This new marvel of a watch comes completely unexpected from Gerald Genta – an avant garde Swiss watch maker. While the concept of a sonnerie (chiming) watch isn’t new, Gerald Genta endows its new Arena Metasonic watch with a host of improvements that aren’t as much about giving the watch new features as it is about improving those that sonnerie watch lovers have been fascinated with for generations, and making the Arena Metasonic the most complex watch in its class.
Traditionally, grande sonnerie watches have been hailed as some of the most complex in the world, with many different types of functions belonging to the genre. The Arena Metasonic incorporates almost all of them, and does so in a new type of package that is the logical modern extension of where this type of watch should go. A good illustration is to start with the supplied watch box. A device who greets you with a biometric fingerprint scanner required to open the secure container. A valid scan and subsequent access, result in electronic wizardry opening the box, while a mechanical pedestal surrounded by glowing light raises the watch to you out of its resting place. Gimmicky? Maybe, but all part of the wow factor a watch such as this is meant to inspire.
The watch itself is clearly Gerald Genta in design, but in almost a dark sense. Typical colorful tones for the brand are replaced by organic looking machinery in a package that Tim Burton could almost himself approve. The watch face sits to the side, while the exposed dial reveals the movement’s tourbillion escapement (top left), while three hammers for the musical gong sit lower left. On the back, the mystique of the movement is clear with a dizzying array of mechanical components to greet you. There you’ll find power reserve indicators for both the watch and sonnerie functions.
Knobs, crowns, and levers control a series of impossible to combine functions such as minute repeaters (that repeat the time back to you in an audio code form), minute and hour strikers (chiming at specific intervals) – for which the Arena Metasonic has different tones for each quarter hour, a silence mode, and grande and petite sonnerie functions (a form of volume control).
It is all housed in a 46mm wide case done in titanium, a white gold alloy, steel, bronze, and the proprietary alloy Magsonic that Gerald Genta specially developed to help intensify the sound coming from the (remarkably) water resistant case. Using specially developed software, years went into the watch ensuring that it not only sounds just right, but that no other grande sonnerie watch can best it. Each watch takes about a year to make, and there will only be 10 of them ever. All this helps explain the Gerald Genta Arena Metasonic watch’s price of $900,000.
Ariel Adams is the Haute Living Watch Editor and also publishes the luxury watch review site aBlogtoRead.com