles Lewis Tiffany placed the signature Atlas clock above the doorway. Based on that clock, the firm created the Atlas watch in 1983. In 1987, Tiffany celebrated its 150th anniversary with the Tesoro sports watch. Tiffany Mark is the first major collection for the New York jeweler.

“We have reached a point now where we have enough freestanding stores that we feel confident to succeed in the watch business,” said Kowalski.

The Swiss-made Tiffany Mark collection is inspired by 19th-century Tiffany pocket watches and features two shapes: round and coupe. Like a traditional pocket watch, each piece is hand-assembled with multiple layers, such as a bezel ring, case body, case back ring and case back.

Styles are available in platinum, 18-karat gold and stainless steel, with alligator and leather straps or link bracelets. The face features elongated Roman numerals and bombe-cut, diamond-polished hands. Priced from $1,150 for a stainless steel watch to $50,000 for a platinum tourbillon, the collection will be available at Tiffany stores worldwide this September.

“Over the next five years, we are planning to relaunch the Atlas and Tesoro and after that add new collections,” Kowalski added.”