Watchmaking legend is given a contemporary twist by Gerald Charles, which has put a modern spin on watch design icon Gérald Genta’s distinctive case shape in the new Gerald Charles Maestro 8.0 Squelette.
Watch designer Octavio Garcia, who has spent time developing Genta’s designs earlier in his career, was a natural choice to reinterpret Genta’s design into a technical tour de force in its own right.
‘While working with Federico [Ziviani, founder of Gerald Charles], he gave me access to the archives,’ Garcia says on how the creative process began. ‘Mr Genta was an insatiable creative person, so going through all of his drawings was inspirational – and I also had the privilege of knowing Mr Genta in my past work. He has a way of looking at the skeleton that's quite particular, and I was able to understand that. So remembering those moments and translating them into this new project was also part of the development process.’
Gerald Charles Maestro 8.0 Squelette
Garcia drew hundreds of iterations by hand, as Genta would have done, before deciding on the final watch design inspired by the celestial sky chart. ‘The first drawings are based on some of the work from the original Gerald Charles pieces, where it's all very linear and mechanical,’ Garcia adds.
‘This was the starting point for further development. And after speaking with Federico, we felt that it was too static, that we were maybe too close to what was already there. So then I began to push slowly but surely into something more dynamic. So keeping the spirit of Genta, but pushing it a bit further, and then things started becoming a bit more star-like.’
A complex skeleton movement containing 160 parts cuts an ultra-thin silhouette, measuring in at just 2.6mm. ‘We set Octavio quite a challenge in asking him to design the Maestro 8.0 Squelette,’ says Ziviani. ‘Not only did he have to retain the distinct character of Gerald Charles, he had to keep the watch slim and elegant and ensure it remained supremely functional while creating a true piece of sculpture from the movement. He rose to the challenge beautifully and, in doing so, has laid the foundations both for a range of further models and for the future of the brand as a whole.’
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Hannah Silver is the Art, Culture, Watches & Jewellery Editor of Wallpaper*. Since joining in 2019, she has overseen offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, and written extensively across the worlds of culture and luxury. She enjoys meeting artists and designers, viewing exhibitions and conducting interviews on her frequent travels.
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