Design by Mr. Gerald Charles Genta

Mr Gerald Charles Genta Design

The legendary Swiss watchmaker of Italian descent, Mr Gerald Charles Genta (1931-2011), is the founder and former designer of the Maison Gerald Charles. Every model in our Heritage watch collection was designed and forged by this fabled maitre horloger, before his passing. Gerald Charles Genta, watch designer. This is how the Maestro used to introduce himself, but despite his humble manners, he is known across the world as he who created most of the luxury watches made in Switzerland. Without him some of most of the most collected timepieces would have never existed. One of the few watch designers known by name, Mr Genta, our legendary founder, is forever in the history books as the mind and the hand behind the most iconic mechanical timepieces of the 20th and 21st Centuries. He revolutionised the Swiss watchmaking industry, at the same time saving it from the quartz crisis, by introducing steel in luxury watchmaking. Hence elevating sports-watches in steel to the same excellence and price of gold timepieces. Mr Genta is widely known for having invented the octagonal case, the icon of Audemars Piguet, and among his most notable creations are the Nautilus for Patek Philippe and Royal Oak for Audemars Piguet.
Innovator and visionary artist, Mr Genta is often defined the Picasso of watches. During his career he created thousands of designs and movements for luxury watches. The epithet of Picasso stems from his ability to combine aesthetics and mechanical precision, a characteristic of all Gerald Charles watches. Having designed over the course of a single evening the first Royal Oak and then the Nautilus, Mr Genta set the trend of luxury-sport watches. “Being copied constitutes encouragement and a compliment” often said the Maestro. He thought of emulation as proof of success. Without our founder and former designer, the world of watchmaking would be different: the iconic octagonal-shaped cases and the use of steel in luxury timepieces would never have spread. To celebrate our founder Mr Genta and his famous watch designs we highlight the notable creations of his career in a timeline of success.

[Archive of Gerald Charles SA]

Mr G.C. Genta creations


The beginnings
On May 1st, the legendary watchmaker, Mr Gerald Charles Genta was born in Geneva, Switzerland, from a Swiss mother and an Italian father. He inherited the best from both cultures: the Italian artistic style and the Swiss watchmaking.


Universal Geneve
At the young age of twenty-three, Mr Genta was asked to design a watch to commemorate the first commercial flights over the North Pole, operated by the Scandinavian Airlines Systems. This model represents nowadays an icon of vintage watches.


Patek Philippe
Golden Ellipse
Mr Genta designed the Golden Ellipse for the prestigious watch manufacturer, Patek Philippe Geneve, a very thin and classic watch that takes distance from the canonical circular shape. The artist begins to experiment with new forms.


Mr Genta creates the Omega Constellation C-model and he is subsequently offered an exclusive contract to produce several other designs for Omega’s Constellation line of watches.


Gerald Genta Collection
In 1969, the experienced Mr Genta starts to independently manufacture mechanical timepieces carrying his own design and name. At the time of its maximum expansion, the Gerald Genta watchmaking company employed over 200 workers in Switzerland.


Audemars Piguet
Royal Oak
Legend has it that Mr Genta created the watch that would become his most well-known design in an overnight storm of paper and pen, taking inspiration from an old-fashioned diving helmet. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak with its iconic shape represented the world’s very first, stainless steel, high-end sport-watch. The bold, angular design of the Royal Oak was unlike anything that anyone had ever seen, and it persuaded the public that a sports watch made of stainless steel could justifiably cost more than a solid gold dress watch.


Patek Philippe
Mr Genta created for Patek Philippe, Geneva, the best-seller Nautilus, which went down in history as a rare and great investment for collectors. According to legend, the original design for the Nautilus was sketched on a restaurant napkin and completed in 5 minutes.


Ingenieur SL
Mr Genta re-designed the Ingenieur SL for the prestigious Swiss manufacturer, IWC. Once again, the artistic touch of the Maestro may be easily recognised in the smooth design lines characterising this timepiece.


Bvlgari Bvlgari
Inspired by an Ancient Roman coin, Mr Genta creates the Bulgari Bulgari for the house of Bulgari, based in Rome, Italy. As the name of the Emperor was always engraved on Roman coins, so is the name of the brand engraved on the circular flat bezel of this watch.


Walt Disney Retro Fantasy
Obtaining an exclusive licence from Disney, the world-acclaimed Gerald Charles Genta manufactures a limited edition of playful timepieces. Combining a precious jumping-hours retrograde movement with the joyful Disney characters on the dial. For the first time in history a Disney watch sells for several thousands of dollars. These Retro Fantasy watches are now very rare and sold on auctions.


Grand Sonnerie
During the last decade of the 20th Century, Mr Genta investigates the mechanics of complex Swiss movements, giving birth to a collection of Grand Sonnerie and Minute Repeater. These watches represent extraordinary engineering clockworks, some reproducing the sound of London’s Big Ben, others breaking the record of the most expensive wristwatch ever sold for over a million dollars.


Gerald Charles
On the eve of the third millennium, the world-acclaimed Mr Gerald Charles Genta, creates his most modern brand: GERALD CHARLES. With the experience gained in a career of success, Mr Genta gathers a team of experienced collaborators to establish the new paradigms of the 21st Century luxury watchmaking. The brand is an emblem of harmony between artistic design and mechanics, creating unique watches for a niche of collectors, family members and friends.


Gerald Charles
At the end of March, the well-known designer launches the first model of the Gerald Charles brand. The evocative name, RENAISSANCE, perfectly describes this collection, characterised by the revival of art and technological novelty. These watches are conceived to be a bolder expression of the soft line which Mr Genta was always particularly fond of.


Gerald Charles
The Maestro Gerald, introduces this concept wristwatch, innovative from the point of view of design and technology. The Maestro’s case, whose shape lies between a square and an octagon, has never been seen before and it is set to sit on the throne next to the Royal Oak and Nautilus.

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