It’s a big year for Gucci and the Italian house is aiming to make a splash. In celebration of its 100th anniversary, the brand is stepping up its game by entering the world of haute-horology. Back in 1972, Gucci was one of the first major fashion brands to embrace timekeepers as a style statement. To date, they are the largest producer of fashion watches in the world. Almost 50 years later, the company takes its watch offering up a notch. In a total of four high-end collections, 33 new models have been unveiled (four of which can be transformed multiple ways). And, unlike other fashion houses that delve into this category but don’t necessarily get too involved, Gucci’s creative director, Alessandro Michele, is said to have had his hands on the design process.
The collections, which include everything from tourbillons and jumping-hour movements to fully gem-set pieces and sapphire-crystal constructions, are assembled in Switzerland’s watchmaking mecca in La Chaux-de-Fonds at the Kering watch manufacture. Dials are crafted in the Gucci-owned Fabbrica Quadranti facility in the Canton of Ticino in Besazio, Switzerland. The design is conceived in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, where Gucci houses its watch headquarters. The company’s first “in-house” movements are featured in the 25H (in all models) and G-Timeless Dancing Bees (in the tourbillons) collections.
The design is everything you would expect from Michele’s eclectic style. Several of the pieces incorporate his love affair with witchy iconography including stars, lions or tigers, snakes and bees. The latter three make up what the designer refers to as the Gucci Garden: Bees representing love (in reference to their honey-producing nectar), snakes symbolize rebirth (represented by its skin-shedding) and lions, of course, owning the idea of power and ferocity. Bees take flight in the G-Timeless collection, which includes tourbillon versions with or without diamonds, including two fully diamond-set bracelet offerings (115,000-195,000 euros or approximately $136,730-$231,850), while the Lions Head range (55,000-59,000 euros or approximately $65,400-$70,150) is a take on a secret-watch concept with the roaring head, set with diamonds in the mouth and eyes, swiveling to reveal time underneath on turquoise, malachite or tiger’s eye stone dials. The snake slithers onto the bezel of daintier pieces like the Dionysus and Play pieces. Appropriately, the latter can shed its bezel around either a mother-of-pearl or pavé diamond dial (8,500-18,500 euros or approximately $10,100-$22,000) to take on new forms in 13 variations ranging from a yellow-gold snake with a single precious stone for the eye to white-gold snakes encrusted with diamonds and precious stones.