From The Royal Oak To The King Midas, 10 Of Gérald Genta’s Most Iconic Designs

Inarguably one of the greatest—and most prolific—watch designers of all time, Gérald Genta’s creations have stood the test of time.

By Tanisha Angel 06/07/2023

Those with even a passing interest in horology will have seen a Gérald Genta design. The legendary artist and designer is responsible for some of the world’s most covetable timepieces—counting the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Patek Philippe Nautilus amongst his oeuvre—and is widely credited with saving the Swiss watch industry from the Quartz Crisis of the 1970s.

However, Genta’s body of work extends far beyond the almost unattainable duo of steel sports watches that dominate horological conversations, with the prolific designer having been responsible for a veritable profusion of timepiece designs. According to the Gerald Genta Heritage Association, the Swiss-Italian watchmaker designed over 100,000 watches over the span of his career.

With an unmatched ability to imbue horological designs with a sense of aestheticism, several of Genta’s designs have stood the test of time. A testament to his enduring style is the new IWC Ingenieur Automatic 40; released almost fifty years after Genta’s first Ingenieur SL, it combines the aesthetic codes of the original with contemporary ergonomics. And now, the Gérald Genta brand will be revived under LVMH, with Genta’s wife Evelyne granting the luxury conglomerate access to her late husband’s archives, which contain hundreds of designs that were never produced.

Herewith, the most iconic Gérald Genta designs of all time — plus, some underrated timepieces that deserve a look in.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak (1972)

A seminal timepiece, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak heralded the rise of the luxury steel sports watch category. In the early 1970s, Swiss watch manufacture Audemars Piguet commissioned Genta to design a luxury sports watch — primarily as a last-ditch attempt to turn the tide around following a downtrend in sales due to inexpensive quartz movements being exported from Japan. Characterised by its unconventional screwed-down geometric bezel (said to be inspired by the shape of a diver’s helmet), integrated bracelet, and steel—for the price of gold—construction, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak was a sleeper hit.

While its unprecedentedly high price and unusual aesthetics weren’t immediately well-received upon release in 1972, Audemars Piguet leaned into its unconventional price point in its marketing gaff and the Royal Oak quickly became a phenomenon.

Patek Philippe Nautilus (1976)

Credit: Gerald Genta Heritage

Not only did Genta design the timepiece that transformed perceptions of steel, he also conceived its greatest competitor. A commission by Patek Philippe in 1976 led to the creation of the Nautilus. Like the Royal Oak, the Nautilus derives inspiration from the nautical world—this time from the portholes of transatlantic ships—and is named after Captain Nemo’s submarine in Jules Verne’s novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. According to the Gérald Genta Heritage Association, Genta sketched the Nautilus in five minutes on a paper napkin in a restaurant.

Defined by its soft-angled bezel, integrated bracelet, and horizontal ribbed dial, the timepiece remained in production for 30 years and is considered one of the most desirable watches of all time to this day.

IWC Ingenieur SL (1976)

Credit: Gerald Genta Heritage

During the same year the Nautilus was released, Gérald Genta was tasked with refreshing the IWC Ingenieur, which first debuted in 1955. Initially taking on a dressier aesthetic, Genta’s revamped Ingenieur SL saw the timepiece forgo its classic round case and tapered lugs for a sporty rounded tonneau steel case with a five-screw bezel and an integrated profile; a design signature of the Swiss-Italian watchmaker.

Reflective of increased interest in Gérald Genta’s designs of late, IWC introduced the 2023 Ingenieur Automatic 40, which adapts the bold aesthetic codes of the Ingenieur SL for a contemporary audience.

Universal Geneve Polerouter (1954)

Credit: Worn & Wound

The first major design in what would become a heady body of work, Genta designed the Universal Geneve Polerouter in 1954 at the age of 23. Universal Geneva approached Genta to design a timepiece to commemorate the historic flight from Copenhagen to Los Angeles, with the first watches given to the cabin crew of the Scandinavian Airlines Systems (SAS) upon landing in LAX. The elegant multi-textured dial and streamlined case of the Universal Geneve Polerouter belie its functionality, with the timepiece equipped with anti-magnetic properties and a chapter ring designed for enhanced legibility in dark conditions.

Omega Constellation (1954)

Initially introduced in the early 1950s, the Omega Constellation was conceived as a dress watch. Stalling sales off the flagship model prompted the luxury Swiss manufacture to commission Genta to devise a fresh take on the line. Genta rid the Constellation of its pie-pan dial and tapered lugs, introducing a rounded C-case in its place; defined by integrated lugs and a tonneau shape, the design was emblematic of the space-age movement that reigned supreme at the time. The redesign also introduced baton indices and stick hands. The Constellation has since been iterated to the point where Genta’s design language is virtually indistinguishable, with the timepiece considered a rarity among the horological community.

Bulgari Bulgari (1977)

Simple yet impactful, the Bulgari Bulgari—first released in 1977—is modelled after an ancient Roman coin on which the effigy of the emperor was encircled by engraved inscriptions. Initially dubbed the ‘Bulgari Roma’ and designed solely for the Italian luxury fashion house’s Rome-based atelier, the name was changed after Bulgari noted its positive reception worldwide. The cylindrical case shape and understated lugs were also influenced by the columns of ancient Roman temples, imbuing the timepiece with a nostalgic feel. Over the past 36 years, the fundamentals of the Bulgari Bulgari have been left relatively unchanged, save for the transition from quartz to mechanical movements and the introduction of larger case sizes to suit contemporary tastes.

Pasha de Cartier (1985)

In the early 1930s, the Pasha of Marrakesh tasked Louis Cartier with creating a gold timepiece equipped with a level of water resistance uncommon to the time. The resultant solution was a watch with a comparatively large case size with a crown cover and a metal grid to protect the dial. Over fifty years later, the French luxury goods house enlisted Genta to create a new timepiece with a sporty (yet still elegant) aesthetic. Standing out from the plethora of rectangles, squares, and ovals in Cartier’s then-current lineup, the Pasha stood out for its large (for the time) 38mm case, Vendôme lugs, the screw-down crown cap complete with cabochon and a retaining chain, and the oversized 3, 6, 9, and 12 numerals on the dial.

Bulgari Octo (2000s)

The Bulgari Octo was released shortly after the Italian jeweller and watchmaker acquired the Gérald Genta brand in 2000. While there’s some contention surrounding whether Genta actually designed the Octo himself, his unmistakable design language is present in the timepiece’s integrated bracelet and the geometric case which juxtaposes rectilinear forms with curvilinear ones by positioning a round bezel on an eight-sided case.

Seiko Credor Locomotive (1979)

While the hexagonal bezel often draws comparisons to Genta’s most famous timepiece, the Seiko Credor Locomotive—designed in 1979—has its origins in locomotives rather than nautics. The angular bezel and integrated bracelet closely resemble that of the Royal Oak, however the Seiko Credor Locomotive subtly sets itself apart through a new shape for the intermediary links and the nature-inspired pattern on the dial.

Rolex King Midas (1964)

Perhaps the most unconventional of Genta’s creations, the Rolex King Midas sees the Swiss-Italian artist apply geometric forms in a new way. Steering away from his signature sporty aesthetic, the asymmetric case of the Rolex King Midas was inspired by the silhouette of a Greek temple. A solid gold timepiece—hence the name—the King Midas was one of the heaviest watches on the market, despite its modest 27mm proportions.

 

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Rafael Nadal and Richard Mille Just Dropped Another Watch Collab. Here’s Every One They’ve Made Together.

The duo has launched 11 models in less than 15 years, including the brand new RM 27-05 Flying Tourbillon.

By Cait Bazemore 30/05/2024

Rafael Nadal really needs no introduction. He’s arguably one of the best tennis players of all time, notching 22 Grand Slam men’s singles titles, including a record 14 French Open titles. Thanks to 81 consecutive wins on clay (the longest single-surface win streak in the Open Era), he’s more than earned his unofficial title as the King of Clay. His first major title came in 2005, and for more than 15 years, he never slowed down, clenching yet another French Open win in 2022. However, the tides turned for the star player last year when injury knocked him out of the second round of the Australian Open at the start of the 2023 season. As a result, he exited the Top 10 for the first time since 2005 and later declined to enter the French Open. After a year of recovery, the beloved Spanish player announced his triumphant return to the ATP tour at the end of 2023. However, after withdrawing from the season’s first major, the Australian Open, and losing in the first round at the French Open to Alexander Zverev, it looks like it may be Nadal’s final season before retirement.

Watches and tennis have long gone hand in hand ever since Rolex became the official timekeeper of Wimbledon back in 1978. Since then, countless players have landed partnerships with watchmakers or served as brand ambassadors. If you look closely, you’ll often notice one of the first things that players do upon exiting the court is strap on their favorite timepiece. But Nadal is one of the few pros who actually wears his watch during the match. Most timekeepers aren’t fit to withstand the force of a tennis swing, but Nadal teamed up with one of the few brands able to deliver a truly performance-driven timepiece that’s up for the challenge, Richard Mille. The duo has been developing watches together since 2010, resulting in 11 exceptional models including their latest collaboration, the RM 27-05 Flying Tourbillon, which just dropped over Memorial Day weekend. Here, we take a deeper look at the evolution of Nadal and Richard Mille’s partnership and the wild watches they’ve created.

Richard Mille

Richard Mille

Richard Mille created its debut model for Nadal in 2010 with the RM 027. This tourbillon thoughtfully optimizes both form and function for the court. It features a carbon composite case and flexible polycarbonate strap, keeping it ultra-lightweight. However, the real genius comes in the design of the movement, which is made of titanium and a unique alloy called LITAL. The combination of materials from the inside out results in a timepiece weighing less than 20 grams, including the strap, making it the lightest watch ever produced at the time.

Richard Mille

A year later, the duo switched things up with the launch of the RM 035. While the model lacks the tourbillon functionality, it’s anything but a simple timepiece. The initial RM 035 features a skeletonized dial with a similar lightweight build, this time thanks to a magnesium and aluminum alloy. In addition, it marked the first Richard Mille Chronofiable-certified timepiece, representing a new milestone in the quest for long-lasting performance under extreme conditions.

Richard Mille

We wouldn’t see the next collaboration for another two years. In 2013, the pair unveiled the second generation of the RM 027, and somehow, they managed to make it even lighter than the original, now weighing just 18.83 grams. In addition, the RM 27-01 features a new system that can withstand up to 5000 Gs of force.

Richard Mille

In 2014, Nadal and Richard Mille released the second generation of the RM 035. This model features more subtle updates from the original, with a more ornate case and dial design. Here you’ll note pops of Rafa’s signature colors, red and yellow, as an homage to the Spanish flag. In addition, the RM 35-01 gets an upgraded movement, replacing the original caliber RMUL1 with the RMUL3. The RMUL3 offers a slightly more lightweight build (a mere 4 grams down from 4.3 grams) and a power reserve of 55-hours provided by a double-barrel system.

Richard Mille

The following year, we got the next generation of the model that started it all. With the RM 27-02, the pair continued upping the ante on bolder styling with a red-clay colored strap. However, the major headline for the RM 27-02 was the introduction of the very first skeletonized baseplate known as the “unibody.” The idea is that the case and baseplate are fused into a single piece, resulting in greater impact resistance on the court.

Richard Mille

In 2016, Nadal and Richard Mille went back to developing the RM 035 line with the next evolution: the RM 35-02. The model comes in two variations, one in more classic black and one in bright red. The red iteration marked a major departure to the lineup, not only in its color scheme but also in its functionality. For the first time, we see an automatic caliber powering the model.

Richard Mille

A year later, the pair announced not one, not two, but three new additions within their partnership. The first was the fourth generation of the RM 027. With the RM 27-03, we see the loudest model yet in terms of styling with an attention-commanding yellow and red case and strap. The boldness of the model continues through its technical achievements thanks to a totally new tourbillon movement that can withstand shocks of up to 10,000 Gs, which marked an industry first.

Richard Mille

In addition to the RM 27-03, 2017 ushered in two models exclusively for the American market, perhaps in response to Nadal notching his third U.S. Open title that year. The RM 035 Black Toro and RM 035 Gold Toro both nod to another one of the player’s nicknames, “The Bull.” Stylistically, the Black Toro pays homage to the design of the original RM 035 with the upgrade of the new automatic caliber RMAL1 found in the RM 35-02. As the name suggests, the Gold Toro offers a new aesthetic to the lineup with an 18-karat rose gold case.

Richard Mille

The introduction of the RM 27-04 in 2020 marked the 10-year anniversary of Nadal’s partnership with Richard Mille. For the occasion, the duo debuted a brand new case material called TitaCarb, a carbon fiber reinforced polyamide with the strength of steel while remaining far more lightweight. The resulting design was totally unique with a dial featuring metal mesh “strings” reminiscent of those of a tennis racket. The RM 27-04 also boasts upgraded functionality with a new caliber able to absorb 12,000 Gs in shock.

Richard Mille

In December 2023, on the heels of Rafa’s announcement to return to the game, Richard Mille unveiled its next model for the King of Clay’s comeback: the RM 35-03. The all-new timepiece is available in three versions: one in blue Quartz TPT with a white Quartz TPT caseband, one in white Quartz TPT and Carbon TPT with a Carbon TPT caseband, and one in full Carbon TPT. Of course, the RM 35-03 also showcases new technical achievements with a butterfly rotor that allows the wearer to directly interact with the rotor’s geometry, controlling the movement’s winding speed based on lifestyle and activity levels.

This article was originally featured in Robb Report

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How To Make the Ultimate Hangover Cure

Is this the ultimate cocktail to know by heart?

By Belinda Aucott-christie 29/05/2024

The Savoy in London, a beacon of luxury and opulence, holds a significant place in British history as the nation’s first luxury hotel. It was a haven where the affluent sought to experience a taste of royalty. Interestingly, it was within these grand walls that the alleged liquid remedy for hangovers, The Corpse Reviver, was born.

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Due to its medicinal qualities, this cocktail has passed into drinking folklore, making its recipe a right of passage for any lush.

The Corpse Reviver is aptly named for its life-affirming qualities and claimed ability to knock a hangover on the head.

It’s reassuring to know that the dreaded hangover was such a cause of social consternation in the late 1940s, that it demanded a creative response from Savoy’s hotel bar staff. We’ll drink to that.

Adding to the Corpse Reviver’s allure is the mystery surrounding its creation. Was it the ingenious work of Savoy bartender Johnny Johnson or the creative genius of Joe Gilmore? The exact timeline of its inception between 1948 and 1954 remains a tantalising enigma. 

It’s a zesty, slightly sour hangover cure with a cheeky touch of absinthe shining through. If your hangover is very bad, add a little more syrup to the mix.

To make, take a cocktail shaker and add equal parts dry gin, triple sec, lemon juice, and Lillet Blanc (3/4 of a shot each). 

Add a tiny dash of sugar syrup and absinthe, shake all ingredients with ice until very cold, strain and pour into a chilled coupe.

Garnish with a chic lemon twist and say cheerio to your hangover. 

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ThirdHome Arrives Down Under

The global home-swap club targeting Australia’s millionaires.

By Belinda Aucott 24/05/2024

Wayne Shealy made his name developing resorts from New England to the Caribbean, and shifting more than $3 billion in luxury real estate. In 2010 he started ThirdHome to let luxury homeowners leverage the empty parts of properties in their portfolio to enjoy better holidays. Billed as an exclusive community of ‘neighbours’, ThirdHome now facilitates swapping second and third homes for the super-wealthy.

Wade Shealy, CEO and Founder of ThirdHome, a luxury home-swapping membership program. THIRDHOME

While the glamorous international portfolio spans illustrious private residences, including castles, ranches and chalets, it has been extended to private islands, pieds-à-terre, safari camps, wineries, boutique hotels and yachts.

Turin Castle in Forfar, Scotland. THIRDHOME

Purpose-built for people who own at least two residences and have homes to spare valued at over $2 million, all applicants are vetted and assessed, before being allowed to join. With a global portfolio across 100 countries and 2500 destinations, Shealy is now focusing on Australia.

“We’re super excited for the next chapter of our Australian journey,” Shealy says, from his horse farm outside Nashville in Franklin, Tennessee. 

“We know there’s an extremely healthy appetite for Australians with second homes wanting to become members, who love to travel and want to enjoy exclusive access to the world’s more exceptional stays for a fraction of the price,” he says of his motivation for extending the network Down Under.  He notes that by cleverly utilising the downtime in their own homes, they can fund extravagant trips they may have never dreamt possible. Doing so in a gated community that values trust and respect.

Château De Vézins in Loire Valley, France. THIRDHOME

The spirit of sharing drives the sservice, with ThirdHome members acquiring points in the system each time they open their doors to others. This makes it a self-regulating community backed by solid technology and vigilant management that keeps applicants A-grade.

“Our members are house proud and guest proud,” he adds. “They want the guests to have a great experience.”

Learn more about membership and the rules of engagement here

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Art for Investment

A new private gallery in Sydney helps collectors enter the secondary market.

By Belinda Aucott-christie 24/05/2024

When Art Basel opens next month in Switzerland, it will do so with fresh power under its wings. In 2022 the global art market totalled $67.8 billion, showing 3 percent year-on-year growth*. This year, art topped Knight Frank’s Luxury Investment Index, with prices rising by 11 percent over 2023. According to most reports, art is now a positively appreciating asset class. By comparison, the values of rare whisky, classic cars, handbags, and furniture fell.

This raises the question of how to invest wisely in art and ensure the sound provenance of your investment. Jesse Jack De Deyne and Boris Cornelissen from A Secondary Eye are here to help art collectors. Conceived as a private gallery with rotating exhibitions, the space is designed to help serious investors confidently buy and sell.

“We offer access to some of the finest works entering the secondary market in Australia and operate with a stringent provenance framework in place,” says Jess Jack De Deyne from the company’s top-floor space overlooking leafy Queen Street in Sydney’s Woollahra.

De Deyne and Cornelissen opened in May with a presentation of rare works by Rover Thomas, the late East Kimberly artist who represented Australia at the 1990 Venice Biennale.

Rover Thomas, Desert Meeting Place, 1994 natural earth pigments on canvas.

De Deyne specialises in Indigenous Australian art and comes to Sydney with a background as a Director in an Aboriginal Arts Centre and working for a leading auction house. Cornelissen is a former contemporary art specialist from Sotheby’s in London and Hong Kong.

“We are most effective when a prospective client comes to us with a specific artwork in mind,” explains De Deyne. “They may have recently been to Canberra to visit the highly regarded exhibition of Emily Kame Kngwarreye at the National Gallery of Australia and there is a specific period of the artist that they are drawn to. Through our contacts, we may be able to help source available related works that would not necessarily appear at auction.” 

Though A Secondary Eye was founded in 2020 in Brisbane, De Denye says the larger pool of collectors drew them down to Sydney. The new gallery’s private aspect seems to be a key selling point for the duo, who prize discretion and private sales. 

Rover Thomas, Lake Argyle, 1994 natural earth pigments on canvas

“Whereas auctions are publicly advertised, a private dealer can offer a work discreetly to a handful of clients without over-exposing it. And we can also present works in a more considered way through curated, high-quality exhibitions that tell the story of each work.”

While some may be intimidated by entering the art market, these art dealers say exposure to the art world is key to unlocking its potential. “Take the time to attend art fairs, exhibitions and auction viewings. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and ask for advice. With time and experience, you will learn what you are drawn to and how the offered prices sit relative to other works in the market.”

In an art world overflowing with rules, customs, and jargon, De Deyne is quick to clarify the key difference between dealers and advisers for newbies. 

“An art dealer helps collectors buy and sell artworks and therefore has a commercial incentive in selling a work. The best art advisors work independently, often on a retainer, and don’t profit from the transaction, which means they can give their clients honest advice. 

De Deyne and Cornelissen are well-placed to help people get a foot in the market, no matter how experienced they are. Ultimately, they preach to the choir, appealing most to fine art collectors searching for a specific work. 

“We work in a niche area and ultimately attract people who share our interests. Art collectors, particularly on the secondary market, often follow the art, rather than the person selling it.”

Follow A Secondary Eye here for future exhibitions. 

*According to the 2023 Art Market 2023, authored by Dr. Clare McAndrew, Founder of Arts Economics and published by Art Basel in partnership with UBS

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Watch of the Week: Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph

Roger Dubuis unveils its innovative chronograph collection in Australia for the very first time.

By Josh Bozin 21/05/2024

When avant-garde Swiss watchmaker Roger Dubuis revealed its highly anticipated Chronograph Collection halfway through 2023, it was a testament to its haute horology department in creating such a technical marvel for everyday use. Long at the forefront of cutting-edge design and technological excellence, Roger Dubuis (pronounced Ro-ger Du-BWEE) is no stranger to such acclaim.

Now, fans down under will finally get a taste of the collection that made headlines, with the official Australian unveiling of its Chronograph Collection. Representing precision engineering, extraordinary craftsmanship, and audacious design, this collection, now in its fifth generation, continues to redefine the chronograph category.

Roger Dubuis Australia welcomes the Excalibur Spider Collection to the market, featuring the exquisite Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph, as well as the Excalibur Spider Revuelto Flyback Chronograph (a timepiece made in partnership with Lamborghini Squadra Corse). Each model speaks at lengths to the future of ‘Hyper Horology’—watchmaking, as Roger Dubuis puts it, that pushes the boundaries of traditional watchmaking.

Roger Dubuis

“Roger Dubuis proposes a unique blend of contemporary design and haute horlogerie and the Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph is the perfect illustration of this craft,” says Sadry Keiser, Chief Marketing Officer. “For its design, we took inspiration from the MonovortexTM Split-Seconds Chronograph, while we decided to power the timepiece with an iconic complication, the flyback chronograph, also marking its come back in the Maison’s collections.”

The Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph is bold and flashy—a chronograph made to be seen, especially at its 45mm size. But Roger Dubuis wouldn’t have it any other way. The supercar-inspired watch is certainly captivating in the flesh. Its multi-dimensional design reveals different layers of technical genius as you spend time with it: from its case crafted from lightweight carbon to its hyper-resistant ceramic bezel, black DLC titanium crown, open case back with sapphire crystal, and elegant rubber strap to tie the watch together, it’s a sporty yet incredibly refined timepiece.

The new RD780 chronograph calibre powers the chronograph, a movement fully integrated with two patents: one linked to the second hand of the chronograph and the other to the display of the minute counter. The chronograph also features a flyback function.

The complete set is now available at the Sydney Boutique for those wishing to see the Roger Dubuis Chronograph Collection firsthand.

Roger-Dubuis

 

Roger-Dubuis

Model: Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph
Diameter: 45mm
Material: C-SMC Carbon case
Water resistance: 100m

Movement: RD780 calibre
Complication: Chronograph, date
Functions: hours, minutes, and central seconds
Power reserve: 72 hours

Bracelet: Black rubber strap

Availability: upon request
Price: $150,000


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