The Watch Designed At Lunch On The Back Of A Napkin

Patek Philippe Nautilus Patent Application

So this guy goes into a restaurant, sits down, and eats lunch. He looks at a table across the room where some watch company staffers are seated eating theirs. All of a sudden, he has an idea.

He calls his waiter over and says, “Bring me a piece of paper and a pencil. I want to design something.”

The waiter brought the paper and pencil. The guy sketched out his idea. Five minutes later, he was done.

The thing he sketched? Nothing less than the Patek Philippe Nautilus. The guy of course, was Gerald Genta and the year was 1974. The restaurant? In a hotel across the street from the Basel Watch Fair, as it was known in those days. And the inspirational watch company staffers across the room? You’ve guessed by now, they were from Patek Philippe, themselves taking a break from the show.

A couple of years later, in 1976, the Nautilus would be featured at that year’s Basel extravaganza. And Mr. Genta would have another major notch on his belt (The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak was his too, along with thousands of other lesser-known designs).

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