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Gucci - Gucci Gets Hip

Gucci Gucci Gets Hip

Gucci partners with will.i.am to develop a smart watch.

In a move that shocked the watch industry, Gucci announced on the first day of the Baselworld Fair a strategic partnership with will.i.am, founder of i.am+. will.i.am, a longtime fan of Gucci, touted “fashionology,” a mixture of fashion and technology, which he promised would revolutionize wearables.
Marco Bizzarri, recently named as the president and CEO of Gucci, kicked off the press conference, introducing new president and CEO of Gucci Timepieces and Jewelry Stéphane Linder. After Linder, will.i.am came out to talk about the new concept watch.

will.i.am already has the PULS, but he promised the Gucci product would be very different in design and functionality. “This will be a computer on your wrist, but designed the way Gucci knows how to design,” he said. “To match technology with fashion is an incredibly powerful combination and I’m really proud to be here today announcing this partnership.”

Linder pointed out that Gucci is already a leader in digital communication and e-commerce, and this partnership is key to reaching a new audience of tech fans. "Gucci is a worldwide leader in the fashion industry, taking an innovative and progressive stance in everything we do,” he said. “Gucci was – and is - a luxury pioneer in the digital space since the launch of the US e-commerce site in 2002, and has always believed that new media and new technologies represent a strategic communication and business channel. Today we continue to reinforce our leadership as one of the most innovative digital luxury brands, with an audience of over 30 million across our digital platforms. We operate e-commerce in approximately 30 countries and our website attracts over 100 million visitors a year.

“As a brand, we are now entering on new chapter of our history, with a clear focus on the now and the future of the brand itself,” he continued. “I do believe that with will.i.am we both share the same passion for innovation, creativity and being relevant to the consumers of today.”

The product both will.i.am and Linder were wearing was a concept watch and Linder admitted that Gucci had a lot of work to do to integrate the Gucci aesthetic into the device. “The Gucci design will definitely grab the attention of the fashion-forward and multi-device luxury consumers of today,” he said, setting no timeline for the introduction of the actual product. “What we have here is a concept, a prototype, just to let everyone know our direction. The design and functionality will be revised as we move ahead and we look forward to hearing feedback from our journalist and retail partners.”


will.i.am closed the press conference by promising that the new product would be very different from anything on the market. “When I think of Gucci, I think of real fashion, a legacy brand that has done amazing things in the past and will continue to do amazing things in the future,” he said. “There has never been a stand-alone tech product like this that people aspire to have. I don’t want to be too arrogant, but this is the dopest one!”

The partnership between Gucci and will.i.am was warmly received by the assembled journalists. Before and after the press conference, I had a chance to spend a bit of time with Will, and I was very impressed with his quick intellect, his genuine desire to develop a product that would positively impact people’s lives, and his happiness working with Gucci. It will be very interesting to see how this product develops and how these two entities work together to create something the industry has never seen.

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