More than almost any other luxury business, the current watch industry zeitgeist is dictated by the work of a single designer. This one designer, the late Gérald Genta, created the concept of the integrated bracelet luxury sports watch almost singlehandedly, but his contributions to the industry spread far beyond that niche. One of the dark horses in Genta’s extensive stable is Gerald Charles, the eponymous brand the designer founded in 2000, with its signature baroque-inspired Maestro line created in 2003. For 2021, Gerald Charles gives the Maestro line a thorough refresh, changing nearly every element of the distinctive case while keeping the original spirit of the line intact. Slimmer, sleeker, and sporting a dramatic rose gold and green colorway, the new Gerald Charles Maestro 2.0 Premier 2021 Limited Edition refines and reinvigorates one of Genta’s most distinctive and low-profile latter-day designs for a unique experience far outside the designer’s most famous territory.
Designed to emulate the façade of a 17th-century monument in Rome, the 18k rose gold case of the Gerald Charles Maestro 2.0 Premier 2021 Limited Edition is its defining feature. While the rounded stepped bezel, semi-octagonal case shape, and “smiling” curved 6 o’clock case side have been hallmarks of the series since its 2003 introduction, the Maestro 2.0 Premier 2021 Limited Edition serves as the introduction for a subtly reshaped take on the unorthodox form. The 39mm by 41.7mm case has been slimmed down to a lithe 8.7mm-thick to give a more elegant case profile. In addition, the trademark 6 o’clock “smile” curve has been widened and reshaped, creating a more flowing and less abrupt form than previous models. This thinner case and complex bezel shape created an engineering challenge for Gerald Charles, as well, and in order to maintain the reasonably sporting 100-meter water resistance rating, the brand designed a proprietary system to ensure equal pressure across all edges of the sapphire crystal. While the brand gives few specifics about the nature of this system, this is a solid achievement for a watch of this form and thickness even with its screw-down crown. The short lug assembly has also been reshaped from earlier Maestro models, with a raised height and pronounced downturn designed to allow the strap and caseback to sit on a level plane for a flatter look on the wrist. While all these changes do combine to dramatically streamline the case form, this is still a deliberately baroque design in both inspiration and execution, which may divide enthusiasts more familiar with Genta’s famous smooth and integrated watches.
The dial of the Gerald Charles Maestro 2.0 Premier 2021 Limited Edition sets off its rose gold case with a vibrant emerald green sunburst finish. Outside of the color and 6 o’clock “Premier 2021” nomenclature, the design cleaves close to the 2003 original, with a chemin de fer outer seconds track and a distinctive mix of applied circular and narrow oval indices. The rounded paddle handset is a Genta standby, shared with the Patek Philippe Nautilus series, though the execution looks a touch narrower here in initial images. A date window at 6 o’clock nicely preserves the dial’s unique symmetry, but the added line of “Premier 2021” text at 6 o’clock shifts the visual weight distribution somewhat towards the 6 o’clock side in images.
Gerald Charles powers the Maestro 2.0 Premier 2021 Limited Edition with the Vaucher-made Calibre Ref. GCA3002 automatic movement. Featuring twin mainspring barrels and a bidirectional 18K gold rotor on ceramic ball bearings, the Calibre Ref. GCA3002 offers a 50-hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate. Gerald Charles’ emerald green strap choice for the Maestro 2.0 Premier 2021 Limited Edition may prove to be the most divisive element of the watch. Although the rubber strap with its clous de Paris texture is a signature element of the Maestro line, the material and texture offer a far more relaxed and utilitarian energy than the baroque polished lines of the case. The texture itself, while repeated on the 3 o’clock crown and referencing the texture of classic guilloche dials, also calls to mind the standard-issue rubber waffle straps fitted to ‘70s Seiko dive watches as much as anything Swiss. That said, the strap pairing is undeniably bold, and will likely prove to be a genuine conversation piece.
With a thinner and more elegant design coupled to a vibrant new colorway, the new Gerald Charles Maestro 2.0 Premier 2021 Limited Edition offers a distinctive and dramatic luxury statement piece for Genta enthusiasts looking for a more unique experience. Only 25 examples of the Gerald Charles Maestro 2.0 Premier 2021 Limited Edition will be made, available now through authorized dealers at an MSRP of $31,400. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.