Italian fashion designer and entrepreneur Guccio Gucci founded his eponymous fashion house in 1921, and the first Gucci timepiece was released in 1972. Since then, Gucci has continued to produce watches alongside its array of other popular accessories, most of them notable more for their fashion-forward designs than for their level of horological ambitiousness. On the occasion of Gucci’s 100th anniversary in 2021, however, its timepiece division is targeting connoisseurs with the release of the High Watchmaking collection, featuring models spread across four distinct families, the existing Grip, G-Timeless, and High Jewelry lines, and the newly introduced, ultra-sleek Gucci 25H.
Each of the new pieces, like all Gucci watches since 2017, springs from the designs of Gucci Creative Director Alessandro Michele and incorporates familiar Gucci-brand aesthetic hallmarks, among them flora and fauna, talismans, and (of course), the recognizable-at-a-glance interlocking “G” logo. All are Swiss-made, with elements crafted in Gucci-owned production facilities throughout the watchmaking regions of Switzerland. Dials are made at Gucci’s Fabbrica Quadranti in the Canton of Ticina, an atelier that combines high-tech methods with skilled handwork. Quality control, assembly and diamond-setting takes place in another facility in La Chaux-de-Fonds. Fabbrica Quadranti also provides the expertise for special decorative techniques, while the design know-how is housed at Gucci’s watchmaking headquarters in the town of Neuchâtel.
Positioned as “a dazzling fusion of Gucci’s innate Italian style and peerless Swiss expertise,” the Gucci 25H models contain the new self-winding, ultra-slim GG727.25 caliber, the first movement developed and produced specially for a Gucci watch at the Kering movement manufacture in La Chaux-de-Fonds. (The Kering Group, formerly known as the Gucci Group, also owns haute horlogerie watchmakers Girard-Perregaux and Ulysse Nardin.) Measuring just 3.7 mm in thickness, the caliber also serves as the base for the first tourbillon (really!) in a Gucci watch. Its alphanumerical name derives from the “talismanic” 25 that Michele often uses in his Gucci collections along with other numerical symbols: “7” for a sense of completeness, “2” for balance and cooperation, and “5” for curiosity and freedom. The Gucci 25H, with its sleek, integrated-bracelet case design and textured dial, is offered in steel and pavé-set versions as well as the two tourbillon models, which are in either yellow gold or platinum.
The five new High Watchmaking pieces in Gucci’s G-Timeless collection includes a tourbillon watch with Gucci’s familiar “Dancing Bees” motif on its shimmering dial and a high-jewelry diamond-set case and bracelet. Other new G-Timeless timepieces feature jeweled hardstone dials, precious-skin straps, a white diamond-encrusted automatic, and a version with a moon-phase. Gucci is also offering a quintet of new models in its unconventional jumping-hour-equipped Gucci Grip series. The mechanically powered Grip watches are characterized by two curved apertures on the mostly opaque dials, one each to showcase the numerical disks that display the hour and minute. Three new 18k gold Grip models (two in yellow gold, one in white) feature hardstone dials precision-cut by a gemstone cutter and are mounted on dial-matching alligator straps. A fourth new Grip watch (pictured below) has a dial in brushed 18k yellow gold with an engraved Gucci logo, a brushed gold monolink bracelet, and a bezel set with 44 baguette-cut diamonds. The fifth high-horology addition to the Grip family will feature a case made entirely from sapphire, in four color variations, paired with a tone-on-tone rubber strap.
Also to be unveiled in 2020 are an array of High Jewelry watches, with Swiss quartz calibers, which will be designed around recognizable Gucci motifs including Dionysus, Lion’s Head, and Gucci Play. According to Gucci, these models promise “goldwork and precious stones” as well as “an artistic coming together of art, craft, precision and style.”