Culture / Auctions

Never-Before-Seen Drawings by Gérald Genta Up For Auction

Successful bidders will also have an NFT replica of each physical artwork.

Dec 23, 2021 | By Sarah Ridzwan
gerald genta
Image: Sotheby’s

Gérald Genta, the famed watch designer, will have his private vault to be opened for the first time since his death ten years ago. Some of the items in his vault will be put up for auction, along with a surprise. Sotheby’s has announced it will offer 100 original drawings from Genta in spring 2022 with NFT replicas of each physical artwork. 

Select drawings and watercolours will feature never-before-seen archive material and multimedia biographical content. There is even a chance to bid on Genta’s iconic 1970 sketch for the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and his original design for the Patek Philippe Nautilus.

The works will be presented in a three-part sale, titled “Gérald Genta: Icon of Time” and will take place in three cities: Geneva, Hong Kong, and New York from February through April next year.

genta watch designs
Image: Sotheby’s

Following the series, avid watch collectors can battle it out for the designer’s personal Royal Oak from Audemars Piguet. Made from yellow gold and stainless steel, the unique timepiece will be included in Sotheby’s Biannual Auction in Geneva. The sale takes place in May 2022 and will coincide with the model’s 50th anniversary of its release. Also up for auction are four rare oil paintings by Genta. Each painting is said to pay tribute to the Nautilus and Royal Oak references.

For those who manage to acquire it, the Genta NFTs will serve as a record of ownership for each design. The value of each physical artwork bought is directly connected to its digital counterpart, as it cannot be resold without the NFT that confirms its authenticity. Bidding on the NFT lots will start at 100 CHF for the Geneva sale, HKD$1,000 for the Hong Kong sale, and US$100 for the New York sale.

gerald genta audemars piguet
Image: Sotheby’s

For the uninitiated, Gérald Genta was born in Geneva in 1931 and earned his Swiss Federal Diploma as a jeweller and goldsmith by age of 20. One of his early pieces was Universal Genève’s Polerouter before he went on to design some of the most iconic watch designs of the 20th Century. 

In a statement, Genta’s partner, Evelyne Genta, explains: “Gérald was always ahead of his time — it seemed only natural to continue his legacy of pushing boundaries in watchmaking, by reviving these revolutionary sketches with today’s most innovative artform: NFTs.”

gerald genta disney
Image: Sotheby’s

Additional drawings to be offered in “Gérald Genta: Icon of Time Sale” include the Disney Collection of “Fantasy” watches, requested from the CEO of the company and released in 1986; the Pasha de Cartier models first released in 1985, three Grand Sonnerie wristwatch designs from 1995 that were made to emulate London’s Big Ben, and other grand commissions for royalty including the Queen Mother of England.

The auction dates for the Geneva sale are from February 10-24, Hong Kong from March 10-24, and New York from April 13-27. A portion of the proceeds from the sales will go towards the Gérald Genta Heritage Association. Visit Sotheby’s website for more information.

Other high-profile auctions include Karl Lagerfeld’s estate auctions. Recently in Paris, €6.2 million worth of possessions from the late Karl Lagerfeld were sold.  And two world records were set for a crocodile Chanel handbag and an artwork of Martin Szekely.

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