by Dana Li
The Women in Watches series aims to share the stories of female watch enthusiasts, artisans, and industry professionals that are making great contributions to watchmaking, the watch industry, and collector communities.
If you’ve come across a Hodinkee article, chances are you’ve seen the beautiful work of Tiffany Wade. An amazingly talented photographer, Tiffany Wade has been behind some of the most vibrant shots in the watch world, bringing each watch she captures to life. In this next phase of her career, she shares her experiences as one of the watch industry’s most well-known photographers in this edition of Women in Watches.
Some responses have been edited and condensed.
How did you get into the watch industry?
I started my photography career at TheRealReal with product photography where I was shooting clothes, bags, shoes, and watches. Photographing watches at TheRealReal was how I got my basic understanding of industry standards and best practices like setting the hands to 10:10.
I later worked with a company called Worthy, which was focused on consignment for diamonds, but they had watches as well. I had a coworker who was super interested in watches so he gave me a lot of guidance on how to shoot them. After some time, I got an email from Will Holloway at Hodinkee one day and went in to meet with him. I ended up working at Hodinkee that next Monday and the rest is history.
How has your relationship with watches evolved?
Watches were always around in my family even though I didn’t have a direct interest in it to start. My grandma gifted me a Mickey Mouse watch and my dad collected Citizen watches. I never really paid attention to it as a kid so it didn’t strike as a personal interest initially. When I started at Hodinkee, I don’t even think I fully understood and appreciated the extensive collecting community and the intensity of the collecting culture.
During my time working with Hodinkee, I got to be in rooms with some serious players in the industry like Cole Pennington, Cara Barrett, and Jack Forester. I learned so much from all these industry figures since I was able to work with them closely. It grew my relationship with watches and the watch industry and so I’ve had a big appreciation for watches since.
Favorite watch or watch campaign you’ve shot?
One of my favorite watch campaigns I shot was for Hodinkee’s Volume 6 magazine. I got a chance to work with an art director named Dorentina and was shooting a ton of watches that were coming out that year that were an homage to vintage pieces. Since this was during COVID, it was just a small group of us in the Hodinkee offices shooting and creating magic. Being able to shoot that campaign and see how the photos turned out in print was amazing, especially since they were full page photos. My favorite photo from the shoot was the one featuring the Cartier Pasha, which is still my favorite watch to this day.
What are you typically looking to capture when you shoot a watch?
No watch is the same for me so I first look at each one individually. I take a look at the dial and the bracelet and I think about how I’m going to capture this and make it come to life. Overall, I typically try to think about how I can capture the watch so that it’s both easy on the eyes and nice to look at. From there, I play with light and reflections and experiment with the angles until I feel like I get the shot I’m looking for. A lot of times I learn from my happy accidents when playing around with shots and I take those learnings to the next shoot so I can recreate something similar.
In one of my recent shoots with Analog Shift, I was photographing this mystique of a Tiffany-signed Patek Phillippe watch. All I could think about was “how do I do this watch justice”? It may look plain to some but it’s an incredibly special watch and it’s more special to me because my name is Tiffany! When shooting this watch, I was thinking of how I could make a watch in a single gold color look cool and come to life for the wearer. I decided to create a nice angle with cool lightning and was playing around with the reflections on the crystal as well.
Is there anything you’re itching to shoot?
In terms of watches, I read Malaika’s recent article on Hodinkee about the new AP Royal Oak collaboration with Travis Scott and would love to see it in person and capture it (shout out to Malaika for writing a great article!)
Outside of watches, I want to expand my horizons a little bit and photograph skincare and beauty products. I’m ready to shoot makeup!
I also have some fun stuff in the works! It’s a project I’ve been working on for a while and will let people see who I am and what I can do. It’s also time related!
What would you personally like to see more of from the watch industry in the next few years?
There have been a lot of strides made in the watch world since I started. I would like to see watches less dressed up all time and portrayed in a more casual and urban way. Celebrities have been rocking watches (like Rihanna and the Jacob & Co on her ankle) and we have representation out there but more representation from watch brands themselves would be great. AP (Audemars Piguet) does a great job with ambassadors like Travis Scott and Serena Williams and same with Omega and Zoe Kravitz and Willow Smith for the Cartier Pasha campaign.
I’d also like to see more brands come with more attainable products for people. The Omega and Swatch collab had attainable prices and introduced more people into the watch world. I don’t think it diluted their brand at all and if anything it brought more light to both brands. I’ve had neighbors who don’t even know that I’m a watch photographer who wear a Moonswatch and they love it.
How can brands and the watch community better include women?
There has been a lot more women at the forefront of the industry but there is room for more. Women bring versatility that men wouldn’t necessarily bring so it would be great to see more women running the show. There’s women like Danièla Dufour and Cara Barrett, but there’s also a lot more women watchmakers and great women in the industry that should be more known. Hodinkee has really helped over the years with including women in the watch world by profiling great women who have been in the industry for a long time.
It would also be great to have more women photographers, especially Black women photographers, in the watch world. There’s Kat Shoulders and Lydia Winters who are established photographers and Pulse on the Wrist highlighting watches worn by the Black community, and I want to continue seeing diverse women leading the industry.