Ingenieux Watches Is The Incestuous Love-Child Of Hype Culture & Bad Design
— Updated on 30 January 2023

Ingenieux Watches Is The Incestuous Love-Child Of Hype Culture & Bad Design

— Updated on 30 January 2023
Nick Kenyon
Nick Kenyon

What do you get when you combine two iconic watch designs with a culture of cash-grabbing hype? If you said Ingenieux Watches, you’d be correct, as the recently relaunched watch brand has taken the broad brushstrokes of the Patek Philippe Nautilus and the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and smashed them together into something that can only be described as a high-speed horological car crash.

Let’s start by acknowledging just how hard really good watch design is to do, from the technical challenges of creating a movement whose functions will be nicely laid out on the dial, to the practical and aesthetic details of the dial, case, and bracelet. These mechanical and visual challenges can be tough to resolve without dozens of design drafts and prototypes, which is why a timepiece that looks good and works well isn’t always easy to find.

With the design of Ingenieux Watches, we have a very literal homage to two of the most popular and recognisable watch designs in the last half-century, taking half from the Patek Philippe Nautilus and the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak that were both designed by the legendary Gerald Genta in the 1970s. Called the Liaison, the bottom half of the watch has the angular bracelet, octagonal bezel (with exposed screw heads), and “Grand Tapisserie” dial pattern of the Royal Oak, while the top half features the distinctly brushed and polished bracelet, the porthole-inspired case and bezel and striped dial of the Nautilus.

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Not only is this a crudely fused pastiche of two genuinely great, but much-hyped watch designs, but before the brand was called Ingenieux Watches it was called Genius Genta in direct reference to the man whose designs they’ve ripped off. The subject of homage or “inspired” watches might be a contentious one among the watch community, but even Gerald Genta’s wife and daughter, Evelyne, and Alexia have come out to condemn the project publicly.

This is where the business practices of Genius Genta deserve some attention. Not only did they create a Genius Genta “fan account” on Instagram with tens of thousands of likely purchased followers, but they have deliberately ignored the overwhelmingly negative feedback on the design of their watch, to the point that the project required a rebrand to Ingenieux Watches.

In the Genius Genta days, the brand must have spent big promoting the watch on social media, managing to land on the wrist of many legitimate celebrities, as well as a number of influencers in the watch community. This included the TikTok star Khaby Lame and musician Ed Sheeran, as well as watch collectors Massimo Margaritelli, and John Goldberger.

While Genius Genta may be defunct the terrible design lives on through Ingenieux Watches, which continues to promote itself through Giorgia Mondani and the auction house Antiquorum. Giorgia Mondani is a legitimate watch enthusiast and expert, having published many books on the history of Rolex and Patek Philippe through her Mondani Books company, as well as being selected to sit on the GPHP jury in 2022.

In a recent post to her Instagram, Mondani was pushing example 0 of 99 pieces of the Ingenieux Watches Liaison which is easily the brand’s worst design yet. Linked to an NFT backed by the Hodie NFT Marketplace (need we recall the endemic levels of fraud on other NFT marketplaces), not only does the dial feature a QR code (Bulgari copped an L for this too), but it’s also been executed in the same Tiffany blue of Patek Philippe’s last ref. 5711.

As you would hope, the Tiffany-blue-NFT-Nautilus-Royal-Oak was laid on the barbeque of Instagram comments and set to burnt-to-a-fucking-crisp, with hundreds of commenters torching the horrifying horological creation. Beyond the fact that the quality of the watch was very visibly lacking, with multiple hour markers doing their best “leaning tower of Pisa” impression, the post also saw the designer of the watch, Marco Mavilla, attempt to defend the design while admitting “Genius Genta was a mistake (not mine) that’s why I created IngenieuxWatches.”

Considering there are no discernable differences between the watches of Genius Genta and Ingenieux Watches, it’s a strange claim by Mavilla who went on to explain, “Time is collision… something too new for most of collectors, is my opus to provoke the world in order to change it…” Perhaps his vision is “too new” for us mere mortals, but the only visible collision here could be compared to the front fenders of a BMW M1 and Lamborghini Countach meeting at 200 km/h.

This is where we arrive at the crux of what makes Ingenieux Watches such an unimaginative, clout-chasing, and intellectual property-abusing enterprise.

There’s nothing wrong with a homage watch that explicitly states its inspiration and looks to offer enthusiasts access to a design they might not otherwise be able to access or afford (even I picked up a CasiOak mod kit). For a few hundred dollars, there’s a good case to be made that such watches are harmless fun, not attempting to deceive owners or onlookers that they’re the real thing, as well as being distinguishable enough that the folks behind the genuine article are still profiting from their original design.

The Genius Genta isn’t affordable fun, costing US$1,495 (AU$2,300), while the other 99 pieces of the Tiffany blue Ingenieux Watches Liaison are available for sale with a price tag of €7,000 (AU$10,841). If those numbers have already angered you, example 0 of 99 that Mondani posted about sold at Antiquorum over the weekend for a sickening CHF35,000 (AU$54,578).

In addition to the fact that these watches are the opposite of affordable homage fun, the Tiffany blue Ingenieux Watches Liaison is basically a bingo card of watch industry hype. It’s an unholy union of the Nautilus and Royal Oak, executed with a QR code Tiffany blue dial (the current premium paid for a Tiffany blue ref. 5711 compared to a regular blue ref. 5711 is around $4.5 million), that also links to an NFT. We have a winner!

It’s a sorry state of affairs when the feedback loop between hype and product development is welded shut, but that’s exactly what Ingenieux Watches is offering, selling a product aimed at the most easily influenced, and least thoughtful members of the watch community. If there’s one thing to take away from this saga, it’s that you should only buy the watches that you love and nothing else. After all, if your top three favourite watches all sell pre-owned for above their RRP, it’s worth examining exactly why they’re your favourites.

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Nick Kenyon
Nick Kenyon is the Editor of Boss Hunting, joining the team after working as the Deputy Editor of luxury watch magazine Time+Tide. He has a passion for watches, with other interests across style, sports and more. Get in touch at nick (at)


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