Back in April of this year, I had the opportunity to meet with Gerald Charles in Geneva and see the brand’s watches. While I was fairly impressed by all of the Gerald Charles’ models, my hands-down favorite was easily the Maestro 8.0 Squelette, which takes the brand’s signature asymmetric case shape and fits it with a striking micro-rotor skeleton movement. With that in mind, my second favorite Gerald Charles model was the brand’s GS Sport range, which is a lightweight titanium version of its classic time-and-date watch that is worn by ATP professional tennis players and features a 5G shock-resistance rating with a left-handed winding crown. Now, as its latest new release of 2023, Gerald Charles has essentially combined my two favorite models from its current lineup, and the new Gerald Charles Maestro 8.0 GC Sport Squelette is the destro version of the brand’s original skeleton watch that turns things up a notch with a lightweight titanium case and the same shock-resistance as the standard GC Sport series.
The case of the new Gerald Charles Maestro 8.0 GC Sport Squelette (ref. GC8.0-TX-TN-01) offers the same unusual silhouette that unites all of the brand’s models, which was originally designed by Gerald Genta in 2006 and inspired by the works of the famous Roman Baroque architect, Francesco Borromini. In terms of its core design, the multi-component asymmetric case is very similar to what can be found on the original Maestro 8.0 Squelette I previously reviewed, although rather than having its crown position on the right-hand of its case, it is now on the left side so that it won’t dig into the back of its wearer’s hand during tennis matches or other active-use scenarios. Since the top and bottom sides of the case offer different profiles, the movement itself had to be rotated inside the asymmetric case and the winding crown relocated to the 9 o’clock position, rather than just rotating the entire watch 180 degrees.
Like the inaugural Maestro 8.0 Squelette model, the case of the new Gerald Charles Maestro 8.0 GC Sport Squelette measures 39mm in diameter by just 8.35mm thick, which makes it the thinnest timepiece in the brand’s core collection. However, rather than being crafted from polished stainless steel, the case is now made from sandblasted grade 5 titanium, which brings its weight down to just 40 grams (or a total of 59.5 grams if you include its rubber strap). Additionally, the specific type of sandblasting used by Gerald Charles is different from the standard variety and has been specifically selected because it creates a darker overall appearance. Similar to its right-handed stainless steel sibling, flat anti-reflective sapphire crystals are fitted to both the dial side of the Maestro 8.0 GC Sport Squelette and its screw-on caseback, and the signed crown at 9 o’clock screws down to the middle case in order to help ensure a fairly respectable 100 meters of water resistance.
Since the movement has been rotated within the case of the new Gerald Charles Maestro 8.0 GC Sport Squelette, the various components now appear in different locations through the entirely open-worked surface of the dial. For example, rather than having the micro-rotor and mainspring barrel positioned on the upper half of the dial, these components now appear on the lower half, with the balance wheel and escapement taking their place above the pair of centrally-mounted hands. The two hands offer the same baton-style shape as the stainless steel Maestro 8.0 Squelette, and they are finished dark blue to match the dial screws (which take the place of hour markers), the minute track, and the “Gerald Charles” name, which is located off-center at the very top of the display.
Internally, the new Gerald Charles Maestro 8.0 GC Sport Squelette is powered by the same Caliber GCA 5482 automatic movement that can be found inside its stainless steel right-handed sibling, although the plates and bridges showcase a different finish to offer a stronger contrast against the darker hue of its sandblasted titanium case. Running at a frequency of 21,600vph (3 Hz) with a power reserve of approximately 50 hours, the Gerald Charles Cal. GCA 5482 is produced by Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier and it consists of 160 individual components, 29 jewels, and it features a free-sprung balance with gold inertia adjustment blocks. While the movement inside the new Maestro 8.0 GC Sport Squelette includes the same 22k rose gold micro-rotor and offers the same specs as the movement inside the right-handed stainless steel model, the plates and bridges are finished so that they offer the opposite aesthetic contrast against the surrounding case. While the right-handed Maestro 8.0 Squelette has dark anthracite NAC-treated components set inside a polished stainless steel case, the new GC Sport Squelette has bright rhodium-plated internals that are framed by matte dark gray titanium.
To complement the dark blue accents on its dial, hands, and movement screws, the new Gerald Charles Maestro 8.0 GC Sport Squelette ref. GC8.0-TX-TN-01 is paired with a royal blue two-piece strap made from vulcanized rubber that offers the same style as what can be found across the rest of the brand’s contemporary collection. Featuring a textured Clous de Paris finish on the top and the Gerald Charles logo motif on the underside surface, the brand’s signature rubber strap is an especially appropriate option for a sports watch such as the GC Sport Squelette, and this particular version is completed by a grade 5 titanium pin buckle that is signed with the brand’s logo and receives the same dark gray sandblasted finish to match the case. With standard 22mm lugs, a variety of other straps will also be compatible, and given how small the dark blue accents are on the actual watch itself, the new Gerald Charles Maestro 8.0 GC Sport Squelette should be able to easily pair with a variety of different strap colors.
Despite being most closely related to the stainless steel Maestro 8.0 Squelette that has its winding crown located on the right-hand side of its case, the new Gerald Charles Maestro 8.0 GC Sport Squelette ref. GC8.0-TX-TN-01 also shares DNA with the brand’s GC Sport series, and in addition to offering a destro crown setup and a light-weight titanium case, the new Maestro 8.0 GC Sport Squelette also offers the same 5G shock resistance rating as the existing time-and-date models. Similar to the other watches from the GC Sport series, Gerald Charles worked with a number of professional ATP tennis players to ensure that the new Maestro 8.0 GC Sport Squelette could stand up to the same type of high-intensity and active use, and with decent water and shock resistance, plus a moisture-friendly rubber strap and a non-reflective case, this latest addition to the catalog should be more than capable of being worn during actual sports watch, despite not necessarily offering the most at-a-glance legibility.
When it comes to pricing, the stainless steel Maestro 8.0 Squelette is already one of the more premium models within the brand’s catalog, and given that this new watch is essentially the sports version with a titanium case, it is naturally a bit more expensive. However, while some brands charge significantly more for their titanium offerings, the actual price premium attached to the new Gerald Charles Maestro 8.0 GC Sport Squelette ref. GC8.0-TX-TN-01 seems incredibly reasonable, and the new watch is accompanied by an official retail price of $65,300 USD, which works out to only $1,500 above what the brand charges for the original stainless steel Maestro 8.0 Squelette that has its crown on the right-hand side of the case. Speaking in terms of pure aesthetics, I probably still prefer the original stainless steel model, although I absolutely love the concept of a sports-oriented version, and it will be a ton of fun to see these start to pop up on the wrist of ATP professional tennis players during matches. For more information on the Gerald Charles Maestro 8.0 GC Sport Squelette, please visit the brand’s website.