Vintage Watch Blog.
There are very few people that would argue with you, that Gerald Genta was the most important watch designer of the 20th and 21st Century. In fact, just about every major Swiss watch brand was lined up to try to hire Genta for his design work. Genta was born 1931 in Geneva, the luxury watch capital of the world, and went on to be the single most influential figure in modern horology. His unique designs and legendary attention to detail, to this day, are still regarded as the very best in modern design, such as the highly successful AP Royal Oak. I recently had the pleasure to feel, touch and learn more about this watch and the new line of Bvlgari while in St. Thomas at International Diamonds. Watch the videos below to learn more.
AP took a huge financial and brand risk in the late 1960's in deciding to design and launch the Royal Oak. In fact, the Royal Oak entered the market in 1972, the year my sister Tara was born ...not relevant at all, and was not initially well received. Critics from all over the world said it may be too modern and the watch was also chastised for what was perceived as an outrageous price. And it was, if your benchmark was the Rolex Submariner or any other established functional waterproof watch of the time. The Royal Oak was often much more expensive in stainless steel than even solid gold dive watches from the period. By the mid 70's the watch was starting to take off and since then has been one of the most legendary watches of all time, right up there with the Patek Philippe Nautilus, another Genta design.
Genta's other most famed watches were the Universal Geneve Polerouter and the Omega Constellation to name a couple. These were some of the most loved Genta designs along with the Royal Oak and the Nautilus.
Now that we've mentioned Universal Geneve, that leads us to a more uncommon but important Genta design, the Golden and White Shadow, launched in the 1960's by Universal along with using their in-house horology prowess by implementing their newer micro-rotor calibre. Unlike some of the other watch manufacturers that Genta worked with, Universal's appetite for in-house innovation was more predominant especially when you consider the Royal Oak's first versions implementing Jaeger-LeCoultre movements.
The Golden Shadow and White Shadow were first produced in 1965 and were the thinnest automatic watch movements at the time, with a thickness of only 2.3mm. This record was held until 1978. The Shadows were also designed by Genta and were available in 18K yellow and white gold as the Golden Shadow, and in stainless steel as the White Shadow. Both watches contained the Caliber 2-66 micro rotor movement up until the late 1960s. This watch is unchartered territory in the vintage market and is likely to appreciate rapidly; as the market is now discovering some of these treasures that were overlooked in the past. The White Shadow, in particular, is a great candidate for appreciation due to its brand, calibre, designer and very low production numbers.
Adam J. Dubilo, founder of Adam Vintage
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