Breva deserved the recognition of the industry when last year they presented the Génie 01, the first mechanical wristwatch with altimeter and barometer. In reasonably sunny weather, at 400 metres above sea level on the 1st floor of the magnificent Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues in Geneva I played with this model and cast the first glance at the Breva Génie 02, the second model of the fresh independent brand founded by Vincent Dupontreué.
“Monitor your environment”
– sounds the motto of Breva. Génie 01, the initial model of the company showcased at Baselworld in 2013 featured a mechanical barometer. I love the watch face, especially the harmony of the smoked sapphire dial with the 4N pink gold elements.
The second model, Génie 02 provides a reliable companion to all those who love high-precision mechanical timepieces and at the same time need the functionality to measure exact altitude. Therefore, in addition to the 5,000 m low resolution scale debuted in the previous model curving on the North-East edge of the dial, the Génie 02 introduces an aircraft-style precision altimeter sub-dial. For the gauge to measure altitude – actually air pressure – air must be let inside the movement to the sealed aneroid capsules that expand under high and contract under low air pressure.
Air in the atmosphere is pulled down by gravity. Atmospheric pressure is the force per unit area on the surface resulted by the weight of the air column above. The closer you get to the surface the higher the air column is, and because of its accumulated weight the pressure will be higher too. This makes deriving altitude from air pressure possible, which is the Genie series’ principle of operation.
Enabling air flow into the movement is done by opening the valve manually via the crown, which is indicated next to the power reserve display. The movement is protected from humidity and dust by a Teflon membrane. The capsules placed on top of each other are made of a special non-magnetic metal and are situated below the intersection of the two dials. You can observe a small lever touching the top one which magnifies the amplitude of the capsules’ combined expansion and contraction. This movement gets transmitted by gears to the hands on both scales.
The pattern of the crowns looks great and is reminiscent to Caterpillar tires. The one at 4 is the air valve, another at 9 is responsible for winding and setting time, while the third at 2 o’clock has a special function. With temperature and weather conditions barometric pressure changes too, therefore for the watch to show the altitude accurately, it should be adjusted to compensate these. Calibration based on either the known altitude or pressure value is performed by this crown.
Just as for the first model, the movement of the Génie 02 was developed by Jean-François Mojon and his team at Chronode.
Photo credits: Breva, Loupiosity.com.
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