Established in 1926 with stores in Florence, Prato, Lucca and Forte dei Marmi, historic jeweller Cassetti has decided to go one step further by opening a top watch service centre by the Ponte Vecchio.
Situated on the first floor of a blocky building in piazza del Pesce, the hub staffed by experts will assist customers in the maintenance and upkeep of their timepieces. Beside floor-to-ceiling windows that look out at the same height of the Vasari Corridor, highly trained technicians painstakingly take apart, clean and reassemble priceless watches, one eye glued to the microscope as they guide tweezers and other tiny tools to release the mechanism and eventually the concealed spring that powers the caliber. It’s an education to behold the degree of intricacy (up to 180 parts!) contained within a timepiece. The laboratory stands out due to the technical training, up-to-the-minute equipment and skill of its personnel, which ensures the quality standards set by the top brand watches (Rolex, Tudor, Cartier, Chopard, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre and TAG Heuer) available for sale at Cassetti’s boutiques on the adjacent Ponte Vecchio. In addition to regular maintenance and supplementary repairs, the centre can also verify the year of manufacture and establish the originality of watches.
Customers are ushered into the bright and spotless laboratory, whose air is cleaned by an on-site greenhouse designed by renowned Florentine botanist, Stefano Mancuso. In the sitting area, three attractive panels explain the history of the Vasari Corridor as a video shows some of the processes that go into the laboratory’s watch repairs.
“We pledge to assist our clients by informing them about the singularities of their watches in order to guarantee their perfect working order,” Andrea Cassetti explained. “Regular maintenance at our laboratory means that clients can increase the initial investment of purchasing a watch, which can be three times as much, and we are learning from the contact that we are having with our clientele. Only official retailers have original official parts at their disposal.”
Renzo Cassetti founded the company in 1926 with a small-scale silverware chiselling operation in costa dei Magnoli, the steep street leading up to Villa Bardini and Forte di Belvedere. His success led to the opening of a boutique on the Ponte Vecchio in 1976 and the selling of exclusive Swiss watches such as Rolex and Tudor in 2008. The company is now managed by the second and third generation of the family: Andrea and Maria Grazia Cassetti as well as their children, Filippo and Lorenzo.