Gerald Genta, the genius of watch design, died yesterday at age 80

Marina Milojević | 08.18.11 | 01:09 AM

We just received sad news that respected watch designer Gerald Genta died yesterday at age 80.

Charles Gérald Genta, watch designer extraordinaire, made some of the most iconic timepieces of the 20th century. His creative mind stands behind Audemars Piguet's Royal Oak, IWC's Ingenieur SL, Omega's Seamaster Constellation, Patek Philippe's Nautilus and the Cartier Pasha. Genta started his own brand in 1969, and embarked on a personal journey to create timepieces that truly stand out from the rest of luxury watches. Genta had an untamed passion for sonneries, and even created the Grande Sonnerie Retro, the world's most complicated wristwatch, and priced at approximately $2 million. Genta sold his company to Bulgary in 1998, and devoted himself to paint, only to start a new venture in 2001, when he launched his new "Gérald Charles" brand.

The latest piece he was working on was sketched for the Swedish watch brand Arlanch, one of the youngest watch manufacturers founded in 2007. All of their timepieces are made from pure natural materials, according to the principles of ecology. The cases are handcrafted from recycled gold, and the leather straps are made without the use of PCP and other synthetic and often allergenic materials. The watch was also supposed to be automatic and use Swiss made La Joux-Perret caliber 3532 movement - a mechanism that offers 44 hours of power reserve and beats at 28,800 Vph. Design drafts, signed by the great master, show the octagonal case design that recalls the original Royal Oak, by Audemars Piguet. There is a large date aperture at 12 o’clock and a small seconds sub-dial with the Arlanch logo at 6 o’clock. We'll will sorely miss the greatest watch designer of our time.