Sotheby’s auctions paintings of watches by Gerald Genta


Gerald Genta is a world-renowned watch designer, but the man behind watch awards like Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Patek Philippe Nautilus preferred to call himself an artist or a painter. This spring, Genta fans will have the opportunity to obtain some of his works as Sotheby’s has scheduled a three-part online auction of 100 of Mr. Genta’s paintings.

The sale, titled “Gerald Genta: Icon of Time,” is due to culminate in May, at a date yet to be announced, when Sotheby’s Geneva plans a live auction of Mr. Genta’s Royal Oak. While details are unsettled, a portion of the proceeds from the sale are expected to go to the Gerald Genta Heritage Association, primarily for an award to recognize emerging design talent.

The paintings, all watercolors, primarily depict Mr. Genta’s watch designs and were selected from his 3,250 paintings by Evelyne Genta, his widow and longtime business partner. “I wanted to give a very diverse view of his talent,” she said. “Gérald could make ladies’ watches, jewelry, objects, a Mickey watch, a Grande Sonnerie. So it was quite difficult to choose the hundred.

Sotheby’s said each painting will be accompanied by an NFT featuring an artistic digital representation of the design – an item that has become popular at contemporary art auctions.

A centerpiece of the first sale, February 10-24, based in Geneva, will be Mr. Genta’s first design for the Royal Oak, which Audemars Piguet introduced in 1972. In Hong Kong, March 7-16, will be Mr. Genta’s original design for the 1976 Patek Philippe Nautilus as well as three designs for Mr. Genta’s 1995 Grande Sonnerie, then one of the most complicated watches in the world. And the New York sale, April 14-28, will feature the design of a 1986 Disney watch with a retrograde display, now a signature complication of Mr. Genta.

Sotheby’s set minimum bid limits of 100 Swiss francs, or $108, for the Geneva auction; 1,000 Hong Kong dollars, or $129, in Hong Kong; and $100 in New York.

Mr. Genta’s personal Royal Oak, with a pre-sale estimate of $300,000 to $500,000, is expected to fetch the highest price of the event because, Mrs. Genta said, he has customized the piece with a bezel in yellow gold. “He modified it himself,” she recalls. “It’s a completely unique piece that never existed.”

Would her husband have approved of the NFT additions? “Gerald would have loved the idea of ​​an NFT,” Ms. Genta said. “He was very forward-thinking.”


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