A lot of fashion brand watches are simply brand extension operations, in which as many as possible of the brand’s characteristic features are compressed into the relatively small space of the watch dial and face as possible, behind which a quartz movement provides the easiest possible solution. I recently wrote about the new Versace watches that are a perfect illustration of maximum decoration, minimum horological content. But there are a lot of brands that are doing something more interesting, with dedicated watch divisions, such as Ralph Lauren who exhibits regularly at the Richemont Group watch fair SIHH, and others such as Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Dior and Ermenegildo Zegna.
Baldinini are an Italian fashion brand whose principal product is shoes, mainly those remarkable feats of engineering that keep beautiful girls miraculously balanced on tall slender stilettoes. But they also make cool shoes for men, bags and backpacks and leather jackets, and they have 105 years of history behind them.
This year, Baldinini have presented the “Gimmi Automatic,” a limited edition of 100 pieces on sale exclusively in monobrand Baldinini stores, celebrating the 105th anniversary of the brand’s foundation. The watch case is unusual, and it houses an automatic movement made by Catena S.a., a Swiss company based at La Chaux de Fonds. The movement provides 36 hours power reserve. The price is €770. More information from en.baldinini.it
Like Ralph Lauren, Gucci has its own Timepieces & Jewelry division, and they have recently presented four new watches in their G-Timeless collection. The two day-date chronograph watches have large 44 mm stainiless steel cases, with a Sellita SW500 movement. The dial has a subtle “diamante” finish, part of the brand’s heritage, while the design of the various subdials and date windows is well-balanced. The two chronograph pushers are neatly integrated with the crown protector.
Also new are two three-hand models. The G-Timeless Slim Automatic, 40 mm in diameter, grey and black, has a Swiss ETA 2895 automatic movement, visible through the transparent caseback. The diamante-pattern dial has a small second subdial at 6 o’clock, and there is a small date window at 3 o’clock.
The G-Timeless Medium Automatic (38 mm) has a dark blue sunbrushed dial, with a curved date window at 6 o’clock. It is powered by a Sellita SW200 automatic movement, with transparent caseback revealing an oscillating weight finished in the same diamante pattern.
Gucci have also presented a series of quartz Gucci Dive watches, frankly less interesting, rather poppy, and not worthy of the existing Gucci Dive watch with a mechanical GP3300 movement made by the Sowind Manufacture (part of the Kering Group, which also owns Gucci). The only interesting feature of the quartz Dive watches is the caseback with the Gucci emblem, which tells part of the Gucci story in an ironic way, with a coat of arms with a knight carrying a suitcase and handbag instead of shield and sword. This recalls the early years of founder Guccio Gucci’s career when he worked as a bellboy in a hotel. More information from www.gucciwatches.com. Below, the new trio of Gucci Dive watches with quartz movement:
Below, the far more interesting Gucci Diver with a Girard-Perregaux GP3300 automatic movement from the Sowind manufacture with power reserve of 46 hours:
Lastly, there is a debut watch collection by Tory Burch, with timepieces made by Fossil. The collection comprises seven models, each named after a member of Tory’s family. The Izzie has a striking square transparent case, probably in some sort of resin, with inlaid metal fretwork and circular dial. The Tory is a more classic women’s watch with 37 mm case and a dial with an interesting graphic design. Both have the golder-than-gold metal finish that seems to be a feature of many fashion brand watches (such as Versace mentioned above). The square Izzie (left in the photo below) costs €475, while the Tory (right) costs €695. See toryburch.co.uk for boutique information.
In the photo below, Tory Burch takes her bow at the end of the spring/summer 2015 runway show. Photo by Noa Griffel, courtesy of Tory Burch: