Gerald Genta has always been a genius, who was not recognized during his lifetime. All of his now iconic inventions - be it Royal Oak, Nautilus or Bvlgari-Bvlgari - won appreciation long after they were created. But this fact never stopped Genta. He did not doubt himself, and while the manufactures were trying to figure out how to sell the Gerald's creations, Genta was engaged in creating his own brands.
In 1969 Genta established his main brand, simply naming it Gérald Genta, striving for absolute creative freedom without any restrictions in financing or meeting brand identities. Gerald did not plan to produce large series of watches – instead, he wanted to focus on designing unique works of art.
In the 1980s, Genta took a rather unexpected step. He collaborated with The Walt Disney Company to put Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy on the dials of his watches. If you think that these were simple everyday watches, then you are mistaken. Gerald knew how to create basic sports models in a steel case, but Disney characters were normally complemented with cases in platinum or 18K gold.
While Genta was developing his own brand, he managed to create watches for other prestigious manufactures and make bespoke orders for King Hassan II of Morocco, Prince Rainier III of Monaco, Juan Carlos and Sofia - the King and Queen of Spain and for Elizabeth II - Queen of Great Britain.
Gerald Genta has always been a genius, who was not recognized during his lifetime. All of his now iconic inventions - be it Royal Oak, Nautilus or Bvlgari-Bvlgari - won appreciation long after they were created.
In 1994 Genta made the most complicated watch in the world on request from the royal client. The Octo Grande Sonnerie Tourbillon featured a grande et petite sonnerie with Westminster carillon striking on four gongs, plus a tourbillon and automatic winding. The minute repeater chimed a tone that matched that of the United Kingdom’s Big Ben.
Five years after the record, Gerald sold the Gérald Genta brand, when it was at its peak, to Bulgari. All the craftsmen who worked for Genta went to the production cite located in Le Sentier. Earlier Genta created one of the most iconic models for the Italian brand – the Bvlgari-Bvlgari watch. He drew inspiration from ancient Roman coins with inscriptions along the edges and columns of ancient temples. The Bvlgari-Bvlgari wristwatch has been around for almost 40 years and over the years has changed its appearance quite a bit.
Gerald's influence on Bulgari is hard to overestimate. His ideas and recognizable style can still be traced in the current models of the manufacture. In 2019, Bvlgari celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Gérald Genta brand with a special platinum watch featuring in-house movement with bidirectional automatic winding, jumping hours, retrograde minutes and retrograde date. This is how the dial of the famous Arena model, invented by Genta, looked like.
Bulgari acknowledges that the purchase of Gerald's manufacture has greatly influenced the development of the brand. It was this deal that allowed the craftsmen, for example, to learn how to create watches with a minute repeater complication. And, if not for Genta, Bulgari would never have been able to develop the ultra-thin Finissimo movement, which has allowed the brand to collect five world records to date. Gerald knew all about high complications and superb design in watches and was eager to share his experience and knowledge, which is why his legacy still lives on.