Having tested the market with a handful of Gerald Genta-branded limited editions, Bulgari has just revealed during Geneva Watch Days 2021 that the Genta name will be revived. And the inaugural model for that venture is the Gerald Genta Arena Retrograde Mickey Mouse, a Disney-themed watch that harks back to the 1990s Fantasy watches of Gerald Genta.
The commercial opportunity with the Gerald Genta name has been obvious for several years, given the enduring popularity of a narrow set of his designs, namely the 1970s sports watches like the Royal Oak and the later Fantasy watches with Disney characters, all of which sell for handsome sums on the secondary market.
While all the 1970s sports watch belong to the brands that Genta designed them for, Bulgari does have the Octo, which was created long after Genta himself left the brand. And now Bulgari has resurrected the Arena Retro Mickey Mouse.
Like the Octo, the Arena case was created after Genta departed the namesake company when Bulgari acquired it, but the new Mickey Mouse Retro successfully channels the spirit of the 1990s originals in style and complication.
And in terms of mechanics, it’s also more sophisticated than the originals, in that it is powered by a variant of the in-house Bulgari BVL 191 “Solotempo” calibre, instead of the ETA movements found in the originals.
The Mickey Mouse reissue, however, does come at a steepish price of about US$17,500. That’s slightly more than the most desirable original models go for, which is logical in today’s strong market for high-end watches.
Jumping for joy
The Arena Retro has a 42 mm steel case that’s entirely polished, with the fluted sides and crown guards that defined the Arena design.
Displayed on a radially-brushed silver dial with a leaping Mickey Mouse, the time indication is straightforward: a jumping hours in a window at four o’clock, with Mickey’s extended arm functioning as the retrograde minutes hand.
Bulgari hasn’t specified the calibre inside, but it’s almost certainly a variant of the BVL 300 found in the recent Gerald Genta Arena Bi-Retro limited edition. That’s essentially Bulgari’s workhorse in-house movement, the BVL 191, with the retrograde and jump-hours module on top.
Key facts and price
Bulgari Gerald Genta Arena Retrograde Mickey Mouse
Diameter: 41 mm
Material: Stainless steel
Water resistance: 100 m
Movement: In house
Functions: Jumping hours and retrograde minutes
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 42 hours
Strap: Red fabric with folding clasp
Limited edition: 150 pieces
Availability: Starting early 2022 at Bulgari online store and boutiques
Price: CHF16,000, €16,500 (equivalent to about US$17,500)
For more, visit Bulgari.com.
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