Gérald Genta: Icon of Time

Gérald Genta: Icon of Time

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 1010. An original prototype design of a bracelet watch with accompanying NFT, Circa 1975.

Gérald Genta

An original prototype design of a bracelet watch with accompanying NFT, Circa 1975

Lot Closed

June 22, 02:10 PM GMT


Upon Request

Lot Details


An original prototype design of a bracelet watch with accompanying NFT, Circa 1975


Medium: Watercolour on cardboard, glued printed dial

Dimensions: 247 x 174 mm

Signed: yes

Numbered: N/A


Brand: IWC

Model: N/A

Complication: Chronograph

Remark: N/A


Accompanied by: design in the form of an NFT, digital certificate in the form of an NFT and authentication certificate

This design is an important discovery and historically significant in the world of horology. The design represents the first steel chronograph suggested by Genta in the early 1970’s. It was most probably made during the same period than the celebrated Ingenieur 1832 SL which was designed in 1974 and was introduced by IWC in 1976. The creation is part of the golden era of the stainless-steel sport pieces designed by Gérald Genta. That period of only a few years has revolutionized the horological world and our perception of watches. It is fascinating that this design is one of the very few belonging to that category and period that has not been produced. By the quality and appeal of this creation, that watch undoubtedly would have become a great and timeless success if it had gone under production. While other stainless-steel sport pieces created by Genta saw a chronograph declination many years later, 1998 for the Royal Oak and 2006 for the Nautilus, this present piece was conceived from the very beginning as a chronograph. Based on his reflections and unparalleled experience in that watch category, Genta wanted to go one step further and make the first complicated steel sport watch. The chronograph complication was the best and most meaningful choice as it is so closely linked to sports.

Many of the distinctive elements of his most famous creations can be found in this design. First of all, it is a bracelet watch made in stainless steel. The general lines are both curved and straight. The bezel is decorated by screws. The dial is decorated with a repetitive pattern. The indexes and the hands are luminescent and large to improve the readability of the piece. In the same effort, the outer track and subsidiary dials are in contrasting color. The logo on the dial is oversized and the crown is similarly signed, making a bold statement. Interestingly, the logo is different, more rounded, to the one used at the time. Finally, the bracelet shares some similarities with the other signature pieces of Genta. Every element of this design makes it as avant-garde and historically important as the Royal Oak, the Nautilus or the Ingenieur 1832.

During the research, some elements were discovered that may indicate that this design was even created before, around 1967. Indeed, at that time, IWC was looking to add a chronograph model to its catalogue. Eventually, the project was stopped, and the brand decided instead to join forces with other Swiss manufactures to develop the celebrated quartz movement, the Beta 21. Two years later, in 1969, the industry saw a revolution for the chronographs. Indeed, on that same year, three automatic chronograph movements were presented: the El Primero (3019PHC) for Zenith, the caliber 6139 by Seiko and the caliber 11 by Chronomatic, an association of Heuer-Leonidas, Breitling, Hamilton-Buren and Depraz. After the success of this major step, most news chronograph watches were fitted with automatic movements. The present design, however, could have been created before that shift. The layout of the dial seems to indicate that it was supposed to be equipped with a manual winding movement, such as a Valjoux 72.

In 1981, IWC finally introduced a chronograph, an automatic piece designed by Porsche Design. At that time, Gérald Genta was focusing his work on his own brand. Another element consistent with this earlier date is that Mr. Pantli, who worked at IWC and developed the IWC SL (originally referring to Steel Line and nowadays to Sport Line) including the Ingenieur 1832, was not aware of this design. Nonetheless, he joined the company in 1972. He would have been very much involved in the chronograph project if the design had been presented after that year. Whether the design was produced in 1967 or in the mid 1970’s, it testifies the genious and avant-garde of Gérald Genta. With his creation, he was not only one step ahead of his time by creating a stainless-steel sport watch but rather two steps ahead with the first complicated stainless steel sport watch. This discovery in the Genta archives brings a new light to his creations, the history of chronographs, sport pieces as well as to IWC.

The family of Gérald Genta vividly remembers that he considered this design as very important.

It is the only design from the Genta archives made for IWC, which even further enhances its importance and desirability.

We are grateful to Dr. Seyffer, Curator of the IWC Museum, for his most valuable support in researching this piece.