Creating a brand that revolves around a single watch design takes a lot of bravado. However, if the design is by the late Gérald Genta, one of the most successful watch designers of the 20th century, it is feasible. The brand Gerald Charles was founded by Gérald Charles Genta in 2000. Following his death in 2011, Genta’s asymmetrical Maestro watch was selected as the face of the brand and returns this year with a flying tourbillon equipped with a bespoke manufacture movement made by Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier, with the new Maestro 9.0 Tourbillon.
As the brainchild of the luxury sports watch, Gérald Genta’s career is intimately linked to his iconic Royal Oak design for Audemars Piguet in 1972. The AP connection continues today with the appointment of Octavio Garcia, ex-artistic director of AP, as Gerald Charles’ artistic director and the designer behind the impressive skeletonised Maestro. The new Maestro 9.0 Tourbillon is inspired by an original Maestro skeletonised flying tourbillon created by Gérald Genta in 2005.
The curvy, playful case architecture of the Maestro, influenced by Rome’s ornate Baroque architecture, might seem an anomaly in Gérald Genta’s trajectory of luxury sports watches. With its rounded octagonal shape, rippling bezel and enigmatic ‘smile’ at the bottom of the case, the Maestro is a genuinely original design. What is surprising, however, is that it complies with some of the mandates of a sports watch: it has a screw-down crown and is water-resistant to 100m; it has a thin profile, and it comes in stainless steel cases.
Upholding its luxury sport watch credentials, the Maestro 9.0 Tourbillon is housed in a 100m water-resistant stainless steel case with a 39mm diameter, a length of 41.7mm and a thickness of 9.37mm. According to Garcia, using the area described as the ‘smile’ was “a natural playground for a tourbillon“.
Titanium flying tourbillon cage
The sunburst royal blue dial features a large circular aperture at 6 o’clock for the 60-second flying tourbillon. Working side by side with Vaucher, Garcia and the team engineered a unique tourbillon cage in the shape of the interlocking GC logo, machined from lightweight grade 5 titanium. The flying tourbillon was also skeletonised to avoid placing pressure on the power reserve, and the screws holding the 18k yellow gold bridge on the reverse side were repositioned. A blue indicator on the cage indicates the small seconds which can be precision set thanks to the stop-seconds function. The hour and minute hands and the applied indices, which are slightly longer than other Maestro models, are treated with Super-LumiNova.
The sapphire crystal caseback reveals the Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier GCA 3024/12 automatic flying tourbillon calibre with its 22k rose gold honeycomb rotor that charges the 50-hour power reserve of the twin-barrel system. The frequency is 28,800vph, and the movement is fitted with an Incabloc shock protection system. The bespoke bridge designs are decorated with a special vertical Côtes de Genève pattern developed by Octavio Garcia.
Availability & Price
In addition to the stainless steel model, there are two limited-edition gem-set versions: an 18k white gold model with a diamond-set bezel and an 18k white gold model with blue sapphires. All three versions are presented on a royal blue vulcanised rubber strap to match the colour of the dial.
The Maestro 9.0 Tourbillon in steel will be limited to 50 pieces a year; the price remains to be confirmed. The two gem-set versions will be limited to 10 pieces each per year (price TBC). For more information, please consult Geraldcharles.com.
Technical specifications – Gerald Charles Maestro 9.0 Tourbillon
Case: 39mm diameter x 41.7mm length x 9.37mm thick – stainless steel, polished – screw-down crown with Clous de Paris finish – anti-reflective sapphire crystal over dial, sapphire crystal aperture on caseback – 100m water-resistance
Dial: sunburst royal blue – applied indices and hour and minute hands filled with Super-LumiNova – aperture at 6 o’clock for 60-second flying tourbillon with titanium GC tourbillon cage and blue indicator for small seconds
Movement: calibre GCA 3024/12 – Vaucher manufacture automatic 60-second flying tourbillon – 22k rose gold rotor with honeycomb motif – 28,800vph – 196 components, 33 rubies – 4.87mm thick – Incabloc – 50h power reserve
References/Availability: GC9.0-A-01 stainless steel, limited to 50 pieces a year
GC9.0-A-WG-DIA 18k white gold with 66 diamonds in bezel, limited to 10 pieces a year
GC9.0-A-WG-SAPH 18k white gold with 66 blue sapphires in bezel, limited to 10 pieces a year
Strap: royal blue vulcanised rubber