Breva Genève is a company that was founded by Vincent Dupontreué on his 33rd birthday in 2010. Fueled by his desire for a nice complicated watch and inspired by a beautiful weekend in Italy's Lake Como, the Breva name came to mind —as ‘La Breva’ is a warm southern wind contributing to the agreeably mild micro-climate around Lake Como— and the marvelous idea of creating a mechanical timepiece that would also forecast the weather. In 2013, after three years of research and development, led by Jean-François Mojon, Vincent Dupontreué launched the Breva Génie 01.
The Breva Génie 01 is available in a limited edition of 55 pieces —of each metal— with a beautiful and very solid case measuring 44.7mm in diameter in either white gold or rose gold. The watch is fitted with three dual-purpose crowns on the caseband. The winding crown is located at 9 o'clock —engraved with Breva's logo—, a second crown located at 2 o'clock is used to make adjustments to the barometric pressure disc and to adjust the position of the altimeter when resetting it via a pusher —this crown is engraved with a wind rose— and a third crown at 4 o’clock is used to lock and unlock the air valve that gauges the atmospheric pressure —engraved with the word AIR. When this third crown is unlocked, the valve opens and allows a small amount of air to equalize air pressure inside the case with the exterior air pressure. Longevity and reliability of the timepiece are maximized by means of an osmotic Teflon membrane that filters any moisture from any air before it enters the movement.
The multi-layer skeletonized dial features several easy-to-read indicators to keep the wearer fully informed about the time, altitude, power reserve and the weather forecast. The watch features two sub-dials in smoked sapphire crystal with the hours/minutes dial at 8 and the barometer at 2 o'clock with icons providing scientifically based forecasts of likely weather conditions to come. The altitude indicator is located on the top part of the dial as a small flange. Additionally, there is a small indicator at 12 for the running seconds and a 65-hour power reserve indicator at 4 o'clock that is beautifully decorated with a wind rose. Right above the power reserve indicator there is an indicator marked ‘SEALED' that warns when the air valve is in the unlocked position.
By now, most of you might be wondering how this mechanical masterpiece works. Well, at 6 o’clock, there are two aneroid capsules stacked one above the other to measure the slightest change in air pressure as air goes into the watch via the AIR crown. As air goes in, the aneroid capsule expands or contracts with changing air pressure to provide an accurate forecast of the weather conditions. The aneroid capsules in the Breva Génie 01 were especially developed to Breva's specifications to optimise their precision and use in a wristwatch. The capsules are made from a special non-magnetic memory-metal —Breva patented invention— lighter and stronger than aluminum and twice as ductile as steel. A clearly visible lever rests on top of the aneroid capsules and transmits the combined height of the capsules through a complex system of gears and racks to the altimeter indication and the barometer. The altitude display reads from -300 to +5,300 meters, while the barometric display ranges between 973 and 1053 hectopascals —hPa. In a nod to the original method of measuring air pressure in inches of Mercury, an inner scale of the barometer is marked mmHg: Hg being the atomic name for Mercury —Hg from the Greek hydrargyrum meaning ‘silver water’. However, it is important to mention that the watch does not contain any Mercury in it.
This fascinating horological complication is powered by a proprietary manual-wound movement developed exclusively for Breva by Jean-François Mojon from Chronode. The calibre is composed of 405 parts, 46 jewels and beats at a frequency of 28,800 vph. When fully wound, the calibre provides a power reserve of 65 hours. This gorgeous calibre can be fully appreciated via the display case back. The case back features an engraved hectopascal and altimeter scale.
This watch is fitted with an elegant black hand-stitched alligator strap with folding clasp. The strap is very comfortable and extremely supple. Even though the watch is waterproof rated to a depth of 30 meters, we wouldn't dare to get this gorgeous strap nor the watch wet.
On the wrist the Breva Génie 01 wears true to its dimensions and perhaps a little bit too high on the wrist. This fascinating complication is one that will for sure become a conversation starter with other watchlifestylers. We have included an image of the white gold version at the bottom of this review for those of you that like the understated look of the precious metal in its white finish variation.
Sticker Price $150,000 USD. Only $5,000 USD more for the white gold version. For more info on Breva Genève click here.