The name Gerald Charles might not ring a bell immediately. However, if I say Gerald Genta, this might be far clearer… Indeed, behind the GC brand was the genius designer of many emblematic watches, which he established after selling his eponymous brand to Bulgari. With Gerald Charles, Genta continued to produce watches and to create singular designs, one of them being the Maestro. And more than a decade after he passed away, the brand still exists. The model in question is the collection’s cornerstone, which now returns in the shape of a lightweight, high-end automatic chronograph combining a striking Royal Blue dial with a polished titanium case. Here’s the new Gerald Charles Maestro GC3.0-TN Chronograph.
Gerald Genta is famous for dozens of emblematic designs, among which are the Royal Oak, the Nautilus, the Ingenieur SL, the Pasha de Cartier, the Bvlgari Bvlgari, but also, in his earliest years, the UG Polerouter and the Omega Constellation. Without forgetting the highly-desirable Disney watches – which are still a hit today. But we’re not here to talk about the still-existing Gerald Genta brand (owned and revived by Bulgari) but about another venture created by the designer Gerald Charles.
Located in Lugano, Genta christened this brand Gerald Charles (his full name was Gerald Charles Genta), which was backed by investors from the Italian Ziviani family. Following his death in 2011, Federico Zivani decided it was time to revive the Gerald Charles brand. In 2020 Gerald Charles reappeared on the watch scene with the resuscitation of an idiosyncratic 2006 Genta design in a 42mm stainless steel case known as the Maestro Anniversary. This has become the starting point for an entire collection focused on this design, which includes classic time-and-date watches, a chronograph, a sports watch and a high-end skeleton model.
Dubbed the Gerald Charles Maestro GC3.0, the chronograph model has appeared in various iterations, such as a striking gold-and-green version, its counterpart with a blue dial and a more classic steel-and-black edition. While the overall design and specifications remain unchanged, today it returns in a new version that is lighter, colder and more user-friendly.
The basics of this new Maestro GC3.0-TN Chronograph are those we’ve covered in the past, starting with the singular design of the case. There’s an undeniable Baroque charm about the Maestro case, making it bold, architectural and yet relatively classic simultaneously. Genta said it was inspired by the ornate architecture of Rome’s famous Baroque architect, Francesco Borromini – which can mostly be seen in the depression in the lower part of the case, as well as the thick, multi-stepped bezel. Proportions… reasonably compact for an automatic chronograph, at 39mm in width, 41.7mm in length (excl. the lugs) and with a relatively enjoyable thickness of only 11.50mm.
For 2023, the chronograph version of the Gerald Charles Maestro returns in grade 5 titanium. Entirely polished, it offers a combination of resistance and lightness. But titanium is a challenging material to work with, considering the complex shapes of the case, the bespoke chronograph pushers in the corners and the Clous de Paris (hobnail) pattern on the crown. The result is a watch that is almost half the weight of the steel edition (and, of course, far less than a gold model). Despite its compactness, the Maestro GC3.0-TN Chronograph is 100m water-resistant (with a screw-down crown) and features sapphire crystals on both sides.
Creating great contrast with the light grey case, the dial has a sunray-brushed Royal Blue colour. The elegant tri-compax layout is combined with applied markers and hands with a generous amount of luminescent material, and all sub-counters are framed by polished metallic rings, adding depth and high-end touches. This dial is paired with a matching vulcanised rubber strap with a Clous de Paris pattern and a titanium pin buckle.
Under the see-through caseback is a movement produced by Vaucher Manufacture. This automatic chronograph movement (modular architecture) is elegantly designed and decorated with Côte de Gèneve on the bridges, circular-grained plates, and diamond-polished bevels and counterbores. The brand claims chronometer-grade accuracy, according to the Qualité Fleurier standard. It runs at a 4Hz frequency and stores up to 50h of energy when fully wound.
The Titanium and Royal Blue Gerald Charles Maestro GC3.0-TN Chronograph is released as part of the permanent collection and is priced at EUR 24,900. It is now available for pre-order at www.geraldcharles.com, with deliveries in March 2023.