Gerald Genta's Only Royal Oak
Gerald Genta, the Picasso of watchmaking, the man behind the Royal Oak, just owned one Royal Oak. And that same watch was sold for $2.1 million earlier this year in May. Another fun fact about this watch is that this watch is the only watch owned by Gerald Genta to have ever come to auction.
If you are new to the watchmaking industry, you probably do not know Gerald Genta and his contributions to watchmaking. Do not worry, as that is what we will be looking at today.
Gerald Genta And His Contributions:
Gerald Genta was born in Geneva on the 1st of May 1931 to a Swiss mother and a father of northern Italian descent. He finished his training in jewelry and goldsmithing in Switzerland. He then went on to become the Picasso of watchmaking by creating some of the best timepieces the world has ever seen and helping a few luxury watch manufacturers on the way.
He first got recruited by Universal Genéve. Genta's first iconic contribution to watchmaking came in the form of the Polerouter, which he designed in 1954. Among his notable contributions are the Royal Oak for Audemars Piguet and the Nautilus for Patek Philippe. He is famous for his Royal Oak design, which is what we will look at next.
Gerald Genta And The Royal Oak:
If you do not know the story of Royal Oak, then here we have it in the words of Gerald Genta himself.
"One afternoon, at four o’clock, Mr. Georges Golay, the Managing Director of Audemars Piguet, rings me up and tells me: “Mr. Genta, I need a steel sports watch that has never been done before, I want it to be something totally new and waterproof.” On my part, I understood that what he was looking for was a brand-new waterproofing technology. “I want the design by tomorrow morning.” I designed it overnight and my idea was to replicate the system of the scaphander’s helmet on the watch case. With the eight screws and with the joint visible on the case’s exterior. So I was given the ‘green light’ straight away to begin work on the prototype. I completed the prototype myself within a year. In 1970, I designed the watch. And it took one more year before industrial production, which finally came about in 1972."
This watch saved Audemars Piguet from going out of business during the Quartz crisis and is the reason why Audemars Piguet is so successful today.
The Only Royal Oak Ever Owned By Gerald Genta:
The man that designed the famous watch only owned one of them, which came out to auction in May 2022 and was sold for $2.1 Million.
This watch is part of the original "Jumbo" reference of the Royal Oak, the 5402. It has a C-series which dates back to the 70s. This Audemars Piguet watch is even more unusual because it is two-toned. The case and bracelet are made fully of steel, with the exception of the bezel. Typically the two-tone Royal Oak contains gold central bracelet links, but this watch only has the bezel crafted from gold. Evelyne Genta, the longtime partner of Gerald Genta, says that Genta himself fitted it after he got the watch from Audemars Piguet.
Genta, unfortunately, passed away in 2011. Since then, this watch remained in the possession of his wife, Evelyne.
Now that we have learned about Gerald Genta, his legacy, and his own Royal Oak, let us take a look at some of the best Royal Oaks you can buy today.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak ref. 15500OR.OO.D002CR.01
Here we have the ref. 15500OR.OO.D002CR.01, which has an 18k rose gold case and a black dial. The 41 mm x 10.4 mm case is water resistant to 50 m. It features an automatic movement with a power reserve of about 70 hours. The watch comes with a black leather strap with a folding clasp.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 4100ST
This watch has the same bold design as the original Royal Oak "Jumbo," but with a 34.5 mm stainless steel case, it is designed for smaller wrists. The dial is grey, which complements the case color. It features an automatic movement with a power reserve of 48 hours. This Audemars Piguet Royal Oak has a stainless steel bracelet.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar 26579CB
The Perpetual Calendar 26579CB has a white ceramic case and a blue dial. It features an automatic movement with functions such as the moon phase and the perpetual calendar and has a power reserve of 40 hours. The watch comes with a ceramic bracelet and a titanium clasp.
Gerald Genta is truly an iconic figure in watchmaking, creating some iconic timepieces and helping a few brands on the way. Although he no longer is with us, his legacy remains in the form of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Patek Philippe Nautilus. If you are considering purchasing a Royal Oak, please visit our website.