Terms like "genius" and "legendary" are often thrown around with so much hyperbole these days but Gérald Genta really lives up to basically any superlative you assign to him.

Genta is basically the watch industry's Tinker Hatfield and is likely its best-known designer: it helps to have designed classics like Audemars Piguet's Royal Oak and Patek Philippe's Nautilus.

Though he passed in 2011, Genta's influence still reverberates throughout the watch biz and even the luxury industry at large.

Beyond the slew of inimitable designs he created for brands like AP, Patek, Cartier (Pasha), Bulgari (Octo), and IWC (Ingenieur), for instance, we've seen his work used as the template to inspire fresh creations and set new standards for opulence.

This is the designer who was tapped to create bespoke timepieces for humble clients that included the Kings of Spain, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco, and the Queen Mother of England, after all.

Now, Genta's expansive archive has inspired a once-in-a-lifetime sale (more hyperbolic adjectives!) filled with treasures available nowhere else.

From Genta's personal one-of-a-kind AP Unique Royal Oak watch (expected hammer price: $300,000-$500,000) to his collection of original sketches to four original Genta oil paintings, Sotheby's Gérald Genta sale is packed to the brim.

Appropriately titled "Picasso of Watches Goes Digital," the auction takes the digital component very seriously, pairing each item with an original NFT, though I'm not entirely sure why. The real good news is that a portion of proceeds benefit the Gérald Genta Heritage Association.

"First and foremost Gérald was an artist," said Evelyne Genta, Gérald’s life and business partner, the current owner of Genta's portfolio.

"With this sale, we are continuing Gérald’s legacy of innovation. He was always at least five or ten years ahead of his time... He was the very first to usher in this new era - always bringing his absolute passion as an artist to his work, and never compromising on his vision. This is what set him apart.”

"Gérald Genta will always be best remembered for initiating the now ubiquitous trend for sports-chic steel wristwatches," continued Sam Hines, Sotheby’s Worldwide Head of Watches. "However, his legacy is much broader than this, touching almost every area of the watch industry with his reimagination of watches from the inside out."

The sale begins on Sotheby's site and simultaneously at international metropolitan hubs in early 2022, culminating in the sale of Genta's personal AP in May 2022.

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