his beloved character has played a central role in the Gérald Genta brand since the 1980s. Mr Genta, the “Picasso of watchmaking” who gave his name to the watch brand, was bold enough to combine cartoon characters with high-complication watchmaking from 1984 onwards. This was a radical new direction in watchmaking – whimsical and daring, while undeniably keeping with an ongoing quest for excellence.
Now, under the lead of Michel Navas and Enrico Barbasini and on the initiative of La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton, the Gérald Genta team is celebrating Disney’s 100th anniversary as well as the 50th anniversary of the Maestro’s first watch under his own name in 1973, with a joyful Mickey Mouse in the iconic Gérald Genta octagonal case.
This one-off piece was specially crafted for the Only Watch 2023 charity sale, which raises funds for research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy. It will be auctioned in Geneva on November, 5th 2023.
For this first participation in the Only Watch project, the Gérald Genta team designed a distinctive combination: Mickey Mouse and a minute repeater.
Mickey’s swivelling arm, pointing to the retrograde minutes along an arch marked 0 to 60, and the minute repeater complication chiming the precise hour are both key ingredients in the Gérald Genta brand’s DNA.
Though occasionally sketched by the Maestro himself, this masterpiece is the first Gérald Genta watch combining these two elements.
The design is very meaningful for Michel Navas and Enrico Barbasini, who spent many years working with famed Master Watchmaker Pierre-Michel Golay to bring Mr Gérald Genta’s groundbreaking, creative designs to life.
Aside from the enchanting animation driven by several watch complications, this defining timepiece features a white gold octagonal case – a hallmark design cherished by Gérald Genta for its very legible symmetry and spiritual significance. The champlevé enamel dial showcases a smiling enamelled Mickey Mouse holding a birthday cake aloft with one hand — a reference to both the Disney’s 100th anniversary and the 10th edition of Only Watch.
The combination of a minute repeater with jumping hours is, quite understandably, rarely seen in watchmaking. Developing two separate time calculation systems (one for the striking mechanism and one for the jumping hours) in a way that is completely synchronised, reliable and energy-efficient is a real watchmaking feat.
Michel and Enrico’s solution therefore draws from their wealth of experience in complications, garnered over years working with the Maestro. They crafted a system that assures perfect synchronicity between the time shown and the time struck.
They also endowed Mickey Mouse’s arm (which shows the retrograde minute) with a continuous shock-absorber as it returns to 0, resulting in smooth, appealing movement. The dial — enamelled in-house by Nicolas Doublel — and the fine-tuned gongs are living proof of La Fabrique du Temps’ one-of-a-kind, specialised expertise. The steel gongs were specifically soldered so as not to interfere with the transmission of the minute repeater’s sound. The same guiding principle was followed for the octagonal watch case’s design, water-resistant to 50 metres.
In a nod to the Maestro himself, Michel and Enrico designed an eight-sided, rather than round, flywheel bridge (striking speed governor).
Created in 2005 by Luc Pettavino under the patronage of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, this is the 10th time Only Watch is bringing together the entire watch industry around a charitable cause: to raise funds for research on Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Only Watch has been organising this biennial auction for over 18 years, raising almost CHF 100 million to date. All proceeds are donated to the Association Monégasque contre les Myopathies.
• GG-001 Manufacture Calibre, developed and assembled by La Fabrique du Temps under the supervision of Michel Navas and Enrico Barbasini
• Two-hammer minute repeater complication
• Jumping hours complication with aperture display at 3 o’clock
• Retrograde minute complication indicated by Mickey Mouse’s right arm
• Octagonal white gold case with alternating polished and satin-brushed surfaces
• Case 3-9 o’clock and 6-12 o’clock dimensions: 40mm
• Case thickness: 10.96mm
• Hand-wound through a crown at 3 o’clock, adorned with a ruby cabochon
• White gold minute repeater push button at 9 o’clock
• Champlevé enamel dial entirely made by Nicolas Doublel at La Fabrique du Temps
• Water-resistance: 50m
• 80-hour power reserve
• Frequency: 3Hz
• Strap: red rubber
• Buckle: tang type, white gold