As debuts go, the Génie 01 from Breva is one of the more memorable, telling its wearer whether an umbrella is required.
Based on the principle that air pressure changes with both altitude and weather conditions, the Génie 01 features an anaerobic barometer and altimeter. While it might not be the only timepiece on the market that professes to measure the weather, it is certainly one of the more sophisticated.
The watch’s barometer and altimeter measure air pressure using two small aneroid (meaning without air) capsules. The top capsule, which measures the air pressure is clearly visible on the side of the dial, at 5 o’clock. Another anaerobic capsule sits underneath, maximising sensitivity to any air pressure changes.
The aneroid capsules, which are made from a special non-magnetic memory metal, were specially developed to Breva’s specifications to optimise their precision and make them suitable for use in a wristwatch. A lever that rests on top of the aneroid capsules transmits the combined height of the capsules through a complex system of gears and racks to the barometer and the altimeter indication.
USING THE BAROMETER
Three dual-purpose crowns on the watch case power and set the Breva’s proprietary mechanical movement.
Most significantly, the crown at
4 o’clock has a knurled locking ring that rotates 90° to lock and unlock an air valve. Before adjusting or using the barometer, the valve at 4 o’clock should be used to equalise air pressure inside the movement with the exterior air pressure.
When unlocked, the valve opens and allows a small amount of air to equalise the air pressure inside the case with the exterior air pressure. An osmotic Teflon membrane filters any moisture from the air before it enters the movement.
Using air pressure to forecast the weather relies on changes in pressure rather than the pressure itself. Good weather on the horizon is indicated by rising pressure while dropping pressure signifies inclement conditions ahead. Once the interior air pressure has been equalised, the barometer dial is rotated so that the hands point to 1,013 hPa, which is the standard air pressure at sea level. As time goes by, assuming there is no change in altitude, the hand might remain in place or move to lower pressure, implying that the weather is getting worse, or move towards higher pressure, suggesting sunny weather.
The baromatic pressure is indicated on a semi-transparent smoky sapphire sub dial at 2 o’clock, with icons telling the wearer what weather conditions they can expect. The altitude is displayed on a scale arcing round the top of the dial.
The wow factor isn’t confined to the front of the timepiece. Turn the watch over and there’s a circular scale engraved around the perimeter of the open caseback that provides a scale identifying correlations between altitude and air pressure. At 4 o’clock is a 65-hour power reserve indicator featuring an engraved compass rose.
As for the time, the hours and minutes are displayed on a second semi-transparent smoky-sapphire sub dial positioned at 8 o’clock, with the seconds below 12 o’clock. The Génie 01 makes for a memorable first outing from the brand that was founded by French fashion entrepreneur Vincent Dupontreué.
Strap: Hand-stitched alligator strap
Case: White gold (55 pieces) or pink gold (55 pieces)
Altitude scale: Available in metric or imperial measurements
Power reserve: 65 hours
RRP: £96,000 for pink gold or £99,500 for white gold