Gérald Charles Genta, better known by Gérald Genta was a luxury watch designer and artist. He is one of the few watch designers known by name as he created and designed some of the most iconic and precios Watches in modern history of desing. He is noted for his eponymous line of watches as well as his design work with other high-end watch manufacturers. These including IWC, Universal Genève, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet, among others. Christie's auction house of New York called Genta's work "the Fabergé of watches",
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Genta was born in Geneva to a Swiss mother and father of Piemonte in the Northern Italian descent. At age 20, Genta finished jewellery and goldsmith training in his native Switzerland, earning a Swiss federal diploma.
Subsequently, Genta was recruited by Universal Genève SA, at the time one of the most recognized manufactures in both the U.S. and Europe for its chronograph models. After Universal Genève settled a patent dispute involving the micro-rotor caliber, Genta designed Universal's Polerouter Microtors in the 1950s, as well as the Golden and White Shadows during the mid-1960s. The Shadows contained a micro-rotor, unisonic and accutron movement, the latter two a result of the quartz crisis starting in the late 1960s.
1969 he stars his own Brand, Genta would create the sonneries, among them the Gérald Genta Octo Granda Sonnerie Tourbillion, which contained four gongs and an emulated Westminster Quarters bell ring at each quarter and on the hour, "the same melody rung out by London's Big Ben", and priced at $810,200.
During the 1980s, Genta obtained special licensing with The Walt Disney Company and distributed a limited edition of Disney character watches to the public; previously, they had been an unofficial private request by one of Genta's repeat customers.
In 1972, with the launch of the Royal Oak designed by Gerald Genta, Audemars Piguet revolutionizes the world of watchmaking and dictates a trend that remains until today. With this steel watch with an integrated bracelet and the same level of finishes as its gold watches, Audemars changes the rules and demonstrates that Haute Horlogerie does not have to be at odds with steel or sportsmanship. The aesthetic bases of the original Royal Oak, with its characteristic octagonal bezel where eight hexagonal screws stand out, are maintained until today and have evolved with the «Offshore», a more robust variant of the Royal Oak that further elevates its sporting character. He is also recognized for designing the Royal Oak in one day, the clock that revolutionized the luxury watch industry, the lifeguard of the company.
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