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Gucci 25H Minute Repeater Steps Into the World of Sonorous Horology 

GUCCI 25H Minute Repeater

Many are the fashion houses that have shifted into watchmaking to some degree, but you can count on one hand those that have actually made an impact. A branded quartz piece with a hugely inflated price tag does not a watch house make. Gucci on the other hand have been hitting the watch world hard in the last few years with the fantastic 25H, a piece that balances the Italian label’s innate flair with some serious watchmaking chops.

It’s proven to be a surprisingly versatile platform for a number of variations, ranging from handsome automatics to complications as rarefied as the not-so-humble tourbillon. But who doesn’t have a tourbillon these days? The gravity-defying caged complication is ubiquitous among high-end creations, so much so that if you really want to flex some horological muscle, you look somewhere else.

So, what did Gucci opt for to cement their nascent watchmaking reputation? Some kind of calendar maybe? A rattrapante, split-seconds chronograph? Oh, not much, just one of the highest of all high complications: a minute repeater. Minute repeaters for those not in the know, are watches that when activated, will sound out the time using tiny hammers tapping tiny gongs. It’s one of the oldest conceptual complications ever created.

GUCCI 25H Minute Repeater

Gucci’s however isn’t ‘just’ a minute repeater; there’s a lot more going on here. First is the size. Outside of perhaps Bulgari’s record-holding Finissimo, this is one of the thinnest minute repeaters out there at just 9.8mm including the case. Somehow within that, Gucci have managed to fit a full carillon, a set of three gongs that can more easily differentiate between hours, quarter hours, and minutes.

More impressive however is how you actually activate it. Normally there will be some kind of lever or button, which winds and activates the minute repeater mechanism. I say wind as you really don’t want something that draws this much power taking it from the mainspring or you risk having chronometric issues as your watch winds down to empty.

To maintain the clean lines of the 25H case, Gucci’s novel method involves rotating the bezel instead, leveraging its flat planes for ease of use and one of the most playful approaches to winding a minute repeater we’ve ever come across. The fact that the activation mechanism is completely invisible is downright incredible.

GUCCI 25H Minute Repeater

As you’d expect from something like this, the dial’s mostly open to show off the mechanics inside. Except, that is, for the flying tourbillon at 12 o’clock, which has a Gucci motif instead. Of course, they were going to include some kind of tourbillon in a watch like this; partly hiding it though is an unusual but utterly great move and gives a bit more structure to the architectural dial.

Said architecture is pretty abstract, with an outer ring consisting of 12, three and nine in Roman numerals, linked together by seemingly random shapes. These shapes are ostensibly inspired by the cymatics representation of the hammers hitting the gongs. Basically, it’s supposed to look like the minute repeater sounds. I’m not an expert on modal vibrations, but either way it’s an intriguing look that differentiates the 25H minute repeater. Not that it needs much more to stand out.

To amp up the sporty style, the Gucci 25H Minute Repeater is finished on a rubber strap, though let’s be honest, that’s more aesthetic than anything else. No matter how well protected, a minute repeater isn’t the kind of watch you’d want to wear all day, every day. But it is a superlative twist on the 25H formula.

GUCCI 25H Minute Repeater

So, what does this all mean for Gucci’s high-end watchmaking? Quite a lot, in all honesty. The fact that the house hasn’t just released a minute repeater – already impressive – but has made it their own visually and mechanically speaks to their commitment to the field. Like I said, tourbillons are everywhere but minute repeaters? That’s another realm of complication entirely and one that Gucci have hit hard and with confidence.

Time will tell whether this means more of this type of thing from Gucci (it would be great to see what fun they have with a 25H perpetual calendar for example) but for now we can all just appreciate just how far they’ve come in a few short years of watchmaking. Sure, they have archives filled with funky watch designs from the past, but the 25H minute repeater is where they are now – and it’s one hell of a statement of intent.

More details at Gucci.

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About the author

Michael Sonsino

As Digital Editor for Oracle Time, Michael needs an eye for detail, which makes it a good thing that his twin joys in life are miniatures and watches. He's a lifelong fan of fine timepieces, especially those of a more historic nature - if it has a twist of Art Deco, all the better. Recent purchase: Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-Interpretation. Grail watch: Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921.