Gerald Genta – Who Will Remember?

| August 23, 2011 | 9 Replies

Dear Manufactures,

It has been all over the web these past few days: much-loved watch designer Gerald Genta sadly passed away on August 16th aged 80. There is no need to recall here how he contributed to the design of some of the most iconic watches of this past third of a century, from the Royal Oak of Audemars Piguet, to the Nautilus de Patek Philippe, through to the Ingenieur of IWC and Omega’s Constellation.

Humble and modest witnesses of the inexorable flow of the watchmaking life, many journalists dedicated some articles to this amazing man and his contribution. And there was no doubt that your brands, which owes him an incredible part of your current business, would give him a vibrant farewell and last goodbye.

But you did not.

As this article is published (things may change), none of you decided that Genta’s death was worth a few words. Not a single press release, not a single word on your homepage, nothing. Yes, Lebron James’ first visit to China as an ambassador is newsworthy, but surely so is this? The watchmaking industry lost one of its greatest designers, a man whom without many of you would not be where you are today if he had not stepped into your office one day, and yet it seems it’s just business as usual.

To be honest this was somewhat disappointing if not a bit shocking for us here at The Watch Lounge, with our very modest contribution to the world of watchmaking and its related news. We have always been strong believers in the strength of human creation, will and vision and constantly seek to re-enforce how important the people behind the watches are, like here or here. And whilst we think this especially important for small brands that do not have the same marketing capacities as their larger counterparts, we think it is even more important to show you that ‘references’ in a catalogue first started life as simple sketches.

Dear Manufacturers, you continue to enchant us with your mind-blowing creations each and every day, and we thank you for that. But the complete lack of ‘in memoriam’ words for Gerald Genta from you is a real shame…

We will always remember what this great man has contributed, but will you?

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Category: Special Features

About the Author ()

Olivier Muller is half Swiss, half French, and has been raised in the world of haute horlogerie & luxury watches right from the cradle. He now works in Public Relations in Paris.

Comments (9)

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  1. You know it’s funny (and I think Greg Pons had a similar reaction, except he did not publish at the time either) as soon as I heard this sad news from Hodinkee, I figured it would be a deluge of memorials from the entire industry – but as you point out, total blackout. I figured, what the heck, couple days, it will be all over the watch news – nothing.
    Hayek keels over, and you’d think the world had ended. In the nice guy category, I believe Gerals was above and beyond the venrable Nick but I guess “nice” doesn’t buy you love in the industry :)
    In either case, it is indeed a disturbing behavior we’ve witnessed here – and I guess it wasn’t just me thinking “what the hell is wrong with these people?!?”

    Great piece –
    J.

  2. Roberta Naas says:

    I would like to say that on the day i learned of Gerald Genta’s death, I mourned. Having been in this industry 27 years as a watch journalist, i have had the wonderful opportunity of meeting him on many an occasion in our younger years and thereafter. And I wrote about his death – not the watches he created, but the person he was — i am sorry the industry as a whole, missed it!
    http://www.atimelyperspective.com/blog/2011/8/17/time-capsules-commentary-watch-industry-loses-a-legend-geral.html

  3. Marcus says:

    Olivier – thanks a lot for your article. You simply wrote down what watch enthusiast all over the world feel … and know.

    Gerald Genta cannot be ignored – and he will live on forever in his unique designs that influenced so many watch companies.

  4. Olivier Muller says:

    Thank you all for your warm comments – straight to my heart, and much appreciated. I received a lot of emails, DM, tweets, etc. on the minutes after the article was published. I wish I could say I’m truly honored, but, sincerely, I would have prefered not to write such an article.

    I just felt it was necessary, and it seems that you Roberta along with Greg we all felt the same way.

    Thank you very much again, and thank you too to all of you who retweeted or posted it too.

    Olivier Müller

  5. Frank says:

    Spoken from the heart and I couldn’t agree more! It makes you think about what really matters to the big brands.
    The incredible silence actually made the death of this great watch designer even more sad than it already is.

    Thanx for a great and perfectly honest article!

  6. Tom Mulraney says:

    Thanks everyone for your comments, we really appreciate the support! This is certainly something that is close to the hearts of both Olivier and myself (and obviously many of our readers and those in the industry) and I am glad to see that not everyone shares the view that the sad passing of Mr. Genta is a “non-event.”

    I really enjoyed your article by the way Roberta, a fitting tribute to a great man :)

  7. Roberta Naas says:

    Thank you to all of you – to you guys for bringing up the idea that the industry didn’t address Genta’s death and for your comments about my piece. I actually could have written more, but we all know that no one likes to read a lot when it comes to short “blog” pieces. It’s funny but it is hard to get traffic and readership sometimes on line, but when you write from the heart it doesn’t really matter — it’s just about putting it out there. I spoke to a few PR people of different brands after Genta’s death to find out if they were issuing releases and they all said something would be forthcoming — but nothing came. I wonder, as you do, why? or why not?

  8. Lady and Gentlemen,

    I don’t know how our modest contribution made things move on, but there we go, it’s about time :

    http://revo-online.com/forums/main/read.php?10,1001941

  9. Jeff g says:

    Considering the magnitude of this man’s contributions to our passion for the wristwatch, I too am bemused as to the lack of response by the major manufacture’s, to this man’s passing.
    The AP RO, and the PP Nautilus, are two of the classic iconic sport watches of our or any one’s generation.
    His genius deserves industry recognition at the very least.

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