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Feature: 3 Iconic Watches Rival Brands Turned Down

We’ve all been rejected at some point, whether you didn’t land your dream job or didn’t quite make it into university. It’s a feeling that can leave you reeling. Sometimes, though, the rejection may have been a blessing in disguise. The same can be said for watch designers who have had their idea turned down by one brand only for it to be picked up by another in a rather glorious turn of fate. This is exactly what happened to these three popular models below, including one by the legendary Gerald Genta.

The Nautilus

We know the Nautilus as one of Patek Philippe’s most loved models and a watch that helped cement the idea of the luxury steel sports watch as a new genre, as well as the reputation of its designer, Gerald Genta. However, it is said that Genta originally had other plans, hoping that the Nautilus would be brought to life by rival watchmaker Piaget, where he apparently pitched the idea first before being shut down—ouch! Where would Patek Philippe be without the Nautilus, eh?

The Reverso

Think the Reverso is Jaeger-LeCoultre through and through? Well, one of the first ever Reversos—reference 106—was in fact, a Patek Philippe watch. This is thanks to JLC head, Jacques-David LeCoultre being an administrator on Patek’s board in the 1930s—a time when the wristwatch was in, and the pocket watch on its way out. Patek Philippe liked LeCoultre’s Reverso and so eight pieces were made. This joint venture soon fizzled out, though, after Patek unveiled the Calatrava, its own interpretation of a luxury wristwatch, and it hasn’t looked back since.

The Museum

Image courtesy of Bonhams

Image courtesy of Bonhams

This is a watch that has ‘been around the block’, so to speak. Created by Nathan George Horwitt in 1946, it eventually found itself in the Museum of Modern Art, which praised Horwitt’s minimalist design. Not everyone was so fond, though; Horwitt pitched it to 15 watchmakers, all of whom declined! Vacheron Constantin did go ahead and make an early version of the watch in 1947 but didn’t commit, so avoided going into full production. It wasn’t until Movado came along and snapped it up—naming it The Museum Watch—that Horwitt’s design really came to life, and it’s been Movado’s flagship watch ever since.

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Looking for a pre-owned Jaeger-LeCoultre watch? Click here to shop now