That is a name that inspires a lot of emotions amongst horologists – and rightly so. A single name responsible for pioneering the designs of many of the most iconic watches of the 20th century; from the Omega Constellation, Pasha de Cartier and IWC Ingenieur and ultimately shaping the contemporary understanding of luxury watch design. This is perhaps embodied most famously of all through the two watches synonymous with the Genta name: the Patek Philippe Nautilus and the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak.
It’s these two timepieces that have exploded with their own fans and critics over the decades – most notably the last few years where they’ve become highly contentious in terms of secondary market pricing. And inevitably, there will be those who try and reel in on that hype. The latest of these is by the company Genius watches – whose legacy offering is something I’ll describe as a bootleg cash grab.
In the words of Hypebeast, the watch “Lets you wear both the Royal Oak and Nautilus at the same time.” The company itself isn’t afraid to drop Gerald Genta as “inspiration” for their design. I can’t speak from a legislative perspective, so I’ll simply share my opinions.
There have been pictures of this watch circulating around for the past several weeks – in closed circles it’s mostly been dismissed as a joke. When I first saw it I thought it was another kickstarter microbrand knocking off the design concept and didn’t think too much of it (I’m sure many others thought the same thing). It wasn’t until the watch was featured on the Patekaholic Instagram page (IE: the largest Patek Philippe page on the platform) and then on the @horological_dicktionary stories did it really reignite my attention.
What it showed was how well connected and coordinated this brand is. Denius (I’ll call them that because that’s what their logo actually looks like to me) was willing to go out of their way to garner attention at a level that far surpassed their credibility and quality offered. This meant that it was no longer in the realm of shameless knockoffs but something that took itself seriously and was willing to dance around IP infringement and cause as much controversy as possible. In other words, this story is the horology equivalent of a tabloid spread. The watch was photographed with TikTok influencer Khaby Lame which showed plans to push this product into the mainstream.
Now, watch collectors are a notoriously difficult group of consumers to get your head around. One person’s grail is another person’s cause for disgust and arguments over the most minute details go on for hours. But this particular case seemed to invoke widespread camaraderie in terms of backlash. The aforementioned Patekaholic post has since been scrubbed – and not after initially limiting comments, then blocking them before ultimately taking it down.
The Denius website ticks all the boxes of cringe with convoluted descriptions, a false aura of quirkiness and graphics that look like they were made using windows 95 and Microsoft Paint.
“GENIUS IS A DESIGN COLLISION, A FORM OF ART COMING FROM THE COSMIC IMPACT OF FORMS. THE TIME OF GENIUS”
That’s the brand statement from the founder and I have no idea what that means.
You can’t ignore referencing of Genta design in their marketing – something that can’t be said for existing bootlegs. This may have been admissible had they taken Genta design cues such as the octagonal/pentagonal shapes, or maritime aesthetics ect. I can’t help but think that they used Genta “inspiration” as a scapegoat to avoid repercussions from Patek and AP. If that’s the case, then that’s nothing but an outright insult. This is nothing but a lack of creativity and appropriation.
This isn’t even something to take my word for – Genta’s daughter, Alexia Genta Dicu made a public post condemning the piece with quote “Just embarrassing. Calling it a homage to my father is as disrespectful as it can get. On top of it the brand actually blocked me from their account. So that’s to say how much they respect my dad”.
It’s best to summarise this watch as deserving negative press and being nothing more than a dishonourable exploitative cash grab. About as tasteful as a PE teacher’s fermented gym socks coated in ghost reaper chillies with a side of fox turds.
NB: I’d like to give credit for @horological_dicktionary on Instagram for keeping me up to date with this story and also providing me with their own personal feedback on the matter.