Gerald Genta is born in Geneva, Switzerland, luxury watchmaking capital of the world. He will grow up to become the single most influential figure in modern horology.
Gerald Genta designs the Constellation for Omega. Throughout his life, he will continue to create legendary luxury watch designs for the biggest brands on the planet.
Genta designs the Golden Ellipse for Patek Philippe.
Gerald Genta founds his own brand.
Genta designs the Royal Oak for Audemars Piguet. The commission comes on the eve of the Basel fair: Gerald is asked to create a completely new concept to premiere. Audemars Piguet want to make a steel sports watch, and the Royal Oak is Genta’s solution. It will become the signature model for Audemars Piguet, and one of the most successful and coveted luxury watches of all time. It is the first wristwatch to display technical elements of its manufacture – in this case the screws around the bezel – setting a trend that will be followed by sports watches for decades.
Gerald Genta designs the Ingenieur for IWC: another high-profile sports watch with revealed screws. In this year, Genta also designs Patek Philippe’s legendary Nautilus. The Nautilus design is created on a napkin whilst eating lunch at the Basel fair.
Gerald signs an exclusive deal with the Walt Disney Company, which allows his brand to create luxury watches featuring famous Disney characters. Initially designed in response to a request from a private client, Gerald Genta’s Disney watches will become one of his most famous lines.
Characters include Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Scrooge McDuck and Donald Duck. The line is named ‘Fantasy’, and contains haute horlogerie complications including a tourbillon, retrograde minutes, and jumping hours.
In 1981, Genta creates the self-winding Minute Repeater movement, a seminal piece of horological history that goes on to sell over 1,000 units.
During the 1980s, Gerald Genta also designs the iconic Bvlgari-Bvlgari watch for Bulgari. Like many of Genta’s watches, the design initially meets with disfavour from the brand, but goes on to become one of its all-time bestsellers.
Gerald designs what is at this time the world’s most complicated wristwatch – the Grande Sonnerie Retro. The Retro is sold for $2m.
Gerald Genta designs Cartier’s Pasha de Cartier watch.
Gerald Genta’s luxury watch brand is sold to Bulgari, and subsequently becomes a part of the Louis Vuitton-Moet-Hennessy conglomerate.
Gerald founds a new luxury watch brand, Gerald Charles. This brand is responsible for a new range of playful, beautiful luxury watches: the most famous is the Evolution. Gerald Charles is sold a few years later, and its founder returns to his other love – painting.
Gerald Genta dies, aged 80. His legacy lives on in the luxury watch families of the most recognised and powerful brands in the world of haute horlogerie. Genta’s pieces will appear in the catalogues of Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet, Breguet, Hamilton, and IWC, to this day.
You can read our full luxury watch designer profile for Gerald Genta here.
For more of Gerald Genta’s watches or to see the latest additions to our luxury watch collection, see here.