With a history stretching back nearly 90 years and wearers hailing from every walk of life — from children to rock stars, pop artists, heads of state, and astronauts — the Mickey Mouse watch is an enthusiast genre unto itself. The watches featuring Disney’s beloved character are nearly as diverse as the people who wear them, ranging from cheap base-model timepieces aimed at children to true horological masterworks. Gerald Genta has a rich legacy of creating some of the most sought-after luxury Mickey Mouse designs, and after the brand’s revival in 2020 under the stewardship of Bulgari the Gerald Genta nameplate is once again sharing a dial with the world’s most famous mouse. The new limited edition Gerald Genta Arena Retro Mickey Mouse Disney playfully revives one of the brand’s most distinctive releases, combining joyful character design with truly high-end watchmaking.
The 41mm stainless steel case of the Gerald Genta Arena Retro Mickey Mouse Disney is a unique blend of streamlined simplicity and ornate, almost Art Deco surface detailing. The overall form is elemental, with simple straight lugs complemented by a broad, gently rounded polished bezel. When viewed from the side, however, the case reveals its layered complexity in images. The central caseband features a polished fluted texture with a broader pattern than Breguet’s signature coin edge design, topped at 3 o’clock by a heavily knurled crown and sweeping, winglike elongated crown guards. These elements of texture help to break up the tall case sides in images, while adding a sense of depth and complexity to the case design. Gerald Genta does not give specifics regarding the water resistance of the Arena Retro Mickey Mouse Disney, but this likely isn’t a watch for prolonged diving.
With the dial of the Arena Retro Mickey Mouse Disney, Gerald Genta skillfully balances elegant minimalism with a sense of energetic whimsy in images. The deeply grained silver sunburst dial is given ample visual breathing room, with a light and airy retrograde minutes scale across the top half of the dial. The elongated, slightly rounded numerals on the minutes scale along with their alternating sizes creates a pleasingly vintage effect in images, calling to mind both prewar speedometers and antique radio tuning dials. This retrograde display is complemented by a cleanly elemental jumping hours window at 4 o’clock, with a white hours wheel that helps it to stand out from the surrounding backdrop. Of course, the real centerpiece of the dial is Mickey Mouse himself, happily dancing at the center of the dial and using his outstretched finger as a minutes hand. Overall, it’s a blend of the cleanly serious and the unabashedly fun that gives the Gerald Genta Arena Retro Mickey Mouse Disney its unique character.
Gerald Genta powers the Arena Retro Mickey Mouse Disney with a heavily modified mono-retrograde automatic movement. Although the brand keeps the specifics of this movement close to the vest, it’s likely that this is a modified variant of the Bulgari BVL 300 base movement much like the Gerald Genta Arena Bi-Retro Sport. Unlike the Bi-Retro Sport, however, this is a pared-down version of the design, omitting the date complication in favor of a cleaner time-only layout. Like that model, however, the movement inside the Arena Retro Mickey Mouse Disney offers a 42 hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate. To complete the vintage Mickey Mouse watch look, the Gerald Genta Arena Retro Mickey Mouse Disney is fitted with a bright red fabric-effect rubber strap.
Deftly blending playful pop culture with handsomely refined design and excellent movement making, the limited edition Gerald Genta Arena Retro Mickey Mouse Disney reimagines what many enthusiasts consider to be the pinnacle of the Mickey Mouse watch lineage. Only 150 examples of the Gerald Genta Arena Retro Mickey Mouse Disney will be made, and will be available through authorized dealers in January 2022 at an MSRP of €16,500. For more information, please visit Bulgari’s website.