Gérald Genta, born in Geneva in 1931, was a truly unique designer and rightly considered the founder of the modern luxury sports watch. These days, he is best known for the designs of watch icons, such as the "Royal Oak" by Audemars Piguet (1970) and the "Nautilus" by Patek Philippe (1976). In fact, he made a name for himself in the international watch industry much earlier:
The SAS Polerouter is widely regarded as his first stroke of genius, which Genta designed at the young age of only 23 in 1954 and during his time at Universal Genève. The watch was a great success and word of Genta’s talent quickly spread. More and more Swiss watch brands became aware of this exceptional young designer, so that only five years later Omega knocked on Genta’s door, asking for assistance. The result of this collaboration was a major facelift of Omega’s Constellation collection. IWC benefitted as well from his skills, as the conception of IWC's Ingenieur collection (1976) traces back to Genta.
Despite his great success and splendid reputation across the entire watch industry, Genta strived for more. As a result, he began manufacturing watches with his own name on the dial in 1969. Genta was a passionate hiker in the Swiss Zermatt and hence took his inspirations from nature. Especially in the shape of the Matterhorn he saw perfection. To the surprise of many, however, Genta also took on quite profane everyday objects during his creative phase, such as sunglasses and cutlery, attempting to give them his very own personal touch. Interestingly enough, Genta has actually never been such an obsessed watch enthusiast during his lifetime as one might expect. Instead, he simply utilized watches as a means to an end to express his game-changing design ideas.
Genta passed away in 2011, but the legacy of the "Picasso of watchmaking" remains. Today's watchmaking industry would certainly be a much drearier one without that man's ingenuity. In recognition of this man's oeuvre and in celebration of his birthday, we are thrilled to present our Top 3 selection of the greatest Gérald Genta watches with the help of watch expert Gisbert Brunner.
Gérald Genta with a typyical octagonal shaped clock © Gerald Genta Heritage Association
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