ounded by Mr. Gérald Genta the Maison is now revived under the supervision of esteemed Master Watchmakers Michel Navas and Enrico Barbasini from la Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton who were both part of the very team that helped the Maestro Gérald Genta with his most creative pursuits in the 1980s.
Michel Navas cites the 3 pillars of the Gérald Genta brand as “the octagonal shape, the chiming sound and high watchmaking complications”. All of these key elements are of course part of the very new gérald genta watches, exhibited for the first time during LVMH Watch Week.
The first timepieces since the revival of the brand follow the uncompromising approach that Gérald Genta imposed for his brand from its first days in 1969: high watchmaking complications reinterpreted into whimsical horological creations.
Indeed, Gérald Genta was not a classical watchmaker. He was an artist before anything else – not to diminish his achievements as a product designer. He was an artist who defied the staid classicism within Swiss watchmaking.
His watches, often made in precious or avant-garde materials, dared to combine lapis lazuli, tiger eye, onyx or mother-of-pearl, with high complications that no one at the time was bold enough to even consider working on.
Unsurprisingly, Mr. Genta created a topsy-turvy mix of pieces uniques, as well as small numbered series of retrogrades, grandes sonneries, and perpetual calendars. The label was avant-garde both technically and stylistically because Gérald Genta had free reign to create on his own terms. This very same freedom and creativity sparkle the new creations of the Maison.
Gérald Genta didn’t pay attention to what others were doing – his inspiration and execution was an insular process. He found his greatest stimuli in nature, in furniture design and in art. He cited Picasso as his greatest inspiration for his continuously renewed creativity and his multi-dimensional artistic mastery. And Gérald Genta’s interests served as inspirations for his brand as a whole.
Furthermore, the brand became an agent of change when Mr. Genta presented his Disney character watches at the Montres et Bijoux fair in 1984. As with his designs and complications, Gérald Genta was pioneering the intersection of watches and pop culture, bringing a child-like happiness to an otherwise very serious field. While the conservative watch industry initially chose to dismiss this novel approach Genta’s customers enthusiastically put cartoon characters on their wrist and asked for more.
40 years later the collaboration with Disney remains a cornerstone of the Maison, now combining those playful designs and iconic characters with Gérald Genta’s favourite complication, the minute repeater. Those collaboration live in the octagonal case shape that Mr. Genta favoured above else for its balance and visual impact. Obviously, the current 40mm size keeps a reduced thickness below 12mm to achieve the elegance on the wrist that Gérald Genta always championed.
The movements in gérald genta watches were always highly sophisticated; Gérald Genta dared to challenge what was deemed technically impossible. And it needed to always allow for an elegant watch on the wrist, hence the focus on this caliber regardless of the complications that it offered. The very same quest for excellence is the driving force of the current in-house caliber development of the Maison, culminating in the gérald genta caliber GG-001.
The brand revealed its first movement upon its revival: a minute repeater jumping hour and retrograde minute manual wound caliber developed and assembled by the artisans at La Fabrique du Temps. This new caliber powers the Maison new watches, with many cues to its groundbreaking past and exciting future.
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 fundamental watchmaking feat.
Michel Navas and Enrico Barbasini’s solution therefore draws from their wealth of experience in complications, garnered over years working with Mr. Genta. They crafted a system that ensures perfect synchronicity between the time shown and the time struck.
High design and High watchmaking, a golden thread remains for gérald genta.
gérald genta Minute Repeater Jumping Hours
Minute Retrograde - Only Watch 2023 Edition. © Disney New Caliber GG-001 - Primary Technical Specifications
- Manufacture Caliber, developed and assembled by La Fabrique du Temps under the supervision of Michel Navas and Enrico Barbasini
- Minute repeater • Jumping hour
- Minute retrograde • 80-hour power reserve • Frequency: 3Hz • Diameter: 32.4mm • Thickness: 6.91mm