Last month, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art held their 12th annual gala in support of film and the arts. As an event presented in partnership with Gucci you can well imagine that the A-Listers in attendance (Leonardo DiCaprio, Pedro Pascal, A$AP Rocky, et al) brought their best double G outfits. However, while Gucci’s watchmaking division can do the glitz and glamour of the red carpet, they also want to show a more serious side to their haute couture horology. That’s where models like the 25H come in and the Gucci Dive. That’s right, Gucci make a tool watch.
At first you may scoff at the idea, but let’s not be blinded by the name on the dial. In fact, let’s do an experiment, wipe the name from your mind and let’s look at these watches as if they’re the latest diver from a hot new independent. Ok, well, like any tool watch let’s start with the case. The collection sports a 40mm diameter design made from stainless steel and equipped with a large crown protected by pronounced shoulders.
One of the most interesting aspects of the design are the lugs which have a two-part construction. There’s a polished section arcing down in the curve of the case that then meets a second part in the shape of what I can only describe as a funky designer boot finished with vertical brushing. The contrasting finishes and chunky, robust shapes give it an industrial vibe that suits the tool watch aesthetic.
Of course, a dive watch case is nothing if it isn’t actually capable of surviving a dip and the Gucci Dive has 300m water resistance. It’s also useful underwater because it has a unidirectional rotating dive timer bezel. The three newest additions to the collection have bezels in plain steel or black ceramic, although other models can include a more luxurious gold version as well. So far this isn’t just a solid haute couture dive watch, it’s a solid dive watch full stop.
What about the dial? This is Gucci so it must be over the top, extravagant and oh so very Italian, right? Wrong. The entire collection features monocolour dials with circular brushed finishing that provide a strong backdrop for the hour markers and hands. They’ve understood the requirements and needs of a dive watch: legibility is king. In the dark depth of the water, being able to read your watch quickly and accurately is of the utmost importance.
The large lumed hands and kite shaped hour markers allow you to do just that. Those kite hour markers are one of the most striking elements on the entire piece, eschewing the traditional circle and rectangle styles of historic dive watches. The sharp angles are really eye catching and give the piece a somewhat retro, 1970s look that’s appealing for a lot more than legibility.
The movement inside is described only as an automatic piece with a 38-hour power reserve. From those specs alone, it would be a safe bet to suggest that it’s an ETA or Sellita clone and you already know what we’re going to say about that. The power reserve is a little lacking but that’s somewhat offset by the ease of maintenance and comparative accessibility – £1,560 to £1,940 is actually pretty reasonable for a rugged dive watch.
The Gucci Dive really is a straight and narrow tool watch and that’s impressive. Although, part of me questions if they went too far down the serious route. Gucci are known for being fun and bombastic. Well, the Gucci Dive can do that too thanks to the new set of straps that were made for the newest models. They’re a new bio-based material originating from GMO-free feedstock and feature the Gucci Web motif in green and blue versions. So, there is at least a small flash of that big personality.
Generally, when I hear that a fashion house is doing a tool watch, I dread what the result will be. But by focusing on the essence of a diver and pairing it with a few restrained Gucci touches, the result is a serious instrument with its own, playful personality. It’s a hard balance, and one Gucci has managed with confidence.
Price and Specs:
More details at Gucci.