Breva Genie 02

Angus Davies reviews Breva Genie 02. This new watch is available in two variants, both sharing a fascinating complication, a mechanical altimeter.

This detailed review of the Breva Genie 02 includes live images, specification details and pricing.

Breva Génie 01 & Breva Génie 02 - watch reviews by ESCAPEMENT

Progress is relentless, change is inevitable and ageing never ceases. Youth is stolen by a thief in the night. There are repeated episodes when one is reminded that the 18-year old inner-self has become a portly middle-aged figure, reflected in a callous mirror.

Authority figures are a case in point. A formidable figure at the front of the class room always seemed “old” to my adolescent eyes. A former perception was that teachers were exemplars of learning, maturity and status, dissipated with increasing years and the accrual of grey hair. Indeed, I realised I was getting older when I visited my children’s schools and listened to their teachers talk. They seemed to exhibit a slight naivety and appeared extremely young.

Policeman now seem young, doctors seem young, everyone seems young. There is no worse reminder of age-related physical deterioration than being confronted by someone with voluminous hair, a slender-toned torso and an absence of hair emanating from their ears.

Thankfully, the world of high-end watchmaking has always been populated with timed-served artisans. Watchmakers, who have made a career out of working at reduced speed, careful in thought and action. Tradition, experience and maturity have always been prerequisites to achieving greatness. This is the notion I have long since held, at least until Baselworld 2013.

Breva Génie 01 & Breva Génie 02 - watch reviews by ESCAPEMENT

In 2013, at the annual watch fair, adjacent the Breva exhibition stand, stood a stylishly attired Vincent Dupontreué, smiling and making eye contact with passers by. Good looking and seemingly very young, Vincent exuded a palpable charm. He presented an enigma. On one hand young, albeit not quite as youthful as I first thought, and satorially astute. Yet, conversely, knowledgeable and wise, typical of an elder statesman of the horological profession. His demeanour and physical appearance piqued my interest, as he was atypical of the usual professionals I am more accustomed seeing.

Breva Génie 01

Breva’s first model, the Génie 01, revealed in 2013, was mind-blowing. It was brimming with innovation, pushing horological boundaries with its imaginative specification. The Génie 01 was the world’s first mechanical wristwatch with time, altimeter, barometer and power reserve indication, all beautifully packaged in a choice of white or pink gold cases.

Breva Génie 01 & Breva Génie 02 - watch reviews by ESCAPEMENT

Dupontreué, an entrepreneur, sought the necessary watchmaking prowess to realise his dream and shrewdly approached the watchmaking genius, Jean-François Mojon of Chronode. The resultant watch is stunning to behold.

Breva Génie 01 & Breva Génie 02 - watch reviews by ESCAPEMENT

The hours and minutes are displayed on a sub-dial at 8 o’clock, with small seconds below noon. Arguably, this is about as conventional as the watch gets, save for having a round case.

Breva Génie 01 & Breva Génie 02 - watch reviews by ESCAPEMENT

Adjacent 2 o’clock, a barometer is displayed. Skirting the upper area of the dial, a scale shows the altitude. At 4 o’clock, a power reserve indicator shows the status of the mainspring.

A conventional crown is positioned at 9 o’clock, for winding and adjusting the hour and minute hands. A further two crowns, with knurled exterior rings, are positioned at 2 o’clock and 4 o’clock. These are used to adjust the barometric pressure scale and altitude indication.

Breva Génie 01 & Breva Génie 02 - watch reviews by ESCAPEMENT

Despite the cutting-edge know-how and modernity, Breva has not eschewed craftsmanship and the movement, visible via the exhibition caseback, is an object lesson in fine watchmaking.

Dazzled by the breathtaking execution of this timepiece, back in 2013, I vowed to write about the model. Regrettably, and to my shame, middle-aged absentmindedness caused me to forget and I only realised my failure after recently looking at images taken at Baselworld 2013.

Breva Génie 01 & Breva Génie 02 - watch reviews by ESCAPEMENT

Feeling an overwhelming sense of failure at not reporting on one of the finest examples of horological invention revealed last year, I pledged that I would have to revisit Breva this year and ascertain the next chapter in the history of this young brand.

Breva Génie 01 & Breva Génie 02 - watch reviews by ESCAPEMENT

I was not to be disappointed.

Breva Genie 02

This year, Breva released two new models, the Breva Genie 02 Air and theBreva Genie 02 Terre, which again drawing on the expertise of Jean-François Mojon of Chronode .

Breva Génie 01 & Breva Génie 02 - watch reviews by ESCAPEMENT

Génie 02 Air

The Breva Genie 02 Air, limited to 55 pieces, is presented in a black titanium case. At first glance, the dial appears very similar to the Génie 01, but there are subtle differences.

Breva Génie 01 & Breva Génie 02 - watch reviews by ESCAPEMENT

Hours and minutes are presented on a subdial at 8 o’clock. Arcing along the upper portion of the dial is an altimeter scale. The subdial, at 2 o’clock, also imparts the altitude but this time it is displayed on a finer scale. Indeed, it is the combination of both altimeters which allows the precise altitude to be discerned. Primarily designed for thrill-seekers who wish to parachute, fly, hang glide or cling to a rock face with pitons in hand, the Breva Genie 02 accurately and legibly coveys the magnitude of elevation.

Breva Génie 01 & Breva Génie 02 - watch reviews by ESCAPEMENT

Small seconds are shown below noon and a power reserve indicator is positioned at 4 o’clock.

Breva has been very clever. The altimeter and barometer of the Génie 01 measured air pressure and it is the same principle which has been employed on the Breva Genie 02. An altimeter is not really measuring altitude so much as air pressure, in common with a barometer, but calibrated to show height rather than forthcoming weather.

The higher the altitude, the less atmosphere there is above, hence the less pressure is exerted downwards by gravity.

Breva employs patented technology for registering altitude rather than barometric pressure and in this instance the aneroid capsules used are different from those employed in the Génie 01.

Looking at the lower portion of the dial, an aneroid capsule is visible with a second capsule to the rear of the watch. These in conjunction with a high-precision arm multiply the expansion and contraction of the special capsules, relaying the information to the two altimeter scales.

In common with the Génie 01, the crown at 9 o’clock is used for winding and time setting. The crown at 2 o’clock is the altitude corrector and the crown at 4 o’clock is the air valve.

The wearer, knowing the altitude of his location using a landmark or topographic map, sets the altitude using the crown at 2 o’clock. This is calibrated for the prevailing weather and temperature, which would otherwise influence the atmospheric pressure and provide a misleading reading.

Breva Génie 01 & Breva Génie 02 - watch reviews by ESCAPEMENT

The crown at 4 o’clock operates an air valve. The screw down crown either seals out air or allows it to enter the movement for the altimeter to function. An indication, adjacent the aforementioned power-reserve indicator, shows whether the watch is “SEALED” or not.

On the reverse of the watch, the Breva Genie 02 Air case is engraved with the code names of some of the leading airports from around the world, together with each respective altitude.

A sapphire case back allows the fortunate wearer to appreciate the high-end watchmaking craft utilised in executing the movement. Whilst the bridges appear modern, delivered in a sensuous black hue, they are matchlessly presented. Moreover, the movement consists of 415 components, all collaborating to confer functionality.

Génie 02 Terre

The Terre shares the same technical specification as its airborne sibling, but is delivered in a cool, refined grade 5 titanium case, almost steel-like in appearance. It is this particular variant which I covet.

Breva Génie 01 & Breva Génie 02 - watch reviews by ESCAPEMENT

Whereas the Air is marked with airport code names on its reverse, the Terre is engraved with the names of prestigious ski resorts such as Aspen, Vail and Gstaad to name but a few, with the respective altitudes shown.

Breva Génie 01 & Breva Génie 02 - watch reviews by ESCAPEMENT

In many respects the appeal of the Breva Genie 02 reminds me of my predisposition towards diver’s watches. I don’t dive, but I adore the functionality and aesthetics that are synonymous with watches suited to subaquatic use. The same logic applies to the Breva Genie 02.

Breva Génie 01 & Breva Génie 02 - watch reviews by ESCAPEMENT

I don’t honestly need to know the altitude, my instinct for exploration is restricted to venturing beyond Hall 1 at Baselworld. I doubt I will ever wish to paraglide, parachute or climb a rock face. Indeed, I am scared of heights. However, this is not the point, I admire the innovation and the functionality the Breva Genie 02 specification delivers.

Breva Génie 01 & Breva Génie 02 - watch reviews by ESCAPEMENT

Moreover, there is also the aspect of aesthetics. The Breva Genie 02, especially in my preferred Terre form, wonderfully plays with depths, as various elements of the dial composition are positioned at different heights. Indeed, this aspect of the design language is like a metaphor for the very raison d’être behind the conception of the watch.

Closing remarks

The Breva Genie 02 is a peerless fusion of innovation, functionality and sublime craftsmanship. Simple to use, easy to read and comfortable to wear, this watch is a highly practical ownership proposition. Furthermore, the Terre is particularly attractive and would be my preference, indeed I found it hard to hand back once it was on my wrist.

Breva Génie 01 & Breva Génie 02 - watch reviews by ESCAPEMENT

It is a brave new world and some elements of modern life do not always attribute advancement and sometimes make me feel somewhat out of step. However, when it comes to Breva, the modernity and innovation delivered, together with the vitality of its founder, Vincent Dupontreué, results in a heady mix of ingenuity and excitement which I find very appealing.

Breva Génie 01 & Breva Génie 02 - watch reviews by ESCAPEMENT

Breva Génie 01 & Breva Génie 02 - watch reviews by ESCAPEMENT

The Breva Genie 02 Terre is a type of progress I would like to see more of, it engages the mind and enriches the soul. Encore!

Technical Specification

  • Model: Breva Génie 01
  • Case: White gold or 4N pink fold; diameter 44.70 mm; height 15.60 mm; water resistant 3 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; power-reserve indicator; barometric pressure indicator, altitude indicator (measures up to 5000 metres).
  • Movement: Proprietary movement developed exclusively for Breva by Jean-François Mojon of Chronode, hand-wound movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4 Hz); 46 jewels; power reserve 65 hours; 405 parts.
  • Strap: Hand stitched alligator strap with folding buckle to match case material.
  • Limited Edition: 55 pieces
  • Price: in pink gold CHF 150,000.- and for the white gold CHF 155,000.-
  • Model: Breva Génie 02 Air
  • Case: Black titanium (grade 5); diameter 44.70 mm; height 16.10 mm; water resistant 3 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; power-reserve indicator; altimeter (measures up to 5000 metres). 
  • Movement: Proprietary movement developed exclusively for Breva by Jean-François Mojon of Chronode, hand-wound movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4 Hz); 45 jewels; power reserve 65 hours; 415 parts.
  • Strap: Black natural rubber strap supplied on a titanium pin buckle
  • Limited Edition: 55 pieces
  • Price: CHF 120,000 
  • Model: Breva Génie 02 Terre
  • Case: Titanium (grade 5); diameter 44.70 mm; height 16.10 mm; water resistant 3 Bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; power-reserve indicator; altimeter (measures up to 5000 metres). 
  • Movement: Proprietary movement developed exclusively for Breva by Jean-François Mojon of Chronode, hand-wound movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4 Hz); 45 jewels; power reserve 65 hours; 415 parts.
  • Strap: Black natural rubber strap supplied on a titanium pin buckle
  • Limited Edition: 55 pieces
  • Price: CHF 120,000

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