Watches: Breva Genève Genie 02 Terre (+live pics)

By Thierry Ané on February 20, 2014

During the SIHH week, we met with Breva Genève, an innovative brand founded by Vincent Dupontreué in 2010 with the dream of creating a mechanical timepiece able to forecast the weather. Three years of research and development later, and with the help of Jean-François Mojon (Chronode), that you may remember for the amazing Opus X he created for Harry Winston, the brand was able to unveil its first creation, the Genie 01 at Baselworld 2013.

Available in pink gold or white gold, this mechanical timepiece blended magnificent design (I have a thing for openwork models with lots of small sub-dials!) with cutting-edge technology and counted among my favourites at the Basel fair last year. I was thus very anxious to discover their new baby.

Whereas the Genie 01 carried both an altimeter and a barometer, the focus this time with the Genie 02 Terre is solely on the measurement of altitude.

Personally, I don’t need an altimeter much more than I need a depth gauge or a barometer for that matter. I will therefore not try and explain the utility of such a device. In fact, as long as it is mechanical, well-crafted, and pleasant to the eye who cares if it is even remotely useful!

The lugs of the Genie 01 and Genie 02

Let us thus start with the aesthetics then. The design is clearly in line with the Genie 01, that is absolutely gorgeous. It all begins with a beautifully-sized 44.70 mm titanium case similar in design to the first model but also different enough to arouse interest: the three chevron-engraved crowns are sportier and the black rubber strap is more integrated to the case than the black alligator of last year.

The crowns of both models

The dial is still openwork with splendid grained and galvanically-treated nickel silver sub-dials for the hours and minutes at 8 o’clock and the “precision” part of the altimeter at 2 o’clock displaying meters or feet. On the flange from 9 o’clock to 1 o’clock, the brand added a large-scale altitude indicator that can display up to 5,000 meters (or 16,400 feet if you prefer). Without cluttering up the dial, this timepiece also displays the seconds in a small counter slightly hidden behind the altimeter sub-dial, a useful 65-hour power reserve indicator at 4 o’clock together with an open-close indicator for the air valve activated by the crown at 4 o’clock (altitude is measured by atmospheric pressure so obviously air must be allowed inside the watch to make a measurement).

There is a lot of depth and a nice 3-dimensional effect on this dial making the watch really exciting to look at. There is another part of the watch worth admiring: at 5 o’clock one can observe the top of one of the two aneroid capsules made of non-magnetic memory metal which measure the air pressure, and hence the altitude. I also love that, on top of the capsules, one can see the lever that transmits their combined heights through a system of gears and racks to the two (precision and large-scale) altimeter indications.

The back of this watch is as fascinating and refined as its front. The sapphire crystal offers a perfect view of the exceptional movement that powers this piece of high-end watchmaking. The architecture and finish is similar to the Genie 01 models but the titanium ring around the sapphire is now engraved with the names of prestigious ski resorts: Aspen, Vail, Las Lenas, Gstaad, St Moritz, Courchevel, Cortina, Kitzbuhel and Lech, along with their altitudes.

Like the previous two models, the Genie 02 Terre is limited to 55 pieces and retails for CHF 120,000. You may have noticed the addition of a “Terre” (i.e., “Land”) after the number “02” that was not present on either of the Genie 01 timepieces. It obviously led us to believe that “Air” and maybe “Mer” (“Sea”) would follow and I have just received a teaser email for Baselworld that promises us a “unique pilot complication with a mechanical altimeter”.

Stay tuned for our Basel report and you will discover the second timepiece of the Genie 02 collection. In the meantime, enjoy our live pictures of this remarkable Genie 02 Terre model.

For a technical description of the timepiece and additional pictures: