It’s no surprise, then, that when Gerald Genta decided to release his own line of luxury watches, the world of haute horlogerie sat up and took notice. Genta’s prestige pieces combine avant-garde design sensibilities with grand complications, creating some of the finest works of horological art ever made. From unusual case shapes to those legendary Mickey Mouse dials, Genta’s sense of play renders his watches utterly unique.
A Gerald Genta luxury watch is a masterstroke of design. It is a piece of horological history. Owning a Gerald Genta is like owning a Ferrari handmade by Pininfarina, or a suit personally hand-stitched by Giorgio Armani.
The man who single-handedly turned the luxury watch world on its head - not once but many times - died in 2011. His official watchmaking company, Gerald Genta, became part of Bvlgari in 1998. The models it made, some of which started life as private commissions, have become part of the story of luxury watch manufacture. Their original lines and superb use of complications make them as sought-after today as they were when first released.
Gerald Genta’s private commissions read like a Who’s Who of the 20th century. Prince Rainier of Monaco, the Royal who married Grace Kelly, commissioned timepieces from Genta. Rock stars, rappers, athletes, movie stars, and politicians have asked for unique examples of his designs to sit on their wrists.
Rarely does a single luxury watch designer have such an effect on the fashions of his times. Gerald Genta’s watches still appear on lists of the most influential in horological history - many under the name of other luxury watch brands. Without him, their most famous luxury sports and jewellery watches would never have been born. With no Gerald Genta, there would be no Pasha, no Constellation, no Royal Oak Offshore.
If Genta’s genius for luxury watch design is evident in the hundreds of models he created for other maisons de haute horlogerie, then it is his soul that is seen in the models built by his own brand. Endlessly fun, beautiful, packed with mechanical complexity, these are timepieces developed in the very heart of invention. From the Gefica, with its biretro ring-pull hands, to the Arena’s retrograde hour complication, Gerald Genta’s luxury watches are effortless expressions of the watchmaker’s art.
The Fantasy, Genta’s genre-defining masterpiece of playfulness and complication, may be imitated but never equalled. Each jumping hour model depicts a unique Mickey or Minnie Mouse scene, with the character’s iconic hand pointing at the retrograde minutes. There are other luxury watch manufacturers whose boldest pieces justly occupy a place in the history of the craft: but for sheer style, and the perfect balance of irreverence with prestigious engineering, only one name is universally spoken. Gerald Genta may be gone, but his sense of fun will never be forgotten.