Character watches are back in style! Although, as Audemars Piguet’s collaboration with Marvel shows, that’s not always a good thing. On the other hand, the latest from Bulgari shows that sometimes it is. I doubt I need to explain who the character in question is here; the rodent king of animation is quite possibly the most iconic 2D personage in history.
Yet what might surprise you about the tongue-in-cheek tribute to the House of Mouse is that it’s a re-issue of a design by none other than Gérald Genta.
Genta’s name has been bandied about a fair bit in recent years, what with the resurgence in all things sports luxe. The designer behind the Royal Oak, IWC Ingenieur, Patek Philippe Nautilus and Bulgari Octo is often imitated, rarely matched.
But multi-faceted cases weren’t all the aesthetic maestro designed and among his often-overlooked pieces are a number of character watches dubbed the Retro Fantasy. The charming Disney characters were equipped with retrograde hands to point out the time, and were among the most expensive character watches ever made.
It takes a very particular kind of collector to hunt them down, but those that do are seriously dedicated. And a little odd. Fortunately, they’ll need to do a lot less hunting now. Ever since Bulgari brought back the Gérald Genta brand, they’ve been reintroducing a few key archival designs – and now it’s the turn of the Retro Fantasy Mickey Mouse, dubbed the Gérald Genta Arena Retro Mickey Mouse Disney.
The retrograde minutes are back once again, with jumping hours indicated in a window at 5 o’clock. Mickey himself is back in full colour and the entire design has been simplified from the earlier Genta models. It’s charming as hell, and the 41mm stainless steel case and rounded crown of the Gérald Genta Arena are pitch-perfect reinterpretations of the original.
The mono-retrograde inside is equipped with a 42-hour power reserve, with the retrograde minutes indicated across a 210-degrees arch.
Finished on a red textured rubber strap, it’s hard not to love this watch. Sure, I’m not about to dive headfirst into hardcore character watch collection, but I’d be more than happy to get my hands on one of the 150 Gérald Genta Arena Retro Mickey Mouse Disney watches being produced.
And hey, if the ‘Disney’ in the name is anything to go by, here’s hoping we’ll see Goofy pop up, too.
Price & Specs:
Model: Bulgari Gérald Genta Arena Retro Mickey Mouse Disney
Case/Dial: 41mm diameter x 11.85mm thickness, polished stainless steel case, rhodium-plated sunburst dial with Mickey Mouse art
Water resistance: 100m (10 bar)
Movement: Calibre BVL 262, automatic, 34 jewels
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 42h
Functions: Jumping hour aperture at 5 o’clock, retrograde minutes hand on a 210-degree sector
Strap: Red textured padded rubber with stainless steel Gérald Genta folding clasp
Price/availability: €16,500 EUR, limited edition of 150 pieces
More details at Bulgari.