GERALD CHARLES Masterlink blue

The Promise of an Icon of Our Time

At Watches & Wonders 2024, Gerald Charles is set to unveil Masterlink,
the latest evolution of the iconic Maestro case designed by Monsieur Genta himself, 
featuring the Maison’s first asymmetrical integrated bracelet.

Slimmer than the Maestro, versatile and instantly recognizable,
Masterlink cultivates a refined elegance that effortlessly bridges sleek sophistication and sporty appeal. Here, Gerald Charles presents a skillful and brilliant evolution, building on the archives of Mr. Gérald Charles Genta,
the most celebrated watch designer of the 20th century and the company’s founder.

Crafted from steel, the watch honors Monsieur Genta’s pioneering view
of this material as precious.

The year 2024 marks the beginning of a legacy that is more vibrant and alive today than ever, poised to pen the next chapters of its history.


GERALD CHARLES Masterlink blue

GERALD CHARLES Masterlink blue

Geneva, 8 April 2024 – They met in the past, and they speak every day. They have never designed together, yet their works resonate with each other. Between Monsieur Gérald Charles Genta (1931 – 2011) and Octavio Garcia, the brand’s Creative Director today, there exists an invisible chemistry that transcends time and weaves through destinies. A narrative arc emerges between the two men, with the Gérald Charles Maison as its wellspring and Masterlink as its culmination.

The name Masterlink clearly indicates the Maison’s intent to maintain a strong connection with the founder’s creative vision; reinforcing this aim by adding links to the original design. The challenge lay in creating an integrated bracelet that preserves the Maestro’s emblematic asymmetrical case – highlighting the ‘smile’ at 6 o’clock – and to achieve a harmonious design that offers perfect comfort on the wrist.

The R&D team at Gerald Charles developed a bracelet that seamlessly follows the shape of the Maestro case. Each side is distinct, adding several layers of complexity and artisanship in the handcrafted link manufacturing process. The bracelet had to be built around the case, each link delicately conforming to the shape of the Maestro case.




“The Masterlink represents the next step in the brand’s evolution, propelling it both rapidly and organically into the future, like a high-speed train of tomorrow,” highlights Federico Ziviani, CEO of Gérald Charles. “The piece unveiled today has undergone an ‘unorthodox’ development,” adds Octavio Garcia, Director of the Creative Team. “The initial sketches date back to 2020, and the prototype was completed in 2024. Between then and now, the DNA has remained intact, with a technique that has evolved to overcome all the technical challenges an asymmetrical watch can present, all while maintaining its simple and easy appearance.

In my mind, I had sketched the first Gerald Charles watch with an integrated bracelet. The inspiration came from the Gerald Charles archives, which comprise the last 11 years of sketches and drawings by Monsieur Genta. But the complexity is in the detail… It took us nearly four years to get from idea to creation, and to achieve our goal: for the Masterlink to be the worthy heir to Mr. Gérald Charles Genta’s creative vision.”

The key lay in drawing inspiration from the seminal collection, the Maestro, named in tribute to the founder of Gerald Charles himself. The aim was to craft a watch that would be not only slimmer and more elegant but also distinctively sleek. In a word: more contemporary, as the ‘maestro’ himself might have envisioned it today. Thus, the Masterlink adopts the codes of its elder kin and projects them into the future, without merely replicating them verbatim.

The pillars of the Masterlink identity

The Masterlink carves out its own identity on three essential pillars. First, through its decorative case. The ‘Maestro’ spirit naturally asserts itself here, too, particularly through the ‘smile’ at 6 o’clock. At the same time, it is fundamentally different: While the Maestro is designed around a rectangle, the Masterlink is based on a square. Consequently, the proportions are therefore tighter, more contained.
Second, the bracelet. The Masterlink marks the first Gérald Charles watch with an integrated bracelet – which revealed itself as a significant challenge. The design originated from a simple concept, but its execution proved unexpectedly difficult: “Our aim was to let simplicity conceal complexity,” explains Federico Ziviani. “Showcasing a watch’s complexity isn’t too challenging. You could simply leave the screws visible, or opt for a basic folding clasp, for instance. However, designing a watch where you can feel everything, yet see nothing, now that’s truly a highwire act.”
The Masterlink by GERALD CHARLES

The Masterlink by GERALD CHARLES

This is the creative through-line of the bracelet. At 6 o’clock, the central links initially follow the curve of the case’s ‘smile’, then gradually straighten out, while at 12 o’clock they extend the case and bezel’s straight topline. “We have created, as only few others have, a truly asymmetrical bracelet in haute horlogerie,” smiles Federico Ziviani. “The clasp is invisible, seamlessly integrated into the bracelet’s final links. Even the push-pieces to open it are discreetly nestled within, ensuring the design’s fluidity sweeps smoothly over the unified case and bracelet.”

Like a high-speed aerodynamic train propelling the Maison into the future, silently, elegantly. This is not an ostentatious piece, but rather the ultimate in discreet luxury. The links are held together by a hidden construction, visible only on the back of the watch – with the aid of a magnifying glass. The butterfly-type clasp is also concealed, and its metal components are designed for comfort on the wrist and softness to the touch, a rarity for integrated bracelets.

In the same vein, no screws are visible. The continuity of the surfaces is flawless. It is also worth noting the bracelet’s novel sizing system: to ensure that the Masterlink fits perfectly, the owner can add or remove half-links, instead of whole links.

This ingenious design, developed specifically for the Masterlink, allows for a custom, precise adjustment down to the millimeter. Last but not least, a particularly challenging and specific development pertains to the crown: despite the case’s slimness (7.9 mm), it is screw-down. This construction would normally add extra thickness, but in the case of the Masterlink, keeping it thin was a non-negotiable prerequisite.

Gérald Charles overcame this challenge to offer a secure and waterproof without adding even a tenth of a millimeter to the height of the case, which is rated to a depth of 100 meters.

GERALD CHARLES Masterlink silver

GERALD CHARLES Masterlink silver

Finally, the Masterlink features an exterior and finishes that are truly singular. To enhance the verticality of the design, the central link is brushed in the direction of the bracelet and with the same vertical orientation as the dial’s Côtes de Genève pattern. However, Gerald Charles’ designers also found themselves inspired by the timelessly elegant striped suits of Italian men’s high fashion. An obvious connection with Monsieur Gerald Genta’s Italian heritage. The watch face is adorned with a linear motif that is not stamped, as might have been the easy route. In fact, the relief is actually composed of two separate levels which are then layered together.

The dial design is unique to the Masterlink: new indices, new hands, new minute markers. The idea was to maintain extreme slimness while ensuring perfect readability – two goals that seem contradictory at first glance. Gerald Charles nonetheless has succeeded in creating luminescent markings for hands and indices – a particularly impressive feat where the minute hand is concerned, with its exceptional finesse.

The same attention to detail continues all around the case. The crown, for example, features a geometry exclusive to the Masterlink. Its perimeter and apex are adorned with the Clou de Paris pattern, a hallmark of the Maestro collection’s bracelets – a filial nod that reinforces the brand’s cohesiveness.

On the case back, two things stand out. First, the circular satin finish applied to the bezel. “This is highly unusual in watchmaking, and I believe it exists nowhere else,” notes Octavio Garcia. “The idea is also to rejuvenate the fusion of form and function, with a satin-brushed finish that perfectly complements the bezel’s curvature.'”

Finally, upon examining the movement, one can admire the micro-rotor architecture that achieves a remarkable thinness of only 2.7 mm. This power-generating element boasts a two-part finish, sandblasted at the base and with a sunburst brushing on the top. The circular graining further catches the eye, enhancing the contrast with the vertical Côtes de Genève stripes on the bridges. These finishes continue the theme of the dial, creating an overall coherence between the two faces of the watch.

The Gerald Charles design team meticulously focused on every detail, down to the smallest screw – all of which are original Gerald Charles star-shaped screws, first introduced in the skeletonized caliber. This represents a specific, exclusive development, designed in-house in Geneva for Gérald Charles, who holds the ownership. They were manufactured in collaboration with Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier, which, besides guaranteeing the excellence and quality of calibers in line with Gerald Charles’s quality standards, also ensures their reliability, precision and functionality.

Gerald Charles takes pride in the reliability of its movements and the commitment of its partners, like Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier, which enhance the already stringent internal quality controls.

“Our Manufacture movement is exceptionally compact, measuring just 30 mm in diameter. It embodies our technical signature, highly valued by our collectors. The micro-rotor, driving a single barrel, guarantees a full two days of power reserve while allowing for the visual appreciation of the mechanism in all its beauty,” adds Federico Ziviani.

In the two versions unveiled today – with a blue or silver dial – the most discerning observers will notice the triple-grooved Côtes de Genève screws, bespoke-made for Gerald Charles.


Text & images 289consulting

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