Best known for introducing the first luxury steel sports watches onto the market with The Royal Oak for Audemars Piguet and The Nautilus for Patek Philippe, Genta’s contribution to the industry goes far beyond this. His innovative watch designs, for both men and women, shaped the future of Swiss watchmaking and continue to influence many fine watchmakers and brands across the world. As well as bringing complicated wristwatches back into fashion, Genta’s genius also spread to the design and manufacture of clocks, pocket watches as well as other fine objects such as belts, sunglasses, glassware, and stationery – in fact, his multifaceted talent was how he earned his nickname of “The Picasso of Watchmaking”. For his exclusive clients, which include the Moroccan King, the Sultans of Oman and of Brunei, the King of Spain, the King of Saudi Arabia, the Queen Mother of England as well as leading businessmen, sportsmen and entertainers, Genta created unique, prestigious and audacious models, some of which took years to emerge.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak
The Royal Oak’s origin story is one of the most frequently cited legends among watch enthusiasts, and for good reason. It’s an almost Shakespearean tale of defying the odds to achieve success. In the mid-20th century, Audemars Piguet was revered as the superlative watchmaker and the firm’s finely crafted timepieces, displaying a mastery of both mechanics and aesthetics, were worn by an elite group of discerning collectors. Then, the 1970’s came around. Political and social upheaval saw the culture radically change, and the status quo was questioned in all facets of life. Add to that a depressed economy and the emergence of quartz battery-powered watches, and you can begin to understand the dilemma Audemars Piguet faced.
Genta's Royal Oak
Presenting Gérald Genta’s Personal Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Watch
Patek Philippe’s Nautilus is the rare watch that incites swooning among novices and aficionados alike. Some are even moved to tears — entrepreneur and avid watch collector Kevin O’Leary (the multi-millionaire best known as a judge on Shark Tank) brought NBC cameras along as he welled up retrieving his own Nautilus after spending eight years on a waiting list. A seasoned watch-head crying over his latest acquisition? Such is the power of the Nautilus.
A First-Generation Patek Philippe Nautilus Designed by Gérald Genta
The Aquanaut, a watch whose place has been irreversibly cemented in the canon of great watches. With a loyal fan-base spanning venture capitalist hotshots to icons of rock and roll to ardent collectors of menswear, the Aquanaut’s popularity almost rivals that of the perennially in-demand Nautilus. Simpler, cleaner and sportier than its predecessor, the Aquanaut cooly transcended in style and function above the dramatic cultural shifts of the past two decades; it remains ever modern, rendering it an especially smart investment for right now.
Modern and Complicated
Perhaps one of the most interesting elements of horology is that it represents an area of continual development, striving constantly to improve and in so doing discovering things along the way. The innovation that has manifested from this of course takes many shapes but one of which are complications.
Now complications take many forms too, some improve accuracy, some improve functionality and others convey startling levels of information. They engage the wearer, they are playful and interesting to observe, and beyond this they demonstrate an astounding level technical prowess. This sale is delighted to showcase a host of different complications from tourbillon, minute repeaters and chronographs to perpetual calendars and power reserve indications.