As some of you certainly know, there’s much more to Gerald Genta than his fame as the designer of the Royal Oak. The man also founded his own watch brand, which was acquired by Bvlgari in 2000 and is one of the pillars behind today’s impressive Octo Finissimo collection. Last year, we saw the name “Gerald Genta” printed again on the dial of a 50th-anniversary model. For 2020, Bvlgari continues to revive the name and brings a new, more modern take on the signature double-retrograde display, with the new Gerald Genta Arena Bi-Retrograde Anthracite.
Gerald Genta is renowned for his designs, such as the Royal Oak or the Nautilus. But he was also the founder of an eponymous watch brand and produced some of the most striking and boldest haute horlogerie watches of his times – including some grand complication models. Another element that consolidated the fame of his brand was unique displays – the retrograde and bi-retrograde movements. In 1996, Gerald Genta was the first to combine jumping hours and retrograde minutes on a wristwatch. Known as the Arena, the architecture of the watch was inspired by the structure of ancient “arenas”. Most watch enthusiasts might know this model under the Mickey Mouse editions.
Bvlgari acquired the Gerald Genta brand in 2000 together with its sister company Daniel Roth from The Hour Glass. In 2010, the two companies stopped existing as standalone brands. This also allowed Bvlgari to integrate teams, archives and knowledge under the Bvlgari umbrella, all of which participated in the creation of multiple record-breaking ultra-thin watches… Now, Bvlgari brings Gerald Genta’s heritage back into the spotlight with the launch of new models that bear the Gerald Genta logo and breathe new life into the brand’s distinctive design codes and signature mechanical movements. This started last year with a platinum Arena Bi-Retrograde. This year, the brand welcomes a more modern but also more accessible Anthracite edition.
At first, there can be no doubt regarding the lineage. This new Gerald Genta Arena Bi-Retrograde Anthracite is perfectly in line with older GG watches, whether for its design, its boldness and, of course, its unusual yet iconic display. However, Bvlgari has worked on the model to make a more contemporary watch. While last year’s platinum version was relatively subtle and refined, with its monochromatic blue dial, this 2020 edition is sportier and more colourful. A sign of evolution, the case now measures 43mm in diameter with a restrained height of 12mm. It is crafted from grey, brushed titanium. Like its predecessors from the 1990s, it features a smooth, rounded bezel, straight lugs and a coin-edge profile. The crown is partially protected by extended crown guards and the case is WR to 100m.
The main evolution for this 2020 Gerald Genta Arena Bi-Retrograde is the dial. The platinum edition played on elegant tones and shapes; this titanium version is far bolder and almost sporty. The dial, divided into clear sectors, combines dark grey (for the background) with yellow (for the hands and tracks). All the indications are framed by brushed metallic rings.
Attractive and unique, the “Bi-Retrograde” display is the signature element of this watch – and a hallmark of Gerald Genta’s creations. It combines jumping hours in a window at 12 o’clock and minutes on a 210 degrees arc. The date is also retrograde (with a 180-degree motion) and fills the empty space available at 6 o’clock. And as Xavier explained in his review of the platinum version, “not everyone realizes that the jumping hour is a rare, complex and exacting mechanism. Hours and minutes need to jump and snap back precisely on the hour. The mechanism needs to accumulate power before releasing it all at once with one swift, precise movement“.
To power the Gerald Genta Arena Bi-Retrograde and visible through the sapphire caseback, Bvlgari relies on its classic in-house automatic movement, the BVL 300 base – a 26.2mm movement with bidirectional self-winding capacity, 4Hz frequency and 42h power reserve. On top sits an in-house module that drives the jumping and retrograde indications. The movement is classically decorated and features a rotor personalized with the GG logo.
Gerald Genta Arena Bi-Retrograde Anthracite Dial comes on a matte black alligator strap with a titanium folding clasp. It will be priced at EUR 15,000. For more information, please visit www.bulgari.com.