Samsung Gear S2 By De Grisogono: Boldly Going Where No Smartwatch Has Gone Before
by Martin Green
Fawaz Gruosi, founder and CEO of de Grisogono, sometimes seems to live in an alternative universe, one of his own making.
His creations have such strong DNA that they cannot be confused for anything else but being by de Grisogono as they show very little resemblance to what is already available on the market.
Yet Gruosi always seems to be able to put his finger on the pulse of what his customers want, even though they themselves may not realize this. From his remarkable insight ability, he has introduced the now-ubiquitous black diamond used in jewelry and watches, the No. Uno to conquer the wrist of the jet set, and at Baselworld 2016 a smartwatch.
It was perhaps the most talked about introduction there (Elizabeth even listed it as one of her three Baselworld surprises in 3 Big Baselworld 2016 Surprises: Seiko Tourbillon, De Grisogono Samsung Smartwatch And Monsieur De Chanel) – and for good reason: Apple had already provided a taste of what an exclusive smartwatch could be like with the 18-karat gold Apple watch as well as its collaboration with Hermès, but de Grisogono, went much, much further.
In true Gruosi style, the brand combined signature de Grisogono materials such as black and colorless diamonds, 18-karat pink gold, and DLC-coated stainless steel into an avant-garde Samsung Gear S2 watch.
How high-end can a smartwatch become?
With this timepiece, both new territory will be explored and an important question perhaps answered: just how high-end can a smartwatch become?
When the first quartz watches were introduced in the late 1970s, Swiss brands were convinced that this new technology would remain the nec plus ultra of movement technology for quite some time – a technology for which consumers would pay gladly a premium.
Japanese brands undermined this dream by producing high-quality, high-precision, yet low-priced quartz watches by the millions.
When the first smartwatches entered the market, the sentiment seemed reversed: expensive smartwatches would never gain ground because the technology would expire too quickly. It is quite easy to argue for or against this, but the proof is in the pudding.
Upon presenting this watch at Baselworld, de Grisogono made clear that it was a limited edition. The question as to how many pieces this limited edition would contain elicited a surprising answer, though: “We don’t know yet.”
De Grisogono first wants to test the waters after the introduction by listening the reactions from press, public, and longtime customers. Then the brand will decide how many pieces this limited edition will comprise. This is a clever approach, and one that has worked well in the past in a similar way for exclusive car brands.
De Grisogono should get credit for testing the waters, but how good is the Samsung Gear S2 by de Grisognono really?
How good is it really?
A longtime Apple user myself, and actually an enthusiast of the Apple watch (though I do not own one), I have recently developed a similar enthusiasm for Samsung’s efforts.
Samsung’s products often rival that of Apple, and the Gear S2 is no different: the functions are similar to those offered on the Apple watch, and the interface is pleasant to use.
What does de Grisogono add to all this? Well, in a word: nothing. Instead, de Grisogono elevates it, bringing a great smartwatch into another universe: the realm of Gruosi.
The contrast of the pink gold bezel set with colorless diamonds and the stainless steel case coated with black DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) and set with black diamonds is a striking one.
Although officially introduced as a unisex watch, the contrast of materials does proffer a rather feminine note, and I hope that de Grisogono will introduce a version with a touch more testosterone in the near future.
The amazing thing about this watch is that for the very first time in the history of horology, a fully diamond-set bezel actually has a clear-cut function that it’s good at.
Yes, there are diver’s watches with diamond-set dive bezels, but that serves no purpose under water. The bezel of the Samsung Gear 2 by de Grisogono actually controls the functions of the smartwatch.
The diamond-set bezel of the Samsung Gear 2 by de Grisogono actually controls the functions of the smartwatch.
This seems like a detail, but it could actually be a vital contribution to its success as my press contact unwittingly demonstrated while she showed me the watch. Her well manicured nails were beautifully long, as could be the case with a majority of de Grisogono’s female customer base.
Touching the screen with them was not always the easiest for the press representative, but turning the gold diamond-set bezel was not only effortless, it was also elegant.
Beautifully crafted, the Samsung Gear S2 by de Grisognono naturally offers functions no mechanical watch can rival.
While many of these functions are also reached via the regular menu of the Gear S2, the watch comes with four unique de Grisogono dials, two in black and two in white, which display various information in typical de Grisogono style.
The layout and look of these dials is actually so visually pleasing that they transcend being a gimmick to what you would expect to see when you check the time on a high-quality watch. The hands, the numerals, the lighting, and even the virtual guilloche on parts of the dial are all near perfect.
Love it, or hate it, we must applaud de Grisogono for such a bold move!
By “testing the waters,” the Geneva-based brand may well find a whole new market – one that other high-end watch manufacturers might also help to create a more sustainable path toward in a rapidly changing watch world.
For more information, please visit www.degrisogono.com/s2-glamorously-smart.
Case: 41 x 45 x 13 mm, pink gold set with 56 white diamonds (approx. 1.2 ct) and black DLC-coated stainless steel set with 71 black diamonds (approx. 1.8 ct)
Dial: 1.2’’ display, circular super AMOLED, 360 x 360, 302 ppi displaying four virtual dial choices
Movement: battery-driven connected technology with 4 GB internal memory and 512 MB RAM; wireless charging; typical charge holds 2-3 days
Strap: black galuchat
Price: 14,900 Swiss francs (including tax)