Hubi Hurkacz may have just lost at the French Open, but he won in wrist-wear…Zach Blass
Tennis superstars are often watch ambassadors, as the purported class of the sport is considered a good fit for the luxury image of many brands. Djokovic currently reps Hublot, Serena Williams sports Audemars Piguet, Nadal aligns with Richard Mille, while Federer and many others, represent Rolex. These are the usual suspects and all super credible brands. But it is always fun to root for the underdog. While Hubi Hurkacz, currently ranked as the world’s number 12 men’s player, may have lost in the fourth round of the French Open this week, at least his time at Roland Garros was done so in style with the Polish big hitter wearing a far less common Gerald Charles GC Sport during his matches.
For those not in the know, the Gerald Charles brand was launched by the legendary Gérald Genta in 2000 after the sale of the Gérald Genta brand to Bulgari the same year. For three years he grew the brand before selling it in 2003. For eight more years he remained with Gerald Charles as their designer-in-chief, until his passing in 2011. Over these years, however, he left behind a range of designs and all Gerald Charles watches that are manufactured today stem from these original designs and maintain his legacy. One such design that is the pillar of the modern Gerald Charles catalogue is the Maestro, a nickname of Genta’s by his peers, that stands out with its asymmetrical polygon case. While his octagonal porthole inspired designs have been emulated at nauseam by manufactures, the Maestro case form is unlike anything else on the market – a design you can only find Gerald Charles.
The Maestro 2.0, the second evolution of the design, was only manufactured in steel and precious metal until the Gerald Charles GC Sport arrived in the catalogue earlier this year. The GC Sport still aims to be elegant, but it was also developed closely with ATP tennis players to bring its elegance further into the sport-side of the spectrum – meeting the demands of players such as Hurckaz. Thus, it’s stepped form and baroque-inspired aesthetic is largely the same, but, with sport in mind, Gerald Charles introduced a grade 5 titanium take on the asymmetrical polygon. You would assume a sportier take would mean a brushed case, but it is still entirely mirror polished – the rounded edges of the stepped bezel a real sight to behold in the metal.
The screw-down crown was moved, at the request of the tennis players who field tested it, to the left-side of the case, in favour of the typical right-side, in order to prevent it from rubbing the wrist during play. Titanium is, of course, a highly robust material, and it maintains the 100m depth rating of previous models – an incredible feat considering the intricate and atypical shape of the sapphire crystal and its angled edges. Dimensions wise, it is wrist friendly at 39mm across excluding the crown and 41.7mm from top to bottom excluding the lugs. It is also very thin for a sports watch, clocking in at 8.7mm thick.
The new GC Sport also introduced large Arabic numerals at 12′, 3′, and 9′, against a rich royal blue sunburst backdrop. Like previous models, a calendar complication assumes the 6′ position, with a white on black disc. I would love to see Gerald Charles introduce dial-matching discs, but the white on black discs they use on their current black, green, and now blue dials are far more preferable than black on white. Each of the hours indices and numerals, as well as the central hours and minutes hands, are coated with SuperLuminova® further driving home the sport-utility nature of the piece.
Hurkacz brought his own personality into the aesthetic by pairing his watch with a factory-made red vulcanized rubber strap, but its standard factory configuration is a dial-matching royal blue vulcanized rubber strap – each of which utilize a case-matching grade 5 titanium buckle. The rubber strap has a sunken channel with a Clous de Paris motif that can also be found on the screw-down crown. Prior to the Maestro 2.0, the original Maestro was a tough proposition for some due to its Soprod calibre. Now, however, the Maestro 2.0 and GC Sport have the advantage of leveraging Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier developed calibres (the movement development arm of Parmigiani Fleurier and Hermes). The VMF-designed calibre GCA3002 offers 50 hours of power reserve, and has been developed with anti-shock properties in mind. Gerald Charles claims the calibre was refined by their watchmakers to be 40% more shock-resistant, and that the watch as a whole was extensively tested on the tennis court for months to ensure the final product would stack up against the stresses of match play.
Gerald Charles explains: “Through bespoke testing, a series of fine adjustments were also made to the movement’s architecture. By varying the tolerances in the screws, the watchmakers were able to make the movement more shock-resistant, without affecting its accuracy or long-term performance. This additional shock-resistance has been achieved without adding a shock absorber and while retaining the movement’s ultra thin, 3.7mm profile.”
While robust, it is also a very attractive calibre, with perlage and Côtes de Soleil among other forms of decoration. This, again, is emblematic of Gerald Charles’ mission to make the most elegant yet robust sports watch possible.
Gerald Charles GC Sport pricing and availability:
The Gerald Charles GC Sport is temporarily sold out, but they are accepting reservations from January 2023. Price: $18,400 USD (incl. VAT)
|Model||GC Sport (Maestro 2.0)|
|Case Material||Grade 5 titanium|
|Case Dimensions||39mm x 8.7mm|
|Water-Resistance||100m (screw-down crown)|
|Dial||Royal blue sunburst|
|Strap||Royal blue vulcanized rubber strap|
|Movement||GCA3002 Manufacture (developed by Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier S.A)|
|Power Reserve||50 hours|
|Complications||Hours, minutes, seconds, date|
|Availability||Taking reservations from January 2023|
|Price||$18,400 USD (incl. VAT)|