Gerald Charles, the independent family-owned watch company based in Lugano, is committed to perpetuating the legacy of the late Gerald Charles Genta (1931-2011), widely recognised as the foremost watch designer of the 20th century. What is surprising is that all of the brand’s collections, from tourbillons to skeletonised movements and chronographs to ultra-thins, share the same Maestro case. Designed by Gerald Genta for the Gerald Charles brand, the Maestro case is as original as they come. For autumn 2023, Gerald Charles proposes a new palette for the Maestro 2.0 Ultra-Thin and the Maestro 3.0 Chronograph.
Identical in shape and size to former editions, the novelty here is the chocolate brown dial, a warm colour associated with autumn that looks beautiful with rose gold. Joining earlier rose gold versions with royal blue or emerald green dials, the sunburst chocolate brown dial produces different tonalities depending on how the light catches the enigmatic Maestro case.
Gerald Genta’s Maestro case is technically an “asymmetric polygon with smooth edges”; translated into conversational English, it is almost impossible to describe. Once you’ve seen it, though, you can never forget it. The rounded octagonal case with its pronounced double bezel has an unusual series of ripples or undulations at its base. Said to be inspired by Rome’s Baroque architect extraordinaire Francesco Borromoni, this feature is described by the brand as an ‘enigmatic ‘smile’.
The imposing tiered architecture of the Maestro case is made of 35 components and is mirror-polished to catch the light. Fitted with a screw-down crown with a Clous de Paris pattern in relief and a bespoke gasket, the 100m water-resistant case is a welcome and somewhat unexpected feature given the slim case height and the irregular-shaped flat sapphire crystal protecting the dial and movement. The Maestro 2.0 Ultra-Thin and the Maestro 3.0 Chronograph cases feature 35 and 39 components, respectively. Using a CNC numeric machine to produce the components, these are then assembled by hand. Despite its studied case, the watches are remarkably thin, and since the caseback, lugs and strap are on the same line, it sits flush on the wrist.
On the technical front, both models are powered by ultra-thin Vaucher automatic movements. They also share twin barrels for a 50h power reserve, a bidirectional rotor with a honeycomb pattern designed by Octavio Garcia and 5G shock resistance.
Maestro 2.0 Ultra-Thin
The time-and-date Maestro 2.0 Ultra-Thin comes in an 18k rose gold case with a diameter of 39mm, a length of 41mm and a thickness of just 8.7mm. A white railroad track on the dial’s perimeter tracks the minutes, while the applied rose gold hour markers and hour and minute hands are treated with white Super-LumiNova that emits a green glow. Blending well into the scenery, the gold-framed date window just above the round hour marker at 6 o’clock has a brown background and white numerals.
Equipped with a high-end, ultra-thin automatic movement made by partner Vaucher Manufacture, the twin barrels ensure a comfortable 50-hour power reserve.
Quick facts: 39mm diameter x 41mm length x 8.7mm thickness– 18k rose gold, polished – screw-down rose gold crown – flat sapphire crystal front and back – 100m water-resistance – sunburst chocolate brown dial – applied indices and hands with SLN – date at 6 o’clock – ultra-thin calibre GCA 3002 (Vaucher) automatic –3.7mm thickness – 50h power reserve – brown vulcanised rubber strap with Clous de Paris decoration and 18k rose gold pin buckle – ref. GC2.0-RG-05 – CHF 30,700 / EUR 33,800
Maestro 3.0 Chronograph
The Maestro Chronograph debuted in 2021, proving that the flamboyant case could be adapted to a sporty complication. Sharing the same diameter and length of the time-and-date model and the 100m water-resistance, the chronograph complication adds a few millimetres to the case thickness that is still restrained at 11.5mm. To fit in with the extravagant curves of the case, the chronograph pushers are also asymmetric and echo the shape of the short, rounded lugs.
The three sub-dials at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock have a round rose gold frame with snailed chapter rings and rounded hands treated with white Super-LumiNova that emits a green glow, matching the hour markers and hour and minute hands. Also equipped with an ultra-thin automatic movement made by Vaucher paired with a Dubois Dépraz chronograph module, the calibre GCA 3022/12 has a height of just 6.07mm.
Quick facts: 39mm diameter x 41.7mm length x 11.50mm height – 18k rose gold, polished – flat sapphire crystal front and back – screw-down crown – 100m water-resistance – sunburst chocolate brown dial – applied indices and hands treated with SLN – calibre GCA3002/12 (Vaucher automatic base with Dubois Dépraz chronograph module) – 6.07mm thickness – 50h power reserve – brown vulcanised rubber strap with Clous de Paris decoration and 18k rose gold pin buckle – ref. GC3.0-RG-05 – CHF 37,500 / EUR 41,200
Available for pre-order on the brand’s website, deliveries are expected in December 2023.