Playing Polo in Geneva with Breva & Genie02 Review
Many remember Breva as being the watchmaker behind last year’s ‘weather predicting watch’ called Genie 01, presented at Baselworld 2013. However the brand doesn’t seem to limit itself with just one novelty and from this year at Basel it was clear which direction it is going. Breva is on the way to become a manufacturer of ‘wrist instruments’. Which makes sense in this era of gadgets and widgets, especially for those customers and collectors who are into technology but want to keep it strictly mechanical on the wrist.
This year we had a great opportunity to participate in an event organized by the ‘Geneva Polo Club’ together with Breva. Just east of Geneva (easily accessible by taxi or bus) lays a field and a very nice area isolated from the urban setting and used for polo matches. And even though we did not play the game itself we had a great time spectating, taking lots of photos and chatting to other guests and friends.
And while some brands tend to sponsor various sports events Breva’s management actually participated in the match itself with the CEO Vincent Dupontreué riding his horse and sporting a Genie 02 on his wrist.
The game turned out pretty well for his team (from what I understood – I’m really not that good at Polo) and after all the matches were played and the awards given it was time to.. party Barbecue, music, drinks and an overall fun mood made it a great night for everyone.
Now for the ones who want to know more about the Genie 02 this is where the rather technical part of the post begins… After managing to put a barometer in a mechanical watch to make it tell the weather Breva decided to make a luxury ‘wristrument’ (need to copyright that word!) for the climbers and pilots – a watch that tells you the altitude aka Genie 02.
There are 2 versions of the new timepiece but before we go into differentiating let’s explore the concept and how it works. On the dial of the watch there are 2 round subdials, the left one at 7 o’clock tells time (duh.. boring) but the right one, located at 1 o’clock is the one we’re all excited about. Together with a scale, located at the top of the dial it will tell you the altitude. How does it work? I wouldn’t call the entire concept simple (in fact I have no idea how it works) so I would just copy/paste the info from their official website:
“Atmospheric pressure can change with the weather and this can affect altitude readings. When bad weather approaches, air pressure can fall causing the altimeter to confuse this decrease in pressure with an increase in altitude.
In order to compensate for weather or temperature induced barometric pressure variations, the altimeter should be calibrated by using a known altitude or a known pressure value. A known altitude can typically be taken from a specific landmark on a topographic map. But if a known altitude is not available, a known pressure value will suffice. Barometric pressure is measured several times per day and can usually be obtained from aviation weather reports.
An altimeter used in conjunction with a topographic map can help verify location and aid navigation. A barometric altimeter as found in the Génie 02 is often more reliable and more accurate than a GPS receiver for measuring altitude. GPS altimeters may have difficulty in finding a signal, e.g. in a deep canyon or beside a steep cliff, and may give inaccurate measurements if available satellites are near the horizon.”
Sounds complicated, right? Well it may be, but Breva made it quite easy to use even for a guy like me, who clearly has no understanding of physics… The long scale on top of the dial displays the altitude (height) in feet or meters depending on the model, from 0 to 15000 or 0 to 5000 respectively. The subdial on the right displays a more precise showing from 0 to 3000 feet or 0 to 1000 meters. The little aperture inside the subdial is adjustable in case the altitude is known for most precise measure.
To actually see the altitude you would need to rotate the crown at 5 o’clock and let the air in. You will see the red band turn white next to a marking ‘SEALED’ when the valve is unlocked. Just wait a bit and the reading will adjust to the current altitude. A little trick I liked doing when I was wearing the watch was unlock the valve when getting in a plane, wait for the altitude to go up before all pressure cabins are locked, then close the valve and open it when I land just to see the altimeter hand drop dramatically
So as I’ve mentioned there are 2 versions of the watch: one is called ‘Air’ (that’s the one I was testing) and the other called ‘Terre’, which translates to ‘Earth’ from French. While both versions are available in the metric or imperial systems for the altitude telling, the main difference between them is that the black titanium ‘Air’ shows various altitudes of the biggest airports on the caseback, while the titanium ‘Terre’ version tells us the names of the most prestigious ski resorts along with their altitudes. Both models have 65 hour power reserves with an indicator on the dial, as well as a 45mm case housing a movement developed for Breva by Jean-Francois Mojon.
So that’s about it, guys. I hope you’ve enjoyed our event coverage as well as the watch review, and if you have any questions or comments about the piece please leave them in the section below!
Photography and videography by James N Cole for WatchAnish.com