Gemstones, diamonds and alligator leather. The material breakdown of most luxury watches is a far cry from anything you could call “Earth-friendly.” In the creation of these statements of wealth, no animal, person or planet can stand in the way. Maybe the only saving grace with a luxury watch is that once bought, it’s probably not going to be thrown away: if nothing else, the hefty price tags prevent that.
But maybe the tides are turning with the introduction of Gucci’s bio-based collection of Dive watches. This unisex 40mm timepiece is crafted from bio-based plastic, sourced from renewable and natural plant-derived sources.
The Gucci Dive is a classic sports style watch. In this bio-based iteration, it’s been given a sportier twist thanks to its plastic strap and contemporary color options: aquamarine, natural moss green, matte white, and transparent. The watch face is adorned with an interlocking GG logo and motifs of bees and stars are used in place of numerals or index hour markers. It’s all a bit cute in comparison to the classic Dive style. In fact, they’re giving us some strong 90s vibes.
Beyond the kitscher aesthetic elements, the watch also boasts plenty of features in terms of functionality – like a Swiss-made automatic movement, water-resistance up to 200m, and a power reserve that lasts for 38 hours. And there are phosphorescent elements in the dial, case and hour markers for legibility in dark corners or dark waters.
Materials-wise, at least 46 percent of the bracelet and 65 percent of the watch face case are made with bio-based materials. What we want to know is: what makes up the other 54 percent? Virgin petroleum-based plastics? There are also no available details on who produced the bio-based plastic or what it contains. Other components of the watch, including the crown, buckle and caseback, are manufactured from recycled steel, whilst the watch face is made from sapphire glass with anti reflective coating.
Undoubtedly, there are some good points to this watch. Its innovative use of bio-based and recycled materials are certainly welcome, and its always good to see a name with the kind of cache that Gucci holds testing the bio-based waters. But there are also plenty of missed opportunities: while Gucci’s parent company, Kering, maintains a commitment to the “gradual phase-out of fossil fuels,” gradual is the crucial word.
Gucci has been fur-free since 2018 but continues to use animal leathers in many of its accessories. On this, Gucci states “we focus on a number of our industry’s biggest challenges, like traceability, so that we can guarantee social and environmental sustainability, as well as best practices in animal welfare, over the long term.”
So, the question remains: is this progress or is this just a parallel move for Gucci?Real change or a way to woo more eco-conscious customers into its consumer base? A way of having its bio-based cake and eating it, too.
As ever, and fittingly in this case, time will tell. For now, though, you can take a deeper look at the Dive bio-based collection on the Gucci website. And, if bio-based materials are something you’re interested in hearing more about – which, as it happens, we think that they should be – then check out these biodegradable slides from Balena.