BREAKING: The First Gérald Genta Luxury Steel Watch Uncovered! (Spoiler Alert: It’s NOT an Audemars Piguet or Patek Philippe)
History says that Gérald Genta’s first luxury steel sports watch was the Royal Oak – designed in 1970 – but that’s not true.
An Icon of Time for IWC
The below drawing, depicting an unrealized vision for an IWC chronograph, has been dated to 1967, a full four years before Genta sketched the now iconic Royal Oak. The sketch has no name, and we do not know much about it.
Here is what we do know about this newly discovered design of horology. The design and dial layout would suggest it was designed around a manually winding chronograph movement, which were, for the most part, phased out after the advent of the automatic chronograph movement in 1969.
Interestingly, IWC employee since 1972 Hannes Pantli was deeply involved in the brand’s chronograph efforts when this unrealized design would have been submittted, but had been completely unaware of this design's existence when asked about it by Dr. Seyffer, the curator of the IWC Museum.
Finally, research from the IWC Museum shows that IWC was looking to add a chronograph model to the catalogue as early as 1967, which was likely the impetus behind Genta’s sketch.