As mid-range luxury fashion watches go, Gucci produces some rather cool stuff. For 2017, the Gucci Dive collection has a few interesting models that seek to combine the appeal of a sport watch with the look of embroidered fabric or printed rubber. This isn’t just uncommon in general, but very uncommon for men’s watches. In fact, outside of some Hublot watches for ladies, these are among the only watches I’ve seen that demonstrate this decorative embroidery technique on the dial. Clearly not for all tastes, I found these new Gucci watches to be an interesting artistic expression and an overall good look for those seeking something a bit different.
This year, Gucci will release a few watches that have embroidered nylon dials as well as the two rubber ones. Consider these the ideal timepieces for those who have a serious nylon NATO-style strap fetish (actually, if you want to be hyper-technical the straps on these Gucci Dive watches are Zulu-style, and not NATO-style). Most of these products will be in the Gucci Marché des Merveilles collection, which are 38mm-wide “unisex” watches in polished or PVD-coated yellow gold-colored steel cases. The embroidered nylon dials come in green or blue with the animal motifs of a bee, tiger, or snake. There is also one model with a leather dial and a snake image that continues on the leather strap.
Most of these watches adopt the theme of continuing the motif of the strap onto the dial for a neat-looking, cohesive design that certainly has potential. I’ve seen this in other watches where a stripe on the dial is mirrored on the strap (or vice-versa, however you want to look at it), and in many instances it looks quite handsome. In addition to the Gucci Marché des Merveilles collection, the brand is also releasing at least four new versions of the Gucci Dive, with these animal-decorated dials.
When the Gucci Dive was first released back in 2013 (hands-on here), it was a rather high-end, serious dive watch. That was around the time when Girard-Perregaux was purchased by the Kering Group (as it was later named) that also owns Gucci. With some sharing of parts, the Gucci Dive XL watch from 2013 contains the same movement produced by Girard-Perregaux for their Sea Hawk diver collection. That means the original Gucci Dive XL had a caliber GP3300 automatic movement with power reserve indicator and a price of $8,600 – $12,600 depending on the version. The days of watches like that being easy sales are a bit behind us.
These 2017 Gucci Diving Watches have lower prices but still cost as “Gucci”. But I think a lot of people will find a good house. There are two versions of the Gucci 2017 Diving, a 40mm wide rubber material as an accent material, and a 45mm wide model feature embroidered nylon as the accent material.
40mm wide the smaller the model is waterproof 200 meters, there is a color of steel and rubber sides with black or yellow band and the color of the main dial. In the face of the surrounding dial is a sapphire crystal, is a rotating diver-style border – in addition to movement, in fact makes the dial clear, because it lacks the hour markers.
The dials of these 40mm-wide Gucci Dive watches are textured rubber (which is uncommon, to say the least) and printed with a detailed (and slightly oddly colored – why is there so much blue?) tiger’s face. Gucci says the printing technique is done in a sort of relief, which gives the dial a three-dimensional effect. I have always liked the style of the hands on the Gucci Dive watches…. Attached to these models are matching yellow or black rubber straps. Inside the watch is a Swiss ETA quartz movement. The yellow Gucci Dive is the reference YA136317 while the black version is the reference YA136318.
The 45mm-wide Gucci Dive watches with the nylon embroidered faces come with all-black PVD-coated steel cases that are also water-resistant to 200 meters with a sapphire crystal. These are a bit more maturely masculine-looking with the larger size and dark colors. One version has a blue woven nylon dial with red strip through the center that has an embroidered tiger (reference YA136215) or a snake (reference YA136214), and the other model has a green woven nylon dial with a red stripe that has a Gucci-style bee (reference YA136216) embroidered on it. Both come with matching blue-and-red or green-and-red woven nylon straps. These are NATO/Zulu-style straps in the traditional sense, and it is interesting to see how watch companies both of the fashion or classic variety continue to treat this trend. Gucci prints “L’aveugle Par Amour” on the NATO/Zulu-style straps.
While the 45mm-wide Gucci Dive watches also have Swiss quartz movements (Ronda versus ETA in these), Gucci decided to remove the seconds hand, which likely makes the dials feel a bit more elegant – especially as focus should be on the dial design. Note that there is a piece of “black glass” as the rotating bezel insert. These really aren’t the types of watches I would normally be drawn to, but I think they are pretty cool-looking and original. Certainly, they are a hip statement that combines the look of a traditional sports watch with something more trendy and fashionable.
Prices for the 38mm-wide, more traditional-looking Gucci Marché des Merveilles watches for 2017 are $790, $850, $870, or $1,100 depending on the version. Prices for the Gucci Dive watches are $1,120 for the 40mm-wide model and $1,350 for the 45mm-wide model. Most of them are currently available for purchase online.