A YEAR AFTER HIS DEATH, A NEW INTERVIEW WITH WATCH DESIGNER GÉRALD GENTA REVEALS MORE ABOUT HIS REMARKABLE CAREER.
Last year, the watch world lost Gérald Genta, one of the greatest and most prolific designers of luxury watches who ever lived. On the anniversary of his death this week, an interview with Genta emerged on watch blog veryimportantwatches.com, in which he provides new and detailed insights on his career.
Genta designed some of the industry’s most iconic watches – many of which are in the Watches of Switzerland stable – including Patek Philippe’s Nautilus and IWC’s Ingenieur SL. He even contributed to the design of Omega’s Seamaster and Constellation collections. But the watch he will be remembered for first and foremost is Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak.
Genta famously designed the original Royal Oak overnight
At the time of its launch in 1972, the Royal Oak was revolutionary. It was one of the first luxury Swiss watches to be made of stainless steel, and is credited by many for rejuvenating the mechanical watch industry at a time when quartz watches were in the ascendancy.
One of the highlights of the interview comes when Genta remembers how he famously came up with his groundbreaking design for the Royal Oak in a single night:
‘One afternoon, at four o’clock, Mr Georges Golay, the Managing Director of Audemars Piguet, rings me up and tells me: “Mr Genta, I need a steel sports watch that has never been done before. I want it to be something totally new and waterproof [and] I want the design by tomorrow morning.” I designed it over night.’
The Royal Oak Selfwinding, launched this year to mark the design’s 40th anniversary
Whether you’ve been following the watch industry for decades, or you’re just beginning to develop an interest in mechanical watches, we highly recommend reading the whole interview here.