Maison Gerald Charles is proud to introduce the Maestro 9.0 Tourbillon, Ref. GC9.0-A-01, one of the most technically and aesthetically advanced pieces ever conceived by the family-owned Maison. The timepiece returns to the story of an original Maestro flying tourbillon created in 2005 by Gerald Charles’s founder, the great Monsieur Gérald Charles Genta.
The new model was designed in collaboration with the Maison’s creative director Octavio Garcia, and is powered by the GCA 3024/12 automatic flying tourbillon calibre, a bespoke manufacture movement produced by Gerald Charles’s long-time partner Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier, the Swiss specialist high-end movement creator.
The case: a natural shape for a tourbillon The watch’s form follows that of the now familiar Maestro, immediately recognisable by its playful asymmetrical case with its rippled bezel and “smile” at 6 o’clock. This time, the case is cast in 42mm of medical-grade stainless steel and has a royal blue sunburst dial, a signature Gerald Charles colour. “The smile is such an inviting space to explore and creates a natural playground for a tourbillon,” said Octavio Garcia. “But it also contributes to a paradox: the Maestro’s form and volume make sense to the human eye. And yet when you come to hand-draw it, you realise it has one of the most complex case shapes in watchmaking.
There are no straight lines. Even the indexes pose a challenge because they have to follow the case silhouette and underscore the Maestro design. The challenge as a designer is to find a balance between character and usability.” In keeping with the Gerald Charles watch creation philosophy, the Maestro 9.0 Tourbillon is both highly technical and designed to be wearable in everyday situations. This is a watch that conforms to the values of Swiss haute horlogerie and Fleurier Quality standards.
Gerald Charles SA, All Rights Reserved www.geraldcharles.com The flying tourbillon: a technical and artistic tour de force At the watch’s heart is its 60-seconds flying tourbillon, a traditional fine watchmaking device perfected in the early 19th century to offset the effects of gravity on the accuracy of a pocket watch. For the Maestro 9.0 Tourbillon, Octavio Garcia worked with Gerald Charles’ technical teams and Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier to engineer a unique tourbillon cage in the shape of the Maison’s GC logo.
This posed a technical challenge: how to deliver a tourbillon cage in the shape of the swooping GC logo without placing too much pressure on the watch’s power reserve. The solution was to machine the cage from lightweight Grade 5 titanium. But even then, this presented a fresh technical challenge of its own. Titanium is notoriously difficult to manipulate when the tolerances are so fine. Nevertheless, in pursuit of Monsieur Genta’s vision of artistic creativity and technical mastery, the Maison’s creative and technical teams persisted, determining that the lightness, warm grey tones and resistance of titanium would deliver aesthetic and performance benefits that more than merited the time and energy required to take on the challenge.
Working with Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier, Octavio Garcia and Gerald Charles’s engineers achieved their goal by skeletonising the flying tourbillon cage and repositioning the screws that hold its striking 18-karat yellow gold bridge to the back side. The result is a highly sophisticated 60-seconds flying tourbillon that oscillates at 4hz, made all the more vivid by the natural, three-dimensional contrasts created by combining a surgical-grade stainless steel case, a gold tourbillon bridge and a titanium flying tourbillon cage. It also features a blue indicator applied to the “G” of the cage that serves as a small seconds indicator.
A stop-seconds function delivers precise time setting. “The tourbillon was always going to be the focal point of this watch, and so from the outset we applied ourselves to the design of the tourbillon cage. How could we create something that captured the mature narrative of Gerald Charles, the spirit of the Maison’s founder and the design language of a contemporary technical sports watch? It was a long process and we worked through countless iterations before we settled on a design based on the GC logo. The result is intensely graphic, as much sculpture as a mechanical watch.” Octavio Garcia, Gerald Charles Creative Director.