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Gérald Genta is a Swiss watchmaker and artist widely known for having designed models for the greatest watchmaking houses such as Omega, Patek Philippe, IWC and many others. This audacious designer left his mark on 20th century watchmaking with his undeniable talent, leaving his unique mark on many prestigious timepieces. In this article, we invite you to come back to some of his most striking pieces.
1# The Universal Geneva Polerouter
This watch dating from 1954 is considered to be the first designed by Gerald Genta, at the request of the Scandinavian Airline System for the staff of his flight between Copenhagen and Los Angeles, passing over the North Pole.
The Universal Geneve Polerouter is an elegant and timeless watch, with a 36 mm diameter case, a very refined dial mixing several reliefs and textures, as well as a grained calfskin strap. Resistant to magnetic fields, it was equipped from 1955 with an extremely precise and reliable automatic micro-rotor movement.
2# The Omega Constellation
The history of the watch Omega Constellation dates back to 1952 and was then intended to be part of the luxury models of the brand. Several variations have been proposed over time, including the one with the famous “Pie-pan” style dial designed by Gerald Genta, representing a central dodecagonal surface with an index for each corner point. A very distinctive design amplified by the volume and texture of each part of said dial. It would also seem that the artist was inspired by the polerouter for this achievement.
Later the Omega Constellation has again been revisited by Gerald Genta in a more contemporary version, with a barrel-shaped and no longer round type C case, a completely flat dial leaving aside the angular look of the old models, without forgetting a change in the hands and indexes either triangular but straight.
3# The Rolex Cellini King Midas
This creation launched in 1964 is famous for its distinctive shape, for its totally unique construction. It was also aimed at a certain elite of society at the time, hence its slightly pompous name.
To create this model which is unlike any other, Gerald Genta has chosen to play on asymmetry with a square case of which only the left side takes the form of a slight point which joins the integrated bracelet.
To counterbalance the heavy and precious gold structure, the dial is particularly sober, bearing only the Rolex logo, the hour/minute hands, and the Greek inscription “ΜΙΔAΣ” (“Midas”) referring to the name of the watch.
4# The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak
In the 1970s, Audemars Piguet commissioned Gerald Genta to design a luxury steel sports watch. Thus was born in 1972 the unbeatable Royal Oak, a timepiece whose steel case with octagonal bezel and visible screws is inspired by the helmets of divers of the time. It comes with an integrated steel bracelet, and operates using an ultra-thin self-winding movement.
For more than half a decade now, the Royal Oak is a legendary watch hunted down by collectors and lovers of fine watchmaking alike. It offers many variations, all retaining the key stylistic elements of the first version.
5# The Patek Philippe Nautilus
Another legendary watch designed by Gerald Genta: the Patek Philippe Nautilus. In 1976, i.e. 4 years after the launch of the Royal Oak, this luxury sports timepiece with a very particular shape is born. It too is inspired by the marine world, but this time its shape evokes the portholes of transatlantic ships. Its design would have been realized in 5 minutes in a restaurant in which the artist was.
There Nautiluswhich bears the name of the submarine imagined by Jules Verne for his novel Twenty thousand leagues under seafeatures an octagonal bezel with slightly rounded corners, mountings on each side of the case, an integrated bracelet, as well as a blue dial with raised horizontal lines.
From this first reference, a collection was born with several variations for men and women.
6# The IWC Engineer
The IWC Engineer revisited by Gerald Genta (reference 1832) was unveiled in 1976. Nicknamed “Jumbo” because of its 40 mm diameter (a very large size for the time), it was adorned with a bezel with 5 screws, fixed on a rounded barrel-shaped case, as well as an all-black textured checkerboard dial. It attaches to the wrist using an integrated steel bracelet with H-shaped links. Its particular design is masculine, robust and sporty.
Although this model did not enjoy the same success when it was released as other Gerald Genta creations, today it ranks among collectors’ favorites and is one of the brand’s most sought-after pieces.
7# The Bulgari-Bulgari
For the design of the famous Bulgari-Bulgari (formerly Bulgari-Roma), Gerald Genta was inspired by ancient Roman coins. Having become a real emblem, this simple and refined watch can be recognized by its large round bezel on which the brand name is engraved in the upper part as well as in the lower part. The dial offers perfect readability with simple stick indexes, the numbers 12 and 6, as well as a discreet date window at 3 o’clock.
A great classic from 1977, from which many variations and other watches within Bulgari would subsequently follow.
8# The Seiko Credor Locomotive
Again a bezel with visible screws mounted on an octagonal case. This watch is strongly reminiscent of the Royal Oak but remains much less famous. There Credor Locomotive was created by Gerald Genta in 1979 for Reijiro Hattori, then CEO of Seiko. It is not inspired by the nautical world, but by trains, as its name suggests. Apart from the key elements mentioned above, it has a black ribbed dial with rounded-tip hands and indexes.
It is a very little known, even almost forgotten timepiece, of which only a few pieces remain available for second-hand sale, mainly in Japan.
9# The Cartier Pasha
1985 marks the appearance of the Cartier Pashaa watch not entirely created by Gerald Genta, but rather redesigned by the artist in order to refresh the already existing collection.
Once again, the designer has brilliantly combined sport, elegance and luxury in a watch model. This timepiece stands out from the brand’s others with its 38 mm round case, large finely graduated bezel, blue sapphire cabochon crown, and Vendôme lugs. The creamy white dial is divided into several parts with, in the center, a thin square surrounded by the classic numerals 3, 6, 9 and 12.
10# The Bulgari Octo
After having acquired the Gerald Genta brand in 2000, Bulgari presents in 2012 its brand new collection called Octo. This watch owes its name to the octagonal shape of its case, which recalls that of the Royal Oak. After a first appearance, it gives rise to theOcto Rome then to theOcto Finissimo. Several reinterpretations therefore, which all retain the Genta style both in the case and in the bracelet, dial and its component parts.
There Bulgari Octo exists today in a large number of variations, but continues to mix Roman roots and contemporary style.