As smartwatches gain more and more functionality, they're also gaining popularity. So it's more important than ever for makers of traditional mechanical watches to pack as many novel features into their creations as they can, like Breva, which has actually found a way to squeeze a pop-up speedometer into its new Génie 03. Say what?
Figuring out how fast you're moving is easy for some smartwatches; they just need to lock onto a GPS signal while you're en route. But it's not quite as easy when the watch is only full of gears and springs. To pull this off the pop-up mechanism on the Génie 03 — which raises about a centimetre above the watch's face when engaged — actually functions like a miniature anemometer to use the speed of the wind to determine the wearer's speed.
Just below the dial displaying the speed in kilometres per hour is a spinning set of Robinson cups that are used to determine how fast the wearer is actually moving. So if you wanted to figure out how fast the car you were in was going, you'd need to stick your hand and wrist out the window to catch the air. Presumably that makes this most appealing to those whose convertibles have broken speedometers.
To ensure the watch's delicate mechanisms aren't destroyed when speeds approach 200km/h, the Robinson cups actually stop spinning at 50km/h, at which point a spring mechanism is engaged that continues to measure speed based on the strength of the wind alone.
When it comes to price, Breva's Génie 03 is still an obscenely expensive option for amateur watch enthusiasts. But at just shy of $US60,000 it's actually considerably cheaper than the $US132,000 Génie 02 and the $US150,000 Génie 01. So while smartwatches are still not the most stylish thing to strap to your wrist, it seems they might be encouraging the makers of fancy mechanical watches to be a little more competitive with their prices — but there's still a long way to go. [Breva via A Blog To Watch]