The Genta Myth

Fact or fiction?  The question of who designed the Vacheron Constantin 222 automatic sports watch is driving me crazy!  A few minutes of internet research pulls up contradictory information from the most ususual sources:

Interview with Claude Daniel Proellochs, CEO of Vacheron ConstantinThe Purists, Sept. 28, 2004 (by our very own Alex) 

TP: You mentioned the Royal Oak earlier, what do you reply to those who find the Overseas to look too much like the Royal Oak?
CDP: I don't think that these watches look alike and it would be suicidal for us to want to copy another brand. Our aim was not to make another Royal Oak because the Royal oak is unique just as the Overseas is unique. But you should remember that the Royal Oak, the Patek Philippe Nautilus and the 222 were all three designed by Gerald Genta, he adapted his design to the perception he had of each brand.

Interview with Gerald Genta Revolution Press Volume 5, April 1, 2006

RP: What were you doing before the Royal Oak?
GG: I was on contract with several houses including Universal, Omega and Audemars Piguet. But at the time I worked in obscurity because the manufactures did not disclose who was working on their watches. You never gave credit to people with ideas; it was always the idea of the manufacuture. The designer was never known by anyone.

RP: Then how did you become known as the creator of these famous watches?
GG: It was only as a result of Japanese collectors and watch magazines that my name became known. When the Royal Oak became a hit, the Japanese wanted to know who had designed it. It was only as a result of their journalists that my name came out. As such, to this day, the relationship between the Japanese and me is very strong.

RP: Were you ever asked to sign non-disclosure contracts?
GG: When the news came out that Gerald Genta had designed the Nautilus, I couldn’t say anything because I was not supposed to as part of my agreement with Patek Philippe. Again it was the journalists that established this.

RP: When did people realize it was actually beneficial to be associated with you?
GG: The funny thing was when IWC read that I had designed the Royal Oak and the Nautilus, they immediately published my name as the person who created the Ingenieur SL. So from there it became a good thing to be associated with me. An when people worked with me, they were open about it.

RP: At the launch of the new Vacheron Constantin Overseas in 2004, former CEO Mr. Proellochs cited your role in the design inspiration of the Overseas’ predecessor, the 222. How do you feel about this? 
GG: Yes, I noticed that Mr. Proellochs mentioned my involvement in Vacheron Constantin’s 222. But I must say I am flattered today when people mention me in conjunction with products. 

Article on Vacheron Constantin's Overseas by Wei Koh 
Revolution Press Volume 7, 2007

The 222 was born through Vacheron Constantin’s collaboration with a young design maverick named Gerald Genta.

That the latest Overseas models have turned out so winningly comes as no surprise when you consider that these watches hold a particularly special place in the heart of CEO Juan-Carlos Torres. Torres’ first project upon joining Vacheron Constantin was the 222, the steel and gold sports watch designed by Gerald Genta and that in truth still provides the genetic tissue of the modern Overseas. 

Torres says, “When I entered Vacheron Constantin, this was the first watch project I worked on. I saw the 222 and I immediately said this watch is strong. So in the future, I might take the design cues of the 222 as the platform on which to evolve the next generation of the Overseas. It could be the perfect balance between power and elegance.”

October 20, 2008, The Hour Lounge 
Post by Alex Ghotbi
"Contrary to popular belief Genta is not the designer of the 222 but...Jorg Hysek!  Recent research in the archives show that it was not Gerald Genta but 23 year old (at the time) design maverick Jorg Hysek who gave life to the 222!"

March 31, 2009, The Hour Lounge 
The Evolution of Vacheron Constantin Sports Watches by Alex Ghotbi
"Contrary to popular belief it is not Gerald Genta but young design maverick Jorg Hysek who is responsible for the 222’s disruptive design."

I absolutely believe Alex's latest information BUT wonder why they got it so wrong in the past?  I included a larger part of Genta's interview for your consideration because of his general thoughts on how it became acceptable to associate a watch with it's designer.

So, what I still would like to know is did Genta have ANYTHING to do with the design of the 222?  Did he work with Hysek or consult with Vacheron on the project for "design inspiration"?  I find Genta's response to the question suspiciously vague.  Alex, can you ask Mr. Torres for the answer?
my info comes straight from the horse's mouth: the people at
05/15/2009 - 11:58
VC who worked on the 222 project. I like Genta's comment: he takes credit without saying anything!!!
My thoughts too...
05/16/2009 - 06:55

Genta's answer was just coy.  But it wasn't a denial.  Now, to be blunt (like always )  it seems that VC was fine with attributing the 222 to Genta when he was hot property.  Genta's comments about other manufactures are just as relevant to VC.  Now they name Hysek but don't explain the change of facts.  Or is it a change of interpretation, ie, Genta consulted but Hysek did the drawings?  Are industry politics involved and Genta is no longer in favor thus history is revised?  Gosh sakes, this isn't that long ago to be shrouded in such mystery . So my question remains...did Genta have ANYTHING to do with the 222?

Genta had nothing to do with the 222 (nt)
05/18/2009 - 11:37
Thanks, now I have the final word! (nt)
05/18/2009 - 19:44
Thanks Dean for this post, made for really interesting reading
05/21/2009 - 19:10

it important to set the record straight, I don't know why Genta is happy to let people believe that he created the watch (after all that he's accomplished, does he really need the extra credz?)