Gucci Introducing Gucci High Watchmaking
The Italian house continues its venture into High Watchmaking
Sometimes, marrying into a family can bring nothing but joy. And sometimes the honeymoon is shortlived. The same holds true of the “marriages” between watchmaking and couture. While we still remember Burberry’s failed attempts or Ralph Lauren’s precipitous departure from (ex-) SIHH, no-one would seriously doubt the horological credentials of Chanel, Dior, Vuitton or Hermès. They have earned their place in Haute Horlogerie thanks to a strong identity that anchors them to their origins and through patience. Lots of patience.
Where, then, does Gucci stand with regard to these two variables? Patience is certainly a factor. The Italian house is only on its second High Watchmaking collection, after a debut that was largely overshadowed by a certain coronavirus.
G-Timeless Planetarium © Gucci
Italian through and through
As for identity, there can be no possible doubt. Much like its eyebrow-raising ad campaigns, Gucci watches are a riot of colours and forms that turn the traditions of Swiss watchmaking on their head. Bulgari, a fellow Italian, has done a similar job (sweeping the board with its Octo Finissimo), as have Grand Seiko (which continues to make inroads for Japan) and Chanel (bringing its vision of luxury à la française to the watch world). Through perseverance, they have succeeded in putting their country’s stamp on Swiss watches.
Will Gucci manage a similar feat? It’s certainly giving itself the means. Design-wise, the Haute Horlogerie 2022 collection is alive with colour and a certain brand of eccentricity. You don’t wear the G-Timeless Dancing Bees. It wears you. Cut from white or yellow gold, it sparkles (with diamonds), trembles (with bees), shimmers (with opal) and spins (with a flying tourbillon).
G-Timeless Dancing Bees © Gucci
Get a grip
This, then, is Gucci’s identity: colourful, exuberant, full of imagination. Not so fast. Joining the G-Timeless Dancing Bees is the Grip Sapphire. A jumping hours movement. With not a diamond in sight and not a hint of colour, given that the case is made entirely from translucent sapphire. Design cues are distinctly quartz retro: a Seventies TV set, maybe? It’s hard to say. The Grip comes with a cushion case surrounding a round dial sans hands, which are replaced by hour and minute discs. That the 12 has been swapped out for a G (for Gucci) might throw you off balance, but this is precisely the point: to invent a new horological lexicon.
Grip © Gucci
From a mechanical perspective, the brand – for the time being – is exploring the usual range of complications, particularly tourbillons. Already, though, it has given in to temptation with some dial animations of its own, such as the G-Timeless Planetarium. Twelve gemstones circling the dial are set in motion at the press of a pusher to shine a precious light on time’s ever-changing view.
Good luck trying to predict the direction Gucci High Watchmaking will take next. Knowing who its partners are would at least allow some educated guesses but the brand is keeping mum, revealing only that they are the same as for the first collection.
Gucci is laying the foundations for the future. That it will venture further than the tourbillon seems likely. Possibly we can look forward to an in-house complication. Collaborations. More input from creative director Alessandro Michele. Synergies with its parent company, which also owns Saint-Laurent, Boucheron and DoDo. The possibilities are endless.