The 2009 Gerald Genta Octo Tourbillon Sunray (ref. OTR.Y.20.925.CN.BD) brings you an unusually styled yellow gold case combined with a complicated automatic caliber featuring a finely executed tourbillon escapement. Of course, the most interesting part about it is neither the brutal body nor the mechanism (although the tourbillon does look like a real piece of art), it is the dial with its two squares (one for hours and the other for minutes) and an octagon that gets the lion’s share of attention here. Looking like an ancient puzzle box, the part makes a strong, almost (vaguely) frightening impression when the first time you see it.
“The Hellraiser” — these were the first two words that came to mind when I first saw the Octo Tourbillon Sunray in all its glory. Sporting an intricate yellow gold dial, which is combined with a complex-looking body with all of its angles and a combination of machine-brushed and mirror-polished surfaces, the timepiece surely looks like a highly expensive and extremely portable Portal to Hell.
However, the intention behind the exterior is quite the opposite. In its press release, Gerald Genta says that the octagonal shape was chosen because “eight” is a lucky number in China (and China also happens to be one of the most fast-growing luxury markets in the world, which, too, considerably increases GG’s chance of success when it comes to selling this particular model). It is associated with wealth and richness and the Swiss watchmakers apparently plan to make the most out of it.
Combining a satin-finished fixed bezel with a mirror-polished body, the 43 mm x 48 mm case looks like a peculiar combination of an ancient snuff box and some centuries-old Chinese jewelry item built with the famous Bagua symbol in mind. However, as I have already noted, it is, in fact, the dial that catches the eye.
Sporting two superimposed yellow-gold squares partially coated with black PVD, the dial features not twelve, but a whole thirteen (tell me about lucky numbers!) hand-polished Arabic numerals. Optimized for the ideal retrograde time display, the complex face looks like the Octo Tourbillon Sunray’s sole purpose is not just to tell time, but to open yet another layer of reality to those capable of solving its riddle.
The huge tourbillon at 6 o’clock that sits deep inside a golden pit further increases the eerie feeling that the Octo Tourbillon radiates.
It is not clearly stated what kind of movement was used to power the Tourbillon Sunray, but I assume that it is the gorgeous GG 9051 automatic caliber. Manufactured at Gerald Genta’s facilities (at this moment I should probably note that the brand was sold in 1999 and is now a member of the LVMH group meaning that it now probably has virtually unlimited access to knowledge and expertise of such reputable brand as TAG Heuer and Zenith,) the movement is plated with gold and is equipped with a skeletonized oscillating weight.
Well, however frightening the watch may look, the new Gerald Genta Octo Tourbillon Sunray is, to my taste, one of the best offerings in the whole Gerald Genta’s collection available this year.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 3.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Photos: Gerald Genta
Gerald Genta Octo Tourbillon Sunray (ref. OTR.Y.20.925.CN.BD) specification
Movement: Automatic, Caliber GG 9051, in-house, Swiss Made
Cadence of balance: 21,600 vph
Functions & Complications: Retrograde hours, normal minutes, tourbillon
Power reserve: 64 hours
Case: 18-karat Yellow gold
Size: 43.00 mm
Case height: 12.00 mm
Dial: Yellow gold with black varnishing
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Crocodile leather strap with yellow gold foldover clasp
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective