A lot of people are calling the Breva Genie 01 ($163,000 in pink gold) a “weather station on your wrist,” and our gut reaction is to look for another (less tedious) name. Trouble is, it fits. Weather is the real function of this timepiece. The smoked translucent sapphire dial at 2:00 makes distinct weather predictions (sun, clouds, rain) based on barometric pressure. Stretching around the circumference from 9:30 to 1:00 is an altitude scale, calibrated in meters from -300 to 5000. You’ll know how far you are from sea level, even in Death Valley, altitude -282 ft. (-86 m).
At first glance, actual timekeeping almost seems to be an afterthought. The hand-wound movement is adjusted in five positions for heat, cold and isochronism. The (lighter) smoked sapphire sub-dial at 8:00 indicates hour and minute; tucked away at 12:00, half hidden by the weather sub-dial, is a small-seconds sub-dial. Over at 4:30 is the power reserve indicator (65 hours’ worth). Three crowns with chevron knurling — uniquely attractive — control time setting and winding, adjustment of the pressure/altitude scales, and opening/closing of the pressure equalization valve.
Visible from front or back are the mechanisms of pressure measurement and conversion to altitude and indicated barometric pressure. Twin drums, called “aneroid capsules”, expand and contract with atmospheric pressure. This movement is converted to indicate altitude and barometric pressure via a complex linkage of rack and gears, all visible through crystal or case back. There is no other way to describe it — this piece of equipment is a mechanical geek’s dream.
The Breva Genie 01 is offered in a Limited Edition of 110 pieces, 55 each in white gold and 4N pink gold. Both run north of $150,000. Just how bad do you need to know the weather?