Geneva may be the epicenter of the watchmaking world but Paris is going to see its share of horological pilgrimages thanks to the new Gérald Genta Heritage Association. Honoring one of watchmaking’s most legendary designers, who created the iconic Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, the Patek Philippe Nautilus, and the IWC Ingenieur SL (among countless others), the newly established foundation will focus on “raising awareness around the generosity, creativity, and visionary spirit” of the man often known as the ‘Picasso of Watches’, the London Telegraph reports.
Audemars Piguet’s Offshore collection is a modern and sporty take on Gérald Genta’s classic Royal Oak design.
The Gérald Genta Heritage Association
The GGHA’s secondary function, to “nurture the next generation of watch designers,” is equally important. It will also house Genta’s considerable archive, curated by his wife Evelyne Genta, a diplomat who worked alongside her late husband for almost 20 years as Commercial Managing Director of their company, and who will serve as president of the Gérald Genta Heritage Association. The CEO of Audemars Piguet and the president of the Cartier Foundation are among the watch world luminaries who are supporting the GGHA.
Some of Genta’s other notable designs include the Universal Genève Polerouter, the Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse, the Cartier Pasha de Cartier, the Bulgari Bulgari, and a number of watches in Omega’s Constellation range. He started his own watch brand in 1969 which was later sold, as was another that he created in 1998. The Geneva-born Genta, who died in Monaco in 2011, was one of the watch industry’s most influential figures, and the GGHA will honor his life and work in an appropriate manner, with exhibits and resources for scholars, along with partnerships with design schools.
The Patek Philippe Nautilus is another Gérald Genta creation that has gone on to become a true icon of the luxury timepiece industry.
“The encouragement and mentorship we want to bring to the designers and pioneers of tomorrow is an integral part of our association’s raison d’être,” Evelyne Genta tells the paper. “It is in this perspective that I would like to invite watchmaking enthusiasts and lovers of Gérald’s legacy to join us so that his innovative work and memory continue to shine, encourage and inspire the young talents of today.”
The man himself, Gérald Genta: the ‘Picasso of Watches’