Enrico Barbasini and Michel Navas made a special appearance at the Miami event. The pair are currently heading up the La Fabrique du Temps, LVMH’s specialty watch manufacturer, but are maybe best known for the ample time they spent working with Gérald Genta, who is responsible for designing heat like the Patek Philippe Nautilus and Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. Barbasini said he had a job offer from Patek Philippe coming out of university, but decided to hitch his wagon to Genta instead. ”When I finished school, the day after that I was at Gérald Genta,” Barbasini said. “When I started, the first day I worked on a minute repeater pocket watch.”
Last year, LVMH announced that Barbasini and Navas are heading up the resurrection of Genta’s eponymous brand through La Fabrique du Temps. Along with a select group of journalists in Miami, I got to sit down with Navas and Barbasini. Here are a few highlights.
On Genta’s notorious Disney collaboration, which got him kicked out of the 1984 Montres et Bijoux tradeshow (and which the new GG is bringing back with a golfing Donald Duck graphic)
Barbasini: Mr. Genta said they’re too serious. They don’t do nothing. We have to do something to wake up the watchmakers.
Navas: The others didn’t like this meeting of high watchmaking and these Disney movies.
Barbasini: But I think it’s a great idea because perhaps our industry is not as strong today if Mr. Gentile didn’t exist. The mentality of Mr. Genta is important in our in our industry today.
GQ: I was told they’re doing the Donald Duck because [Barbasini is] such an enthusiastic golf player. What’s your golf game like?
Barbasini: I’m not very good. My handicap is 17.3. Before I worked on this brand, I was playing not every day, but for three or four days per week. Now I play once every three weeks.
On the super-hot Louis Vuitton Monterey II
Navas: I love this model of Monterey. Jean [Arnault, the director of watches at Louis Vuitton] loves this model. Yeah, We dream about [bringing it back]…someday.
On Genta’s love of painting and hatred of jewelry
Navas: He started with a jewelry school but very quickly he threw away his jewelry tools [LITERALLY threw them into Lake Geneva] because he wanted to make designs.
We have the collection of all the paintings he did. We have more than 3,000 paintings from Genta. He was painting every day.