Explore sparkling eccentricity with the Gerald Charles Maestro 2.0 Ultra-Thin Gem-Set Explore sparkling eccentricity with the Gerald Charles Maestro 2.0 Ultra-Thin Gem-Set

Explore sparkling eccentricity with the Gerald Charles Maestro 2.0 Ultra-Thin Gem-Set

Buffy Acacia

There are plenty of names to know in the watch world, but Gérald Genta is one of the first ones to get burnt into your brain. Having designed some of the most popular watches of the last half-century and inspiring hundreds more, his eponymous brands don’t quite get the recognition you’d expect. Gerald Charles was his second go around, after Bulgari acquired the Gérald Genta brand, remaining designer-in-chief until his passing in 2011. The brand’s primary focus has been the Maestro model which was inspired by the baroque architecture of Francesco Borromini. During Watches & Wonders 2024, Gerald Charles released a new collection of the Maestro 2.0 Ultra-Thin with gem-set bezels.

The case

Gerald Charles Maestro 2 0 Ultra Thin Gem Set Wrist Black 1

Many of Genta’s famous designs share certain traits. Geometric bezels and marine iconography come to mind, but the Gerald Charles Maestro is actually quite departed from the ‘Genta look’ as we’ve come to know it. Francesco Borromini was an eccentric character and architect in 17th century Rome, whose inventive designs garnered just as much criticism as they did praise back in his time. In the modern era, his work is much more universally appreciated. Does that sound familiar? Well, perhaps this spiritual kinship was the reason why Gérald Genta used his architecture as inspiration for the Maestro. The lower edge of the case which is dubbed “the smile” takes after the concave façade of the San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane – truly unlike anything from the renaissance or antiquity periods which Borromini succeeded.

Gerald Charles Maestro 2 0 Ultra Thin Gem Set Wrist Green 1

Although the new Gem-Set watches span three collections, all of the Gerald Charles Maestro watches are fairly homogeneous in their sizing. The case measures 39mm in width and 41.7mm in height, although its shape does tend to make it wear a bit larger. The lug-to-lug length is 46.9mm, with a sharp descent in their angle to help it wear better on small to average wrists. Still, the profile is quite flat, and as such it’s a watch which sits proudly on the wrist. Thankfully they’re thin enough to pull look that off, with the new 2.0 Ultra-Thin models at 8.7mm tall. Within the bezel, round prong settings are used for the stones. They use diamonds with the black dial and tsavorites with the green dial, which are a green variant of garnet.

The dial

Gerald Charles Maestro 2 0 Ultra Thin Gem Set Dials

Despite the glamour of the precious gems and the slightly ostentatious case design, the dial of the Maestro 2.0 Ultra-Thin actually manages to rein it back to a point of sophistication and subtlety. That’s true for the finely-brushed sunburst black dial at least, while the green dial shows off a blazing fury of bright spearmint and deep emerald. The layout of the baton and dot indices helps to echo the symmetry of the case design, as does the date window which is placed at 6 o’clock with a black background. The double-lined minute track adds a bit more structure too, easing the transition between the chapter ring and the dial.

The movement

Gerald Charles Maestro 2 0 Ultra Thin Gem Set Movement

Gérald Genta may have been a prolific watch designer, but he was not exactly a watchmaker, usually working with well-known names like Pierre-Michel Golay. The Gerald Charles brand collaborates with Vaucher to produce their movements, and the Maestro 2.0 Ultra-Thin uses the VMF 3002 with a customised rotor. It has a 50-hour power reserve, 4Hz beat rate, twin mainspring barrels, and a free-sprung balance. You can see the full-sized winding rotor made from 22k gold and the rest of the movement through the sapphire display caseback, with pleasant decoration.

The strap

Gerald Charles Maestro 2 0 Ultra Thin Gem Set Strap

Each of these new references comes with a vulcanised rubber strap with a matching colour, being black or green. The upper surface is textured with a large hobnail pattern, while the underside is embedded with Gerald Charles logos. The rubber strap does seem like a strange choice for such a refined set of watches, but it is one of the brand’s signature styles. It also reminds you of the watch’s 100-metre water resistance with a screw-down crown, so you can easily take it swimming if you want to.

The verdict

Gerald Charles Maestro 2 0 Ultra Thin Gem Set 1

Gerald Charles is a bit of a challenging brand. As much as the Maestro is a funky and engaging platform for variation, there are still hundreds of Genta’s designs which have been kept hidden. No brand can truly survive by only making one watch, and releasing new references with gem-set bezels isn’t quite going to cut it. To keep up interest, the brand needed to branch out, and they’ve started to do that with the new Masterlink collection. That said, on its own merit, the Maestro 2.0 Ultra-Thin does fill a niche that it’s set out to fill. Its sporty capabilities are a welcome surprise, and I love the idea of wearing a watch like this in a pool, if only to upset the people who are overly precious with their sports watches.

Gerald Charles Maestro 2.0 Ultra-Thin Gem-Set models pricing and availability

The Gerald Charles Maestro 2.0 Ultra-Thin Gem-Set is now available. Price: US$21,100

Brand Gerald Charles
Model Maestro 2.0 Ultra-Thin Gem-Set
Reference Number GC2.0-A-DIA-00
Case Dimensions 39mm (D) x 9mm (T) x 46.9mm (LTL)
Case Material Stainless steel
Water Resistance 100 metres
Dial Matte black or sunburst green
Crystal(s) Sapphire front and back with anti-reflective coating
Strap Vulcanised rubber with hobnail pattern, pin buckle
Movement Vaucher 3002, automatic
Power Reserve 50 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Availability Now
Price US$21,100