Gucci Takes the Plunge Into High Horology with New Gucci Dive Watch

Gucci Dive watch - soldier(As seen in the October issue of WatchTime.)

At Baselworld, Gucci announced it will launch a new men’s watch that stands apart from the brand’s other watches. Due out next year, the Gucci Dive is an official divers’ watch, certified to adhere to ISO standard 6425. But what is most significant about it is its movement.

The movement in the Gucci Dive is not a standard ETA movement, like those used in Gucci’s other mechanical watches, but a GP3300, a high-end automatic made by the Sowind Group. Two years ago, Sowind, parent of Girard-Perregaux, became Gucci’s sister company when it was acquired by the luxury-goods conglomerate PPR (which in June was renamed “Kering”). Michele Sofisti is the CEO of both Sowind and of Gucci’s watch division.

The 3300 movement is Girard-Perregaux’s workhorse, used in such G-P watches as the Sea Hawk 1000M and Chrono Hawk 1000M (in which it is paired with a Dubois Dépraz chronograph module). The Gucci Dive will be much more expensive than other Gucci watches: the steel version is $8,600 and the rose-gold one $12,600. Most other Gucci watches retail for less than $2,000. The rose-gold Dive is a limited edition of 93 pieces; Gucci will be 93 years old when the watch comes out.

Gucci Dive watch - soldier

In a press release, Gucci said the move into upper-tier watchmaking shows the brand is “improving its expertise; creating a niche segment of premium watches within its offering.” How big that segment will be and how fast it will grow is still up in the air. At Baselworld, Sofisti told WatchTime no other such introductions are imminent. He chose to launch a high-end sports watch, rather than a high-end dress watch, because the market for expensive dress watches is already very crowded, he said. He expects the Dive to appeal particularly to people who already own Gucci watches and want a Gucci to wear in active settings.

The Dive is water-resistant to 300 meters. It is 45 mm in diameter and has a screwed caseback, stamped with a Gucci crest, and a unidirectional rotating bezel. The indicator for the 46-hour power reserve is at 5 o’clock. The small seconds are at 9 and the date window is between 1 and 2 o’clock. The skeletonized hour and minutes hands, as well as the hour markers, have luminous coating. The Dive comes with two straps, in black rubber and black leather, and they are interchangeable. The watch has a three-blade deployant buckle.

The company no longer refers to the GP3300 as a Girard-Perregaux movement; instead, it’s been rebadged as a caliber by “Sowind Manufacture.” The Sowind Group consists of the Girard-Perregaux and JeanRichard brands, plus the company’s movement-making operations and a private-label division that makes watches for other, non-watch brands. These include Bottega Veneta and Ermenegildo Zegna.

Michele Sofisti, Sowind CEO
Michele Sofisti, CEO of the Sowind Group and Gucci’s watch division

For more news and new watches from Baselworld, check out the September-October issue of WatchTime, on sale now!

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