Living in Switzerland, I sometimes wonder whether we can qualify as the country with the craziest weather in the world. In just a day, it can go from snowy -3°C to sunny 12°C and then back down again to -5°C. And the worst part of it all is that I never know if I’ll freeze or suffocate until I walk out the door, especially since the three weather applications on my iPhone just love to contradict themselves!
That’s precisely when a watch like Breva’s Genie 01 comes in handy. Not only does it look fabulous strapped on the wrist, but it also predicts the weather right where you are. With the Genie 01, there is no need to reach for your smart phone to check the weather while lying in bed each morning. The Genie 01 does all the work for you magically under the dial, through a barometer integrated within the mechanical movement.
Barometers are used to measure differences in atmospheric pressure. These changes in air pressure are caused by different gases found in the atmosphere (like nitrogen and oxygen), which vary according to the temperature, altitude and gravity of the location. These changes help to measure barometric pressure and altitude, which in turn contribute to predicting short-term changes in the weather, such as storms, cloudy mornings or sunny afternoons. Barometers are not a new invention—they were in fact created in 1643 by Evangelista Toricelli, one of Galileo’s students—but the way Breva integrates them into the Genie 01 makes it the first wristwatch, at least to our knowledge, to ever predict the weather.
There are two measuring instruments used to calculate air pressure—a mercury barometer, in which a line of mercury is pushed up a tube with changes in pressure, and an anaerobic barometer, which features capsules that expand and contract with different pressures. Designed with the help of Jean-François Mojon, the Genie 01 works thanks to anaerobic capsules that were specifically developed by Breva to fit the requirements of a wristwatch. To resist high temperatures and pure oxygen environments, Breva chose to craft the capsules in its patented non-magnetic memory-metal, a material that is lighter and stronger than aluminum and much more malleable than steel. These capsules are integrated within the watch and transmit air pressure information through a system of gears to two different indicators on the dial—an altimeter and a barometer that also shows the current weather conditions.
The gearings of the altimeter and the barometer were designed differently, as variations in air pressure affect altitude and weather in dissimilar ways. As a result, the altimeter and barometers are placed on two different sub-dials; the first is positioned on the top part of the dial while the second is placed at two o’ clock. On the dial you’ll also find a 65-hour power reserve indicator represented as an engraved compass rose at four o’ clock and two off-centered dials displaying the hours and minutes at eight o’ clock and the seconds at 12 o’ clock. At 44.7mm, the case of the Genie 01 boasts enough space for an elegant dial design, with smoky-sapphire sub-dials set over the visible anaerobic capsules.
Changing the settings of the watch can be done through three dual-purpose crowns—the first at nine o’ clock for winding and setting the time, the second at two o’ clock to adjust the barometric pressure scale and the altitude indication, and finally the third at four o’ clock to lock and unlock an air valve to equalize air pressure between the inside of the case and the exterior. For an even more accurate prediction of the weather, simply flip over the timepiece and consult the circular scale on the caseback, which provides the correlations between altitude and air pressure as well as the impact altitude has on air pressure and the weather.
Limited to 55 pieces in white gold and 55 pieces in pink gold, the Breva Génie 01 is not only a practical watch, but also a beautiful one to wear. We can’t wait to test it on a ski trip here at Revolution Switzerland, so stay tuned to our print issues later in the year!
Special thanks to our friends at Yafriro Singapore for permission to photograph the watch as you see above in the live pictures.