In the flesh, the Breva Genie 02 (much like the 01) looks much better than in pictures. The design is edgy and modern, but also has a wonderful character and sense of depth to the dial. Those who like legible dials that are thinly disguised machines will feel very happy with a timepiece such as this. In some regards the 01 has the nicer dial because the two subsidiary discs are produced from smoked sapphire crystal. The 02 on the other hand has solid discs, then again it is less expensive. Having said that, legibility is arguably increased a bit.
Using the Genie 02 watch is much more simple than the 01. That is once again because predicting the weather requires a few more calculations over time versus measuring one’s altitude. Still, it is important to calibrate both of the watches for each situation. This often takes the form of setting a base established altitude to use at the start of a climb (for instance). You also need to manually open and close the air valve, which among other elements makes the wearing experience of a Breva much more in-depth than other timepieces. It is a watch that demands a large degree of attention compared to most other luxury watches. In a way that is a good thing.
While the Genie 01 is produced from either 18k rose or white gold, the Genie 02 has a titanium case that uses a similar, but different case design. It is also matched to a high-quality rubber versus alligator strap. Personally I prefer the wearing looks of the Genie 02, as well as its functionality. Though the Genie 01 has a remarkable dial and sense of wrist presence.
It is very important to note that the Genie 02 Terra watch you see here is a prototype. That means final production models will have a lot of little changes. This model is even missing a power reserve indicator hand as it was barely ready for the show – a common watch industry issue. The final version will also have some cosmetic differences on the case and dial. It is nevertheless very nicely constructed and also quite comfortable on the wrist. Its almost 45mm wide case is deceptively demure without feeling too large.
Looking through the dial of both the Genie 01 and 02 watches is really what makes the piece so interesting. The three-dimensional design and range of small, well thought-out parts is a benefit to the concept for sure. The problem – if you want to put it that way – is offering most collectors a reason to buy one. As a watch with a barometer or altimeter, it is a very functionally nerdy timepiece that in many ways is the answer to a question no one asked.
In the words of Breva’s own CEO, the watch is for data junkies who love to be aware of environmental information but want a cool looking mechanical versus electronic watch. People who really need an altimeter will likely get an inexpensive electronic one. So what types of people are going to find use for an altimeter or barometer but who also want it to be mechanical exist? That is a good question and I think the brand is still trying to find out. By releasing luxury watches with an aneroid capsule and features no other similar brands have, Breva is certainly carving a name out for themselves. The good news again is that design and quality is good. The user experience is perhaps complicated, but there are those that enjoy that. For those who want to work out how to use the Genie 01 and 02 timepieces then there are certainly rewards. Moving forward, the brand will of course focus on more simple items, but this is a “loud” start for them on what is barely their second year around. Price for the Genie 02 Terra altimeter watch is $132,000. breva-watch.com