High fashion’s foray into watchmaking is not new. Chanel has been at it since 1987 with its Première collection. And, through the acquisition in 1993 of manufacture G&F Châtelain in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, the maison also produced the first watch for its now-iconic J12 ceramic collection and later its first in-house movement, the Calibre 1.
The fashion industry in general knows how to leverage social media and e-commerce to maximise exposure and returns. Yet, in the realm of high fashion, gravitas trumps hype — especially if heritage brands such as Chanel, Dior, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton expect to be taken seriously as they engage with a new generation of well-informed consumers. This is particularly true in the case of those who have joined the ranks of haute horlogerie and, in so doing, compete with respected luxury-watch manufactures.
Christian Dior, through its Les Ateliers Horlogers Dior SA, first entered the watch market in the mid-1970s. The company originally partnered with Swiss manufactures such as Movado, Ebel, and Zenith, but today its highly regarded collections are developed by an in-house team in Paris and produced in La Chaux-de-Fonds, where the brand established its own watchmaking facilities in 2008.
Designed by Gucci’s creative director, Alessandro Michele, the ultra-thin (7.2mm) 25H sports watch was launched in 2021 to celebrate the Florentine-based powerhouse’s 50-year venture into Swiss watchmaking that began in 1972. The impressive Gucci 25H Skeleton Tourbillon novelties certainly marked this occasion rather meaningfully last year. The Gucci 25H joins the growing luxury sports-watch segment with plenty of covetable novelties that allude to the iconic, rule-breaking watch designs of the 1970s, in particular those of designer Gérald Genta with their sleek integrated bracelets. Appealing to younger consumer lifestyles both then and now, this category of sporty-yet-elegant timepieces is the ultimate expression of independence, style, and success.
The elegant silhouette of the 25H with its concealed crown is said to be inspired by the streamlined shapes of contemporary architecture. Its multi-layer, cushion-shaped case design is complemented by an integrated five-link bracelet and occupies the liminal space between past and present, making the 25H a possible contender for Gucci’s first truly emblematic timepiece. The 25H joins the G-Timeless, Grip, and Haute Joaillerie watches as the initial models featuring Gucci’s first proprietary calibres, thus elevating these collections to luxury watchmaking.
First presented in stainless-steel, 18kt yellow-gold and two-tone novelties, the 40mm 25H features either the ultra-thin automatic GG727.25.A or the GG727.25.T tourbillon made in parent-company Kering’s movement works. Smaller, more accessibly priced models are equipped with quartz movements. Recent novelties are updated with iridescent pink and blue dials and there are also spectacular all-pink and all-blue editions in aluminium with matching striated dials. The 25H has a 60-hour power reserve and is water resistant to 30m.
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• From the April edition of Wanted, 2023.