One of the first brands I visited in Geneva when I got professionally involved in watches, it must have been early 2014, was Breva. I still recall visiting a rather anonymous office building where founder Vincent Dupontreue and his team just moved in to conquer the horological world with quite impressive pieces. What about a mechanical barometer, forecasting weather conditions on your wrist? The Genie 01 did exactly that, within months followed by the Genie 02 Terra, with the ability of measuring altitudes.
That afternoon in Geneva they showed me a display of 4 watches and I was impressed and confused by the technical complexities needed to be developed to make these masterpieces work. The involvement of Chronode, headed by Jean-Francois Mojon as the movement constructor added much to the credibility of this project.
Important element of Genie 01 was the 4 o'clock crown that locked or unlocked an AIR valve. In unlocked position the valve allows a small amount of air to equalize air pressure inside the case with exterior air pressure. A transparent disc at 2 o'clock could then forecast weather conditions. How's that for a conversation piece?
2015 brought the third and last Breva, the Genie 03 Speedmeter. With, you guessed it, a mechanical speedometer, measuring speeds up to 200 kilometres per hour. The Instant Speed element, located at 2 o'clock was to be extended 6 mm off the case by a simple push. In doing so, you release 3 cups that rotate around an axis. With enough wind coming in speed was monitored and displayed. The display on your motorcycle will probably be a bit more accurate, but imagine asking your co-driver to lift up his pulse while driving in our to get a second opinion on the Genie Speedmeter...
And what happened after the Genie 03? Well, not much as far as I can see. The three editions were all announced in an edition of 55 at stratospheric prices and apart from some rare outings at auctions (Last week at Bonhams a Genie 01 sold for 10,000 uk pounds) nothing has been heard of Vincent Dupontreue and his team. Leaving us, fans of independent watchmaking, with a beautiful footnote of what could have been..