A weather station for the wrist, no kidding. The Breva Génie 01 is the world’s first wristwatch with an altimeter and barometer, for forecasting the weather. Oh yes, of course does it tells time as well and there’s a power reserve indicator to tell you how much power is left in the main spring, as it has a fully mechanical movement.
On the dial there are easy-to-read indications to keep the wearer fully informed about current time, altitude, remaining power in the mainspring, and a weather forecasting barometer. Before leaving the house, just check your Breva Génie 01, to know if you should bring your umbrella or leave it at home.
Of course a peak out the window will do the job as well, but weather has the distinctive feature that it can change rather fast. If you have experience with hiking in the mountains, than you know how fast the weather can change. And that’s where the Breva Génie 01 comes in very handy!
Between 5 and 6 o’clock is an anaerobic capsule measuring air pressure, with another identical anaerobic capsule underneath it to maximize sensitivity to the slightest change in air pressure.
There are two main types of barometer: a mercury barometer, in which the pressure of the air forces a small column of mercury up a tube (similar to a mercury thermometer); and the anaerobic barometer, in which one or more aneroid capsules (aneroid means ‘without air’) expand/contract with changing air pressure.
The Genie 01 also features an altimeter, because air pressure changes with both weather conditions AND (of course) altitude! So to predict the weather, the height should be taken into account as well.
A lever that rests on top of the aneroid capsules, transmits the combined height of the capsules through a complex system of gears and racks to the altimeter indication and the barometer. The gearing for these two displays has been carefully calculated as the scale of changing air pressure due to altitude variations is quite different to weather variations.
Before using or adjusting the barometer, air pressure inside the movement should be equalized with the air outside the case, using the valve at 4 o’clock.
What is important in using air pressure to forecast the weather is the recent change in pressure, rather than the pressure itself. Rising pressure indicates good weather coming, falling pressure is a sign of inclement weather ahead. The faster the pressure changes and/or the larger the change, the more extreme – good or bad – the coming weather is likely to be.
Now on to some of the basics: hours and minutes are displayed on a semi-transparent smoky-sapphire sub dial at 8 o’clock, with small seconds below 12 o’clock. A scale displaying altitude arcs around the top perimeter of the dial. The barometer’s weather forecast is displayed on a semi-transparent smoky-sapphire sub dial at 2 o’clock, with icons of different weather conditions. A 65-hour power reserve indicator at 4 o’clock, features an engraved compass rose.
On the reverse side a circular scale is engraved around the perimeter of the caseback. This scale provides correlations between altitude and air pressure, as the altitude affects air pressure as well as the weather.
The fully mechanical movement can be observed trough the sapphire crystal display back. When winding the movement you can see the compass rose, engraved in the cap of the mainspring barrel, rotate. The proprietary movement of the Génie 01 was developed exclusively for Breva by Jean-François Mojon/Chronode.
Some more basics: the three crowns! Three dual-purpose crowns on the case band provide power to, and allow setting of, the proprietary Breva movement. On the left at 9 o’clock, a two-position crown is dedicated to winding the watch and setting the time.
On the top right at 2 o’clock, a knurled exterior ring adjusts the barometric pressure scale, while an inner pusher adjusts the position of the altitude indication.
The crown at 4 o’clock has a knurled locking ring that rotates 90° to lock/unlock an air valve. When unlocked, the valve opens and allows a small amount of air to equalize air pressure inside the case with the exterior air pressure. Just above the crown, a red indicator on the dial marked ‘SEALED’ warns when the valve is unlocked.
Génie 01 is a limited edition of 55 pieces in white gold and 55 pieces in 4N pink gold and come at a price of CHF 145.000 (before tax) for the pink gold and CHF 150,000 for the white gold.
Génie 01 technical specifications
- Functions: hours, minutes, small seconds, altitude indicator, barometric pressure indicator, power reserve indicator, air pressure equaliser, equaliser seal indicator, barometric scale adjuster, altitude scale adjuster.
- Case dimensions: 44,7 mm x 15.6 mm, Water resistance: 30m
- Movement diameter: 36mm
- Number of components: 405
- Number of jewels: 46
- Balance frequency: 4 Hz
- Power reserve: 65 hours
Let’s end this story about a rather remarkable timepiece / weather station with a video. Don’t expect more technical details, just a nice video with good music, showing the Breva Genie 01 from all its sides.
PS. Breva Watch will be at Baselworld 2013, so if you’re going then make sure to schedule an appointment!
For more information, please visit the Breva website.
This article is written by Frank Geelen, executive editor for Monochrome Watches.