Gucci’s launching a watch sub-brand called Gucci Grip. OK, it’s not really a sub-brand. All four Grip launch models sport the Gucci logo on every available surface. Still, don’t expect faithful Gucci customers to gripe about the Grip; the new watches coordinate with their clothes, as swisstime.ch breathlessly reports . . .
“[The Grip’s] unique design blends timeless appeal with highly contemporary style. The collection comprises four new quartz timepieces. Each one features a rounded square case with three windows, in which three white rotating disks indicate the hour, minute, and date respectively. One edition brings together a yellow gold PVD case and yellow gold PVD bracelet, both engraved with Gucci’s signature Interlocking G logo.
“Another variant is worked purely in steel for a sleek, modern look that combines easily with different outfits. Adding a sophisticated and luxurious touch of color to the line, two further editions are offered with colored calf leather straps: green with a steel case, or bordeaux with a yellow gold PVD case. Grip is the perfect choice for men and women who appreciate clean yet eye-catching design with vintage appeal.”
It’s hard to imagine a shopper walking into a Gucci boutique asking for a clean yet eye-catching design with vintage appeal. But it is possible that the purveyor of Harry Style’s favorite threads could convince some high-profile social media influencers to leave the Apple Watch 5 to the nerderisti and get a Gucci Grip – causing a run on the market.
Gucci has certainly bent the ear of fashion industry gatekeepers; style gurus have published Grip puff pieces airy enough to find a home in a bag a Cheetos. Well d’uh. Last year Gucci’s U.S. ad spend crested $100m. Here’s a sample homage de Grip from the house of Esquire:
“The Grip collection – quartz designs every bit as refreshingly idiosyncratic as Gucci’s ready-to-wear collections – feature square dials upon PVD and calf leather straps. Unlike classic analogue though, these watches boast a rotating dial that display the hour, minute and date within three small openings. The rest is hidden behind engraved cases in gold and silver.
“It’s important, and not just because Gucci is in-step with the wider luxury appetite for gender neutrality. Rather than segue into the overly experimental, the Grip line is safely wearable for men and women. Nothing that’ll cause a stare, or smash the binary: just classic, cool but still Gucci through and through.”
I’m not convinced. Grip’s watches look nothing so much as a weight scale. That’s NOT a visual association bound to delight fashionistas, buyers who watch their weight more assiduously than hedge fund managers watch stock prices. Speaking of price . . .
The lower-priced Grips hit the market for $1550. The gold variant says hello at $1900. Gucci branding or not, that’s serious coin for a “gender neutral” watch powered by a Swiss Ronda quartz movement. Then again, that is the going price for other Gucci watches.
Even at $1900 — especially at $1900? — Grips seem pretty downmarket, especially for a brand that fancies itself on the same level of Chanel. It’s no wonder Gucci counterfeit watches are so easy to make — and popular.
Why didn’t the G-men (and women) re-brand their existing watches as Grips and head upmarket with something truly fabulous — and fabulously expensive?
Don’t ask me. I’m just a humble watch blogger tending a collection of watches that replaced his daughter’s college tuition fund. Gucci’s 2018 sales topped $8.86 billion, after 36.9% growth. The luxury brand reckons the new watch line will generate even more gripping numbers. Watch this space.
UPDATE: Gucci has unleashed an unlikely follow-up to the Grip: the Gucci GG Grip Rubber Strap Watch. It’s a chrono. And a cryin’ shame. Click here for our take.