Bulgari are taking the Mickey, with the return of this Gerald Genta classic Bulgari are taking the Mickey, with the return of this Gerald Genta classic

Bulgari are taking the Mickey, with the return of this Gerald Genta classic

Andrew McUtchen

You may be aware that Gérald Genta sold his company to Bulgari in 2000. But relatively little has been made of the hook-up since then. However, there was always one particular option in the Genta catalogue whose cycle back into fashion has been slowly, but steadily happening as each month passes. With an ever-increasing number of Peanuts, and generally cartoon inspired watches hitting the market – celebrated by Hodinkee recently with a whole week of cartoon-watch themed content – there was a giant hiding in the Genta catalogue, and his time is now. Mickey, you are indeed so fine, and it’s good to see you.

The Gérald Genta Arena Retro Mickey Mouse Disney

First, the business move. Intriguingly, Bulgari has announced that Gérald Genta will now be its own sub-brand under the watchmaker’s umbrella. There have been tentative steps of this nature in previous years, but none with as clear declaration of intent as now. In 2019, the limited edition Genta 50th Anniversary Bi-Retro in platinum was released, a watch that had no Bulgari branding and was released with the Gérald Genta logo. Now things look to be stepping up.

The new limited edition Gerald Genta Arena Retro Mickey Mouse Disney combines haute horology with light-hearted fun. In the 1990s, Genta began using a retrograde mechanism in a series of characters watches called the Retro Fantasy series featuring the likes of Donald Duck and Minnie Mouse. That playful spirit has been revived here in a piece that offers serious watchmaking beneath its cartoonish exterior.

Head-on, the 41mm stainless steel case looks fairly simple with straight lugs and a broad, polished bezel. But it’s deceptively complex with the meaty case sides offering a central caseband with a corrugated texture and sweeping case guards protecting the knurled crown at 3 o’clock.

The stage is then set for the real action with a mono-retrograde complication that powers a jumping hour window set in stark white at 4 o’clock. A beaming Mickey Mouse is found boogieing away at the centre of the dial and pointing his finger as a minutes hand. It’s a dial that even the most curmudgeonly watch buyer would find hard to resist.

Available in January in a limited edition of 150 pieces, €16,500.