The Manual Wind: The Forgotten Octo
The watch world is a small one. Given the wide range of offerings to it’s niche consumer, it is sometimes hard to believe that it is such a modest front of shared history and manufacturing incest. During this now booming industries resurgence, talent was quickly realized and extolled. There is no better example of dispersed talent in the watch world than that of Gerald Genta. Born in 1931, Genta did not only master the art of watchmaking, but is heralded with some of the most iconic designs in watch history. This profound list includes the Pasha de Cartier, Bulgari Bulgari-Bulgari, IWC Ingenieur, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, and the Patek Philippe Nautilus. Christie’s auction house referred to Genta’s work as “the Faberge of watches.” One Genta design that flies under the radar but is as distinguished as the preceding lists entrants is the Octo. Originally the flagship of his namesake brand, the Octo shares some of it’s prominent design features with the Royal Oak and Nautilus. Named for its bezel, the Octo places a brushed bezel similar to that of the Nautilus atop an octagonal base reminiscent of the Royal Oak bezel. The sharp lines and edges of the case give the piece a layered appearance even though it is a single cast piece. This robustly modern case and bezel combination make the Octo more of a piece of art or architecture than simply a timepiece.
Having housed numerous dial designs and complications the Octo has received its fair share of praise but in recent years has not gotten the recognition it deserves. This piece, along with the rest of the now dormant Gerald Genta line, now lives on bearing the Bulgari name.
With a revamp and a big push set for this iconic design by Bulgari, hopefully the late Gerald Genta (who passed on 2011) will soon receive acclaim for what might be his most dramatic design. Take a look and see if Bulgari has upheld the Genta name under its flag.