In the voice that immortalised American rock band The Eagles, Don Henley sang: “Everything can change in a New York minute.” And while that stands true in the transient Big Apple, the saying’s origin lies in Tiffany & Co.’s Atlas Clock, a monument that has quite literally stood the test of time. First envisioned by jeweller and watch merchant Charles Lewis Tiffany, the clock came to life at the hands of ship builder Henry Frederick Metzler in 1853. A wood-carved Atlas – the Greek Titan god – was installed at the entrance of Tiffany & Co.’s 550 Broadway building. In his hands, a four-foot clock that would go on to become the timekeeper of the city – eventually finding its forever-home atop the Maison’s Fifth Avenue flagship store.
Today, the Atlas clock continues to serve as Tiffany & Co.’s inanimate muse of sorts. Its Roman numeral markers initiated the John Loring- designed Atlas Watch of 1983, a U.S-patented timepiece that is said to have artfully straddled the house’s horological and jewellery savoir-faire. The watch’s popularity was followed by a full range of Atlas jewellery and accessories in 1995 – instantly recognisable by distinct Roman numeral grooves and cutouts on thick panels of sterling silver and gold. Staying true to Greek mythology’s depiction of Atlas’ endurance, the collection remained a relatively untouched house icon for 26 years – with the exception of a few additions – up until now.
Dubbed ‘Atlas X’, Tiffany & Co. launched the collection’s very first update under the direction of Chief Artistic Officer Reed Krakoff in January of this year. Paying homage to its predecessor, the Atlas X line retains its propensity for bold, clean finishes and statement silhouettes. Akin to the Maison’s reinvigoration of the Tiffany T line, Atlas X proves to be yet another product of Krakoff’s magic touch.
Atlas X features three different motifs – Open, Closed and X – and an assortment of pendants, rings, hooped earrings and bracelets. What ultimately transitions the collection from well-known classic to contemporary contender, however, is its clever manipulation of the knife edge profile as seen on both the Closed and Open designs. Initially introduced as a key element of Tiffany & Co.’s iconic Tiffany Setting engagement ring in 1886, the knife edge profile is exactly what its name suggests: a bevelled edge that meets at a raised point. In the case of Atlas X’s offerings, the knife edge profile is exaggerated and sharp, giving each piece a bold and new-age finish.
Crafted from sterling silver and 18-karat gold, this feature is seen on the line’s rings, bracelets and on pendants. Markedly different to the Open and Closed designs, the X style focuses solely on the ‘X motif’ and features an architectural crisscross element that can be seen on its pendants and rings.
These contemporary components do not strip the collection of its glamour-factor. Atlas X comes in a progression of diamond accents too. One can opt for the pieces at their simplest, such as a gold, white or rose gold base with sharp, open, incisions. Slightly more decorated pieces feature incisions that are lined with delicate pavé diamonds. And for ultimate opulence? The honeycomb pattern which ranges from a 230 hand-set pavé diamond ring to a 725 pavé diamond bracelet.
Perhaps the biggest indicator of the Atlas X’s edge however, is its versatility when it comes to styling. The collection provides plenty of room for play, thanks to its myriad of textures and points. What it also offers is a varied selection of proportions, with the necklaces and rings coming in both wide and narrow options. Its earrings also come in small and large sizes. The result? A vibrant, fashion-forward high-jewellery assortment that is as much a collector’s dream as it is for everyday.
Below, a closer look at the collection.
First seen in the March 2021 issue of L'Officiel Singapore.