Girard-Perregaux For Gucci: Dive XL Watch Hands-On
Gucci and the Sowind Group (that produce Girard-Perregaux watches) are both part of the larger PPR luxury group. These familial ties allows for unique creations such as this Gucci version of the well-known high-end Sea Hawk diver from Girard-Perregaux. With the Gucci name on it and a redesigned case, the timepiece is simply called the XL Dive, or sometimes just “Dive.” Interestingly, from a price perspective, it opens up a bit below the Girard-Perregaux model, so let’s see how it pans out.
At Baselworld 2013 James Stacey and I spent time with Gucci to check out their new wares. He was actually the one to photograph these pieces – so you get my words with his wrist modeling the two Dive models. Just mentioning that in case the arm hair didn’t match the voice: we don’t like to confuse our fine readers. James actually didn’t have much to say about Gucci’s high-end diver with its solidly high-end Girard-Perregaux-produced movement. He is that much of a tool watch guy. Myself, perhaps more intrigued by what the fashion houses are doing, regarded it as a legitimate alternative to the GP but not without its quirks.
First, let’s discuss what is the same about the Gucci and Girard-Perregaux watches. Honestly, it isn’t all that much. While the “Dive Extra Large Automatic” and the Sea Hawk models are thematically the same, they don’t really share anything but the movement. That movement is the Girard-Perregaux in-house made caliber GP3300 automatic movement. With a power reserve of 46 hours, the movement has a power reserve indicator, small seconds dial, and date… along with the time. Gucci lays out the information on the dial in a similar, but not the same way as Girard-Perregaux.
One major difference between the two watches (that won’t really realistically matter to anyone) is the difference in water resistance. The Gucci Dive is rated at 300 meters while the Sea Hawk is rated at 1000 meters. Having said that, both are still qualified as professional use divers under the ISO 6425 standard guidelines. So if you must go diving Gucci style, this is pretty much your best bet.
Gucci’s Dive is 45mm wide while the Girard-Perregaux Sea-Hawk is 44mm wide. Nevertheless, the GP might feel larger given the chunky design of its lugs. Gucci will offer two versions of the Dive, matching black PVD coated steel to either polished steel or 18k pink gold. The case of course has a rotating diver’s bezel with a lume pip at the top. For a fashion watch, the Dive is oddly functional looking. The dial is very monochromatic feeling, and in a way doesn’t seem very Gucci aside from the name on the dial. “Gucci Automatic” seems to down-play the movement inside, and unless you know about the GP3300, just seeing the watch tells you nothing about the fact that inside isn’t just another base ETA.
I find the dial to be decently designed, but I am not in love with the hands. Actually I like the idea of the hands, but felt that the skeletonization was totally unnecessary and hampered legibility – something that is very important in a professional dive watch. I also felt as though the hands could have been a touch longer. Gucci might fix that before production as these are pre-production prototypes, but that remains to be seen.
The durable case is handsome, and I like the little screws on the side. It feels modern, but more traditional than the wildly angular case of the Girard-Perregaux. Having said that, you can now get a full black ceramic case for the Sea Hawk starting this year. No ceramic option here (yet). Another oddity that may change before final production is the name discrepancy on the dial versus that of the model. Gucci calls the watch the “Dive,” while it says “Diver” on the dial. Yes those are similar terms, but it does add an unnecessary layer of confusion when people out there are referring to the product.
The all steel Gucci Dive XL is the ref. YA136201 while the steel and 18k pink gold model is the ref. YA136202. The pieces come with black rubber straps as well as an additional calf leather strap. An interesting watch, we feel that the dials needs a tad bit more refinement, and perhaps an exhibition case back window showing the movement. As it stands, the case back includes an engraved image of a suit of armor holding two shopping bags or perhaps luggage. Is that Gucci or what? Price for the Dive in steel is $8,600 up to $12,600 for steel and 18k pink gold. Amazon is an official Gucci watches dealer