Genta had just one night ahead of him to design a watch that would ordinarily take several weeks and call for hundreds of sketches. By early morning, the drawing perfectly conveyed his first idea: that of a diving-suit helmet featuring all the details of the watch that was to become the Royal Oak, a design that would in fact never be fundamentally altered.
A steel sports watch went completely against everything that had been created up until then, and was the start of a revolution that transformed the international watchmaking scene and contributed to reaffirming Audemars Piguet’s unmistakable spirit of independence.
Gérald Genta passed away at the end of summer 2011. As the creator of the “watch stylist” profession, he founded a brand under his own name and never stopped drawing watches. Responsible not only for the Royal Oak revolution, but also some of the greatest designs in 20th century watchmaking, he should above all be revered for the avant-garde nature of his dynamic vision of “revolutionary” watchmaking.
An authentic, original, innovative creative talent and “gentleman” in the true sense of the term, Gérald Genta will be remembered for his colorful personality, generosity, innovation, visionary spirit and passion for watchmaking tradition, to which his contribution is unparalleled. He will be sorely missed by all lovers of Fine Watchmaking. This 40th anniversary celebration for the Royal Oak would not be complete without a resounding tribute to an authentic 20th century genius.
- More information about the 40th anniversary on our dedicated section.