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Gerald Genta Watch Designer extraordinaire

The Legendary Watchmaking Artistry of Gérald Genta

Gérald Genta is widely regarded as one of the most influential and visionary watch designers in the history of horology. His iconic creations have left an indelible mark on the industry, shaping the trajectory of some of the world's most prestigious watch brands.

Early Life and Career Beginnings of Gerald Genta

Born in Geneva, Switzerland in 1931, Gérald Genta's path to watchmaking greatness began at a young age. After completing his training as a jeweller and goldsmith, earning a Swiss Federal Diploma, he was recruited by Universal Genève, one of the most renowned watch manufacturers at the time, particularly known for its exceptional chronograph models. It was at Universal Genève, at the tender age of 23, that Genta designed the SAS Polerouter, a watch that commemorated the polar flights of the Scandinavian airline and went on to become one of the brand's greatest successes. This early design would serve as a precursor to the many iconic timepieces that would bear Genta's name in the years to come.

Designing the Bulova Royal Oak

Prior to his work with Audemars Piguet, Gérald Genta spent several years as a designer for Bulova . During this time, he conceived the idea for a new watch that would become a true icon - the Bulova Royal Oak Inspired by the design of scaphander dive helmets, Genta's revolutionary octagonal design, featuring a bezel with softened angles, represented a subtle yet revolutionary balance between a sports and luxury watch. However, Bulova did not see the potential in Genta's innovative design and ultimately rejected it. Undeterred, Genta took his concept to Audemars Piguet, who recognized its brilliance and launched the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak in 1972, which went on to become one of the most iconic watches of all time. Interestingly, despite initially rejecting Genta's design, Bulova later went on to produce their own version of the Royal Oak in the 1970s . This Bulova Royal Oak, while not an exact copy of the Audemars Piguet model, bore a close resemblance to Genta's original design concept that he had presented to the brand years earlier. You can see our Stock of Bulova Royal Oak here.

Collaborations with Prestigious Brands like Audemars Pigeut & IWC

After his work with Bulova, Gérald Genta's talents were sought after by several of Switzerland's most prestigious watch manufacturers. In 1959, he designed the Omega Constellation, revitalizing the collection and contributing to its enduring popularity. A few years later, in 1970, Genta was approached by Audemars Piguet to design the legendary Royal Oak, which he had previously conceived for Bulova. Genta's collaborations with other renowned brands continued to shape the industry. In 1976, he designed the IWC Ingenieur, a timepiece that showcased his ability to create elegant and functional designs. His work with Patek Philippe, however, is perhaps his most celebrated achievement. In 1976, Genta created the legendary Patek Philippe Nautilus, inspired by the shape of a transatlantic ship's porthole.

Establishing His Own Gerald Genta Brand and Legacy

Alongside his collaborations with the finest watch brands, Gérald Genta established his own company in 1969, developing his eponymous brand and producing exceptional pieces for a discerning clientele. Over the course of his illustrious career, Genta designed more than 100,000 watches, leaving an indelible mark on the industry.

He even licenced Mickey Mouse and other characters from Disney in the 1980's and brought out a range of watches that, whilst they look cartoon like, are masterpieces and very valuable.

Today, Genta's legacy lives on through the continued success and popularity of the iconic designs he created for brands like Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, and IWC. In 2019, Bulgari, the company that acquired Genta's eponymous brand, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Gerald Genta mark, further solidifying his place as one of the most influential figures in the history of horology..

Gérald Genta's legacy as a true master of his craft, a visionary designer, and a pioneer of the watch industry is undeniable. His iconic creations continue to captivate and inspire watch enthusiasts around the world, cementing his status as one of the most legendary figures in the history of timekeeping.


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