When I think about cartoon characters and watches, nothing stands out quite like Mickey Mouse. Over the past 90 years, he’s been featured on the dial of countless numbers of watches. From high-end pieces to inexpensive quartz souvenirs, Disney’s most popular character transcends culture. Today’s Gerald Genta Arena Retrograde Smiling Mickey Mouse definitely falls on the exotic side of things, but it scored well with our team.

The Gerald Genta Retrograde has been with us since 1996 under the Arena name. It’s a watch that Genta developed and it continued even after Bvlgari bought the brand in 2000. It has come in many different forms, case materials, and designs. Regardless of the exact variant, the minutes are shown in an arc across the top of the dial, and the hand “snaps” back to zero at the top of the hour. At the same time, these watches also have a jumping hour complication. This is indicated within a small window. Today’s Arena Retrograde Smiling Mickey Mouse follows a similar formula.

The Arena Retrograde Smiling Mickey Mouse

Offbeat complication watches like the Arena Retrograde Smiling Mickey are usually hit or miss with me. I’m slowly opening my mind, but I certainly favor the traditional way of telling time. Last year, though, was a watershed moment. The Arena Bi-Retrograde in titanium was a real standout and it was actually a lot of fun to use the movement. This year’s release is far less sporty, but I have to admit that I also really like it.

Mickey Mouse has been on Genta watches since the ’90s and, therefore, fans won’t be surprised that the iconic character has returned. The Arena Retrograde Smiling Mickey uses an image of the character that is said to be leaping from the rhodium-plated dial. A quick look at history shows that this has been used before, but it was definitely from prior decades and the arc of numerals had a different position.

For a fun watch, the design is super clean

This new limited version of 150 pieces has a really clean look with the numerals placed from roughly 8:00 to 4:00. Mickey’s gloved left-hand tells us the minutes while a circular oculus reports the hours. The Arena Retrograde Smiling Mickey uses a 41mm stainless case with a red textured strap on a folding buckle. Inside, the watch uses the BVL262 automatic movement with 42 hours of power reserve. Like last year’s watch, this is a modular movement designed and built in-house.

Note the ridged details on the case flanks. This is very much in keeping with prior Arena Retrograde models. Other details worth noting are the display case back that is secured via six screws. The rubber strap along with 100 meters of water resistance should persevere at any one of Disney’s water parks.

Final thoughts and pricing

The Gerald Genta Arena Retrograde Smiling Mickey Mouse will retail for CHF 16,500. Bvlgari boutiques will have them beginning in January 2022. Is this piece a kitschy niche watch? Absolutely, but it’s a fun and high-quality take on a subject that people have come to love and enjoy. I suppose it could be an “only watch” and it would serve as a real conversation piece. Whatever you make of it, it’s nice to have a bit of whimsy in the watch world every so often.

The Gerald Genta Arena Retrograde Smiling Mickey Mouse is not currently on the Bvlgari website, but keep checking for updates!

Watch specifications

Gerald Genta Arena Retrograde Smiling Mickey Mouse
Plated Rhodium
Case Material
Stainless Steel
Case Dimensions
41mm Diameter
Case Back
Display back, secured with six screws.
BVL262 automatic with retrograde module and jumping hour. 28,800 vph and 42 hours power reserve.
Water Resistance
100 Meters
Textured red rubber with stainless steel folding buckle
Time, retrograde with jumping hour
CHF 16,500
Three Years
Special Note(s)
150 pieces, available January 2022.