Today, we study three such watches from Genta and unlike the way he has infused easily identifiable, signature features in the sport watches he masterminded (e.g. strong bezel, exposed screws, integrated lugs etc), we have seen a wide array of approaches and aesthetics applied in his dressier creations. And we absolutely love the creativity displayed.
Let's check them out!
The In-Your-Face Fashion Watch: The Bulgari-Bulgari
Set aside the namesake engravings, the Bulgari-Bulgari is a through and through dress watch with its classic proportion and features like straight lugs, which add to its elegance. For the past decades or so, the timepieces under the Bulgari-Bulgari line have remained largely the same in terms of appearance and overall styling, a strong ratification to Genta's timeless genius.
It's a Little Bit Funny: The Gerald Genta "Mickey Mouse" Watches
Both watches shown above (in sketch and in picture) carry what we call, a retrograde minute scale, as it does not span across the entire dial face, taking up only roughly two-third of the space. The hand(s) (or golf club) of Mickey serve as the minute hand and run along the minute scale from 0 to 60. Once they hit 60, they "jump" straight back to 0 along the scale, this time in opposite direction and simultaneously the hour counters (placed at 3 and 4 o'clock respectively) advance, indicating the passage of an hour. This rather novel way of telling time, plus how it visually interacts with perhaps the most loved and playful cartoon characters around the world (imaging when that golf club jumps from 60 to 0? Yes! A perfect golf swing!), makes them really popular to collectors.
Perhaps what's more interesting about these fun pieces is that, they show how creative and unrestrained Genta has been as a product designer. While being perfectly capable of bringing to life watches that meant business, he's not shying away from other forms of artistic expressions: if Genta saw it worthy, he would build it.
The Jetsetter: The Universal Geneve Polerouter
However, flying across the Arctic brings about a new problem - magnetism. For one thing, it stood to mess up time-keeping instruments onboard, which could potentially lead to miscalculation of vital information such as flight time, thus distance travelled etc. Universal Geneve, being the official timepiece supplier to SAS crew at the time, was tasked to come up with watches that could come out reasonably functional on the other sides of the Arctic in-flight. The Polerouter was Universal Geneve's answer to the pressing question.
While the then 20-something Genta had little to do with the mechanical side of the Polerouter (e.g. the famous micro-rotor movement powering it), Universal Geneve did tap Genta to give the Polerouter its iconic look. The overall styling of the Polerouter was rather special with enticing design cues such as inner engraved index ring with contrasting inner disk in color, the famous "cross" that cuts through the inner disk, sharp hands etc. And it feels entirely in place worn under a suit despite setting out to be a functional watch. And if the lug looks somewhat familiar, don't doubt, because it does. Think the Seamaster? Well guess what, the lug designs for both were from Genta. Heck, even the Speedmaster shares somewhat similar lugs! It's absolutely amazing to a 1950s Genta design has managed to transcend time and found its way to even more products in 2016. And that, is why there could only be one and only one, Gerald Genta.
Summing up our two-part Genta series, we'd like to advise that, next time when you see an uncommon-looking timepiece it might be worthwhile to Google it up to see if it's a Genta design, because you know what, it could totally be!
Until next time.