When I heard that Gucci were ploughing forward with their fine watchmaking wing, I wasn’t all that excited, and I doubt I was the only one. Other than the likes of Louis Vuitton and Hermès, fashion labels aren’t known for the… classiest of designs, Gucci included. But, they insisted, this was their new entry into high-end watches, a shiny new chapter in the Italian brand’s horological story.
Fortunately, when I got the Gucci 25H in my hands I realised that I really shouldn’t have been worried. The watches are, perhaps unsurprisingly, very well done.
First off, the 25H wears its inspirations on its sleeve and while Gucci may be a little late to the Gerald Genta-hosted sports luxe party, it definitely belongs there. The label started making watches back in 1972 (bring that nugget out at your next watch trivia party), right at the time the Royal Oak was first born, and that legacy is readily apparent here.
Rather than the chunky, muscular look of that legendary AP however, the Gucci 25H follows more in the line of the rounder Nautilus and more modern Piaget Polo, albeit with a striking, monochromatic look, particularly on the full steel model. The bi-colour’s a bit cooler in a decidedly retro way, but I love the tone-on-tone of the steel; it has more of an industrial twang. It’s not particularly original and feels like playing it safe given the current zeitgeist, but that could be exactly what Gucci need.
Across the board the 25H is incredibly well finished and the integrated bracelet is up there with the Royal Oak. There’s also a lot less branding than you might expect. The quartz versions of these watches include Gucci logo hour markers but here there’s just the typical signature at 12 o’clock. It’s refreshing to see and the engraved red calibre number at 6 o’clock is a particularly cool touch.
The main dial includes yacht decking-adjacent bars, spaced slightly further apart than the Nautilus or Omega Aqua Terra for a more industrial feel. With the brickwork look of the bracelet it has the feel of an old factory building converted into a series of seriously high-end apartments.
On the wrist, the ultra-slim nature of the 25H’s 40mm case, combined with that bracelet makes for an incredibly comfortable piece. Beware though. As I’ve been told by a more hirsute member of the Oracle Team you do risk a few hairs between those links.
Inside is what will make or break this new direction for Gucci, a solid automatic movement. I say solid as it has some serious horological chops behind it. Kerring, owners of Gucci, also make Girard-Perregaux and Ulysse Nardin and the calibre GG727.25 is made in the same manufacture out of La Chaux-de-Fonds. The micro-rotor-equipped movement has a solid 60-hour power reserve and is a lovely sight besides, with bars matching those on the dial, albeit slightly finer.
Now, there are tourbillons in the new 25H collection and are pretty much the same design just with said complication open at 6 o’clock. Personally, I’m not interested in those nearly as much as the pair of automatics. Just throwing a tourbillon into the mix does not a great watch make. The overall sports luxe design exemplified in the automatics is what really matters.
Gucci still have plenty of work to do to hit the watchmaking heights that LV, Bulgari and Hermes have achieved over the years, but not only do they have the heritage to back it up, they have some serious expertise on their side. If the 25H is their first foray, then I’m far more excited than I ever thought I would be to see what comes next.
Price & Specs:
Model: Gucci 25H
Case/Dial: 40mm diameter, stainless steel case, dark silver dial
Water resistance: 30m (3 bar)
Movement: Gucci Swiss Made GG727.25.A, automatic
Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 60h
Functions: Hours, minutes
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet
Price/availability: €8,200 (approx. £6,986)
More details at Gucci.