Breva, a new high-end Swiss watch brand that debuted last year in 2013, has just followed up with their second watch release. The Genie 02 Terra follows the brand's first model - which was the Genie 01 Barometer (debuted here). While that first watch was the world's first mechanical weather station because it included a mechanical barometer, the Genie 02 Terra uses the same technology to introduce the first watch with a mechanical altimeter of this type. Once again the brand has teamed up with master watch designer Jean-Francois Mojon for an interesting and 100% Swiss made mechanical luxury watch with an active lifestyle twist.
The Breva Genie 01 Barometer and Genie 02 Terra Altimeter operate using the same basic principle to indicate information. Those with an understanding of mechanical instruments know that both barometric pressure and altitude are measured as functions of air pressure. Inside each of the watches are a pair of sealed aneroid capsules. Traditionally made from an alloy of beryllium and copper, Breva suggests that they use a special "memory" metal for the unique aneroid capsules inside of the Genie watches. The capsules expand and contract when subject to different air pressures - whose slight changes are measured with a small control arm.
Even though aneroid capsule based barometers and altimeters use more or less the same instrument to measure data, Breva indicates that the ones used in the Genie 01 and Genie 02 watches are calibrated differently, "Génie 02's aneroid capsules were developed specifically for registering air pressure for altitude readings rather than barometric pressure, and are different to those used on the Génie 01."
Thus, the concept of the Genie 01 Barometer is extended in a new watch that offers a mechanical watch with a mechanical altimeter function. In many ways the Genie 02 Terra is the more useful of the two Breva timepieces. In the future it would be great to have a mechanical watch with both an altimeter and barometer. The watch itself is actually more attractive in my opinion than the original watch. Completely in titanium, the Genie 02 is 44.7mm wide by 15.6mm thick. That is the exact same size as the original Genie 01 (offered only in 18k white or rose gold), but the case design has been slightly modified for the Genie 02.
The most notable difference on the case is the unified lug structure. This creates a more solid look for the case and from the side you can see how there are grooved channels that make for a more modern look. The chevron engraved crowns make a comeback. The overall design of the Genie 02 Terra feels more composed and I think it goes with the theme all that much better. The dial design reflects much of what we saw on the Genie 01, but of course designed with displaying the time, power reserve indicator, and altimeter functions in mind.
Hours and minutes are displayed on a sub dial located near 8 o'clock, while the dial at about 2 o'clock offers two indicators of precision for the altitude. A wider scale for the altitude arcs over the upper part of the dial. The Breva 02 Terra appears to indicate up to about 5000 meters of altitude. Not so into the metric system? Breva gives you the option of having the watch indicate Imperial Units in feet versus meters.
At about 12 o'clock there is a small subsidiary dial for the seconds and under the main altimeter dial is a both a power reserve indicator for the movement as well as an indicator of whether or not the air valve is open. Unlike digital watches such as the Casio Pro Trek timepieces that have digital barometers and altimeters, the air valve on the mechanical Breva Genie 02 Terra must be manually opened to allow air into the watch to determine the altitude. Breva makes use of an osmotic Teflon membrane that they suggest works well to keep out dust and moisture. Still, it is a good idea to keep the value closed when not in use.
Inside the watch is a rather complicated (and attractive looking) Swiss-made movement that was developed by Mr. Mojon and his team at Chronode. The movement is manually wound with 65 hours of power reserve and operates at 3Hz. It's also comprised of 415 parts, many of which are hand finished in traditional Swiss fine watch making fashion. Breva watches are a unique breed of ultra-luxury timepieces for those who enjoy a more active life and want a mechanical back-up to their electronic instruments. Breva clearly envisions that most people wearing the Genie 02 Terra will do so skiing, though I imagine it would also make a good aviation watch as well. The Breva Genie 02 Terra watch will be limited to just 55 pieces total, with a price of $132,000. breva-watch.com
Génie 02 Terre technical specifications
Functions: hours, minutes, small seconds, large-scale altitude indicator, precision-scale altitude indicator, power reserve indicator, air pressure valve, equalizer seal indicator, altitude scale adjuster.
Case, dials and strap:
Case material: titanium G5, with altitude calibrated in either meters or feet.
Dimensions: 44.7 mm x 15.6 mm
Number of components: 69
Crowns: winding setting crown at 9 o'clock, altitude adjuster at 2 o'clock, air valve at 4 o'clock
Crystals: sapphire crystal and display back treated with anti-reflective coating on both sides.
Dials: Grained and galvanically-treated Nickel silver, indexes and numbers in three-dimensional Super-LumiNova
Altitude scales: available in metric (meters) or imperial (feet) measurements
Water resistance: 30m
Air valve with Teflon moisture-resisting osmosis membrane
Strap and buckle: natural rubber strap with titanium tang buckle.
Proprietary movement developed exclusively for Breva by Jean-François Mojon/Chronode
Diameter: 36 mm
Number of components: 415
Number of jewels: 45
Balance frequency: 3 Hz
Dual aneroid capsules specifically developed to derive altitude from air pressure
Power reserve: 65 hours