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.
Impressed and confused
That afternoon in Geneva, they showed me a display of 4 watches. 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.
Breva Genie 01
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?
Breva Genie 03 Speedmeter
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.
In doing so, you release 3 cups that rotate around an axis. With enough wind coming in speed, the watch can monitor and display the speed. 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…
Where is Breva?
And what happened after the Genie 03? Well, not much as far as I can see. Breva announced three editions, all in an edition of 55 at stratospheric prices and apart from some rare outings at auctions. Bonhams sold a Genie 01 for 10,000 uk pounds. But nothing was ever heard of Vincent Dupontreue and his team. Leaving us, fans of independent watchmaking, with a beautiful footnote of what could have been..