If you’re in the know about vintage watches or consider yourself a horology history buff, then you might have heard of the Tank a Guichet. That was the moniker for a 1931 timepiece by Cartier. It was a revolutionary design for its time because it was essentially encased in metal save for two itsy bitsy windows to showcase the hour and minutes. In 2017, a model sold for about US$131,000 (S$182,000) at a Phillips auction.
Flash forward to this month and Gucci is turning heads with the same kind of unorthodox and eccentric approach to watchmaking – so Alessandro Michele, isn’t it? – for its latest Swiss-made collection called the Gucci Grip. For one, there is no visible dial on any of the quartz-powered pieces in this PVD-coated stainless steel series. Instead, a behemoth metal case conceals the face of the watch – giving a retro Brutalist influence.
Telling the time is a discreet affair. One needs to look at the two windows for the hour and minute, while another window at the erstwhile six o’clock position tells the date. With such an appearance, it is no wonder that some have cheekily compared the appearance of this unisex watch to that of a weighing scale. However, Michele’s idea behind the design is one that’s more charming: The name takes its cues after the way sneakers stick to the grip tape pasted of skaters’ skateboards.
Available in a rather hefty (read: androgynous) size of either 35mm or 38mm, the watches come with more than 40 different interchangeable strap options that range from green alligator skin strap to a ’70s-style link bracelet. The watch case, meanwhile, comes in either a gold-tone or silver-tone finish, as well as versions with an all-over embossed GG monogram motif. This piece won’t fetch astronomical auction-worthy prices but its cool kid factor is hard to come by.