You really can’t be a lifestyle luxury watch brand without having a chronograph in your collection, and that’s the purpose of this pretty-looking Gerald Charles Maestro 3.0. Ironically, the primary allure of this watch style typically has nothing to do with the utility of a chronograph with its sporty stopwatch complication. More accurately, having a chronograph-style watch appears to be an essential product strategy for any brand that wants to meet modern consumer expectations. In other words, there is something fashionably appealing about wearing a watch with various subdials. The good news is that most people who actually want to use the chronograph complication on these watches can — outside of rare models like the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak ALYX collaboration watches, which feature chronographs that have no markers. The Gerald Charles Maestro 3.0 is the name of its current chronograph watch family, and in addition to most certainly being a luxury lifestyle product, it has a 12-hour chronograph you can certainly make use of.
I’ll say that the one downside to many chronographs, including the Maestro 3.0 from Gerald Charles, is their tendency to be thick. Gerald Charles mostly produces non-chronograph watches with its Gerald Genta-designed Maestro case, those being over 2mm thinner than this Maestro 3.0. I measured the Maestro 3.0 to be about 11mm thick, which isn’t really that bad overall, but it won’t wear as thinly as perhaps Mr. Genta intended. The thicker size of the case is due to the movement, which has a chronograph module on top of the base Vaucher Swiss Made automatic movement. Realistically speaking, you just need to be OK with the size and weight of a chronograph watch if you want the style of it. Otherwise, a three-hand timepiece will probably suit you better. Despite the hefty polished steel case, the Maestro 3.0 wears comfortably if worn snugly on the high-quality thick rubber strap that comes with it. I really admire the style enhancement to the overall composition of the timepiece that is provided as a function of the Clous du Paris pyramid shape texture on the strap.
The main attraction of the Gerald Charles brand is the core case design originally created by Gerald Genta. When reviewing the Gerald Charles Maestro 8.0 Squelette watch on aBlogtoWatch, I discussed the brand’s origin, the relationship with the late Mr. Genta, and the case shape and design. The case is meant to playfully and artistically combine a number of classic geometric shapes that are popular in watch cases. Genta was not only going for balanced asymmetry but also a design that captured the attention and curiosity of onlookers. I happen to think he did a great job at that, but by design, the Gerald Charles concept and Maestro watch is a niche product, intended for veteran collectors who intellectually understand (and ideally appreciate) the context behind the brand and its visual presentation.
The Gerald Charles Maestro 3.0 Chronograph watch debuted in 18k gold but later was released in a few color variations with a steel case at a price that is about $20,000 less expensive than the equivalent gold model. This reference GC3.0-A-02 is the green “Emerald” model, but Gerald Charles also currently produces a black or blue-accented version of the Maestro 3.0 Chronograph. Green is a particularly trendy color for luxury watches right now, and it has been fun to wear the Maestro 3.0 Chronograph in a variety of settings where green is appreciated. I also decided to test this watch in warmer, semi-tropical places such as southern Florida. My goal was not only to see how the watch performed from a style perspective but also to see if the rubber strap made it comfortable in hot, humid environments. Overall, I think the Maestro case with the rubber strap is a comfortable winner, even for warm weather. That said, the most comfortable versions of the watch for “sportier” wearing situations are going to be the slightly lighter-weight (the Chronograph in steel weighs 110 grams) three-hand models.
What the chronograph boasts over more practical watches is the visual enjoyment of the busier, more “instrumental” dial. There are chronographs designed for serious instrument watch enthusiasts, and then there are chronographs like the Maestro 3.0 Chronograph that are really about adding this popular complication to the brand’s luxury timepiece platform so that Gerald Charles can have a competitive product in a busy marketplace. That tends to mean that the Maestro 3.0 Chronograph is satisfying, but it doesn’t seem to have a personality unto itself aside from being “the chronograph version of this interesting watch case design.” Again, nothing wrong with that, as I don’t imagine Gerald Charles will have too much trouble moving these otherwise very attractive chronograph-based versions of the Maestro case platform.
Going back to size, the Maestro 3.0 Chronograph case is 39mm wide, about 11mm thick, and is 41.7mm long (lug-to-lug distance). The interesting curves and shapes on the case help hide the thickness and make for a beautifully architected object on the wrist (provided the design matches your taste). There is a flat AR-coated sapphire crystal over the dial, and the case with a screw-down crown is water-resistant to 100 meters. Visible through the rear of the case, the movement inside of the Maestro 3.0 Chronograph is the caliber GCA 3022/12 automatic movement. It is entirely produced by Swiss Vaucher (as is the rest of the watch, to my understanding) and incorporates a 12-hour chronograph module on top of a base 4Hz automatic movement with 50 hours of power reserve. The movement is very attractively decorated and uses a gold automatic rotor.
The dial design is simple yet effective. The chronograph subdials don’t feel too squeezed into the dial, even if they are smaller in size given the restricted shape of the dial. All the hands and major makers are painted with Super-LumiNova, and you can see how the overall dial and case are an interesting blend of traditional sporty elements with luxury lifestyle finishes, textures, and themes. The best compliment you can give the Gerald Charles Maestro cases is that they feel original and provocative but are also elegant and refined. This is a hard design feat to achieve these days, and with a cool shape like the Gerald Genta-created Maestro, you can see how the Gerald Charles brand has many years of potential for playing around with this core concept.
A fun watch with a lot of mainstream luxury appeal, the Gerald Charles Maestro 3.0 Chronograph in green is a high-end product in terms of pricing and availability. That exclusivity will nevertheless only help the brand to grow over the next few years when it must assert its pedigree and personality to audiences. Price for the reference GC3.0-A-02 Gerald Charles Maestro 3.0 Chronograph watch is $24,000 USD. Learn more at the Gerald Charles website.