The 41mm stainless steel Gerald Genta Arena Retrograde With Smiling Disney Mickey Mouse, features the late Genta’s now famous use of character arm as a retrograde minutes hand, along with a jumping hour to indicate the time.
It is believed that the Sultan of Brunei kickstarted the Retro Fantasy series when he asked Genta to make him a platinum watch featuring Mickey Mouse in the 1980s. The concept of placing a pop culture figure such as Mickey Mouse on a mechanical watch was seen as heresy to a number of stuffy Swiss brands at the time, prompting several exhibitors at the 1984 Montres et Bijoux trade show in Geneva to protest. Show exhibitors requested that Genta remove the watches from display, which saw him storm out of the show, followed by a number of brands loyal to him.
Bulgari acquired the Gerald Genta business — along with Daniel Roth — in 2000 from Singapore watch retailer, The Hour Glass, which had purchased it from Genta when he retired. While Bulgari absorbed much of Genta’s knowhow relating to striking watches and adopted both the Octo and Roth’s signature case shape, the names had been largely mothballed until the brand released a Gerald Genta 50th anniversary watch in platinum in 2019, followed by a titanium retrograde piece in 2020.
Bulgari has also announced that the Gerald Genta brand will be treated as a separate entity going forward with “a new website that will be the rallying point for the community of Gerald Genta fans around the world.”
Genta’s wife and daughter have recently established the Gerald Genta Heritage Association, to preserve the legacy of a man whose most famous designs are associated with other brands.
The Gerald Genta Arena Retrograde with smiling Disney Mickey Mouse is limited to 150 pieces, priced €16,500 (approximately $19,480 USD).
In other watch news, Czapek flips the Rattrapante over for a better look.