When Bulgari acquired Gerald Genta in 2000, the idea was that the high watchmaking brand would help lend credibility in the rarefied world of luxury timepieces. Over the ensuing decades, the eponymous Genta brand, which was founded in 1969 by the legendary designer responsible for the 1972 Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and the 1976 Patek Philippe Nautilus, shuffled in and out of the spotlight.
Last year, after a period of dormancy, Bulgari introduced the Gerald Genta 50th anniversary model, a bi-retrograde watch—riffing on one of Genta’s signature complications—in an Arena case, harking back to Genta’s original Arena watch, whose trademark chunky case was inspired by the grand arenas of ancient Rome. True to its high watchmaking heritage, the 2019 model featured a platinum bezel and case, a blue dial and a blue strap—and retailed for $61,000.
This week, at Geneva Watch Days, Bulgari introduced the next chapter in the continuing Gerald Genta saga, the Arena Bi-Retro Sport, in a 43 mm brushed titanium case featuring a distinctive wide, curved bezel.
The jumping hours are displayed through a window at 12 o’clock, while the minutes are displayed on an arc spanning the top half of the black anthracite dial. Every 60 minutes, the minute hand snaps back to zero. The same thing happens with the date, which is shown in a smaller arc at 6 o’clock. The model’s BVL 300 caliber has a bidirectional self-winding movement with 42 hours of power reserve. Encircled by a matte black alligator strap with a titanium ardillon buckle, the piece retails for $14,800.
The objective of last year’s limited edition was “to tell Genta lovers that we are back,” said Bulgari CEO Jean-Christophe Babin during a Zoom presentation on Wednesday. “Now we are at the second step of the relaunch, opening the door to newcomers and younger people because the look is more contemporary with brushed titanium and yellow indexes.”
Babin said the new Arena model “will be essentially sold via e-commerce.”
“The main vision is to have Gerald Genta totally independent from Bulgari, to have its own network,” he added.