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Founded by legendary watch designer Mr. Gérald Charles Genta in 2000, Swiss brand Gerald Charles is known for creating high-end watches that boast a unique, elegant design language. Mr. Gérald Charles Genta — a household name in the watch community — designed some of the most revered and iconic watches of all time, including the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, Patek Philippe Nautilus, Cartier Pasha, IWC Ingenieur, Omega Constellation, Universal Geneve Polerouter, and many more. Not only did Mr. Genta design dozens of watches that would go on to become wildly successful, but in doing so, he also effectively changed the trajectory of the watch industry, at large. It’s safe to say that without Mr. Genta, watch styles and trends over the last half-century would have evolved in a much different manner. Accordingly, he is widely regarded as the most important and well-known watch designer of all time. As a tribute to its late great founder, Gerald Charles has released one of its most technically and aesthetically advanced pieces to date: the Maestro 9.0 Tourbillon.
Shortly after the launch of his eponymous brand in 2000, Mr. Gérald Charles Genta designed the original Maestro Flying Tourbillon — a piece that would go on to be one of his more ambitious and impressive creations. The new Maestro 9.0 Tourbillon (reference GC9.0-A-01), created in collaboration with the brand’s creative director Octavio Garcia, features the same, immediately recognizable case profile as the original. Measuring 39x42mm and a svelte 9mm in thickness, the stainless steel case sports a playfully elegant asymmetrical shape with a rippled bezel and the brand’s signature “smile” spanning from the 7 o’clock to the 5 o’clock marker.
“The “smile” is such an inviting space to explore and creates a natural playground for a tourbillon,” says creative director Octavio Garcia. “But it also contributes to a paradox: the Maestro’s form and volume make sense to the human eye. And yet, when you come to hand-draw it, you realize it has one of the most complex case shapes in watchmaking. There are no straight lines. Even the indices pose a challenge because they have to follow the case silhouette and underscore the Maestro design. The challenge as a designer is to find a balance between character and usability.”
The design is further enhanced by a beautiful blue sunburst dial, the brand’s signature color. The blue sunburst is a fitting choice for this piece. The variation in color is impressive here — the dial ranges from a deep midnight blue in low-lit conditions to a bright, electric blue under direct light. The sunburst texture is subtle but effective. While the blue dial is quite dynamic and contrasts with the case nicely, the relatively simple dial design and texture balance nicely with the rest of the design, allowing the asymmetrical stepped case and tourbillon to garner their fair share of visual attention.
The Maestro 9.0 Tourbillon is powered by the GCA 3024/12 automatic flying tourbillon calibre, a bespoke manufacture movement produced by Gerald Charles’s long-time partner Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier, a revered specialist movement creator utilized by several high-end brands, including Parmigiani Fleurier. This iteration of the tourbillon complication is unique to the brand, and to this timepiece in particular, because its tourbillon cage is shaped in the form of the brand’s swooping GC logo.
Engineering a tourbillon cage in this shape was a technical feat in and of itself. There was a fair amount of trial and error in creating this design, as shaping a tourbillon in the form of the GC logo was difficult to do without negatively affecting the power reserve of the timepiece. To combat this problem, Gerald Charles chose to fashion the case out of supremely lightweight Grade 5 titanium. However, this decision posed a technical challenge of its own, as titanium is difficult to manipulate under strict tolerances. Nevertheless, the engineers at Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier and Gerald Charles stuck with it, as they believed that the lightness, durability, and visual effect of the warm grey titanium would more than merit the time and energy required to work with the material in this circumstance.
Eventually, the brand achieved its goal, creating a highly sophisticated flying tourbillon with a skeletonized cage. Oscillating at 4hz, this iteration of one of watchmaking’s most prestigious complications is as beautiful as it is technically impressive. Its gold bridge contrasts beautifully with the titanium tourbillon cage, as well as the stainless steel case. It also features a blue indicator applied to the “G” of the cage that serves as a small seconds indicator.
Visible through a sapphire caseback, the movement of the Maestro 9.0 Tourbillon is intricately designed and exquisitely finished. The calibre features bespoke bridge designs decorated by Octavio Garcia’s very own Côtes de Genève pattern, which is inspired by the art of Italian tailoring — a nod to Mr. Genta’s Italian heritage. The movement also features impressive diamond-polished anglage featured throughout, as well as an impressive 22k rose-gold rotor that is decorated with a striking honeycomb motif. The movement features a power reserve of 50 hours, as well as hacking seconds functionality.
Created as a tribute to legendary watch designer and the brand’s namesake, Mr. Gérald Charles Genta, the Maestro 9.0 Tourbillon ref. GC9.0-A-01 will be produced as a limited run of 50 pieces in steel. There will also be an additional 20 pieces per year produced in stainless steel with the 18k white gold bezel: 10 with diamond-set bezels and 10 with sapphire-set bezels decorated by the master gem setters of Salanitro Geneva. Priced at $95,800 USD the pieces are available for pre-order now. For more information, visit the brand’s website.
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