I’ll begin this Gucci Dive 45mm “Bee Embroidery” dial reference YA136216 watch review by immediately acknowledging that this is not a timepiece for everyone. In fact, if your tastes are mostly about utilitarian “serious” tool watches and your focus is more on function versus style (nothing wrong with that), you are likely not going to have much interest for this watch. After initially covering the new slew of “animal face” Gucci Dive watches with embroidery or rubber” dials a couple months ago, the sort of polarizing effect this type of fashion watch had was obvious. And that didn’t surprise me.
With that said, I find these watches fun. They aren’t meant to replace a tool-style or traditional watch, but they offer an appealing flavor for those who enjoy relishing in high-fashion luxury items as well as watches. I not only saw the larger selection of these “animal divers” with Gucci at Baselworld 2017, but also reviewed this Gucci Dive 45mm with the “embroidery dial” myself. In short, it’s cool looking, well-done, comfortable, and attention grabbing. For what it is, I really enjoy this watch. If you don’t like the idea of it, that’s cool. Just appreciate that there is a place for watches like this.
Gucci is part of the Kering Group, which owns a series of big name watch brands such as Ulysse Nardin and Girard-Perregaux. Gucci isn’t new to watches and has been making quartz and mechanical watches of various types for years. To a degree, the brand is a bit more well-known for their women’s goods, but men’s items from Gucci are both common and popular. I’ve been tracking the brand’s watches for years now, and find it interesting how they often totally redo their collections and celebrate novelty in a way that allows for freshness and new directions on a regular basis.
The “bee motif” is part of that. A couple of years ago, Gucci decided that they wanted a bee to be one of their new animal icons and just started to put the motif in various designs. They didn’t need to inspect their history to make sure it was “appropriate.” For 2017 we see a slew of watches with nylon fabric dials that have embroidered bees among other animals such as a snake or tiger. This is segmented between a few watch collections for both men and women. This Gucci Dive 45mm is easily the most masculine of these timepieces, taking a large dive-style watch and incorporating this more fashion-forward element. It is a hybrid for sure as it melds two worlds together. I recall in the comments on my original post about this some people complained that this wasn’t a true diving watch. My reaction was “well, it isn’t trying to be… aren’t there enough dive watches out there?” Fashion watches tend to confuse or irritate strict traditionalists because the items play and meld themes in ways that are sometimes confusing or erode functionality. Though, when done right, the fashionable melding of themes can produce something that is ultimately fun, attractive, and still useful.
Those who dislike displaying fashion labels but otherwise wearing high-fashion brands will appreciate the fact that you can’t find the “Gucci” name on the dial of this watch. The only part of the exterior of the timepiece that says “Gucci” is on the case back (which is mostly covered by the NATO-style strap), and then once again discreetly on the strap buckle. It takes a while for you to notice that fact, and I think it speaks well to the confidence of the brand that it wasn’t necessary to include “Gucci” on the dial. Of course you do have the small Gucci logo on the crown.
Fashion watches at their best are about a strongly communicated visual image in a package that feels appropriate to wear. The specific definition of this is going to depend on the wearer, but the idea here in the Gucci Dive 45mm Bee Embroidery is that you have a nice to wear dive-style watch which eschews the traditional dial for something a bit more artistic and playful. Thus, most of the watch is “familiar” while the artistic canvas (the dial) is where the novelty is.