time-keeper


Genus opens a new chapter with the GNS2 watch

March 2024


Genus opens a new chapter with the GNS2 watch

This new limited edition, building on the GNS1, preserves its hallmark mechanism while introducing a new dial that rethinks simplicity – without compromising on design sophistication. Its sleek style and semi-open dial showcase the Genevan brand’s modern interpretation of watchmaking artistry.

W

ith the GNS2, Genus offers a fresh take on its signature complication, reimagining its entire aesthetic and magnifying its singular interpretation of time.

When the first GNS1 was unveiled in 2019, Genus’s idea was to present a timepiece with a distinct identity, one that offered a radically different and unprecedented way of reading time.

It was a stunning debut. Within a year of the brand’s creation, its inaugural timepiece had won the coveted Mechanical Exception Prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG), surpassing some of the most established names in high complication watchmaking. Genus has since then unwaveringly pursued its singular vision of the art of watchmaking – through the lens of its hallmark complication, which is protected by two patents.

Genus opens a new chapter with the GNS2 watch

The new GNS2 – the ‘Launch Edition’ will be limited to 18 pieces – maintains the momentum, fully aligned with the previous creations of the independent watchmaker based in Plan-Les-Ouates, on the outskirts of Geneva.

In the process of imagining and creating a more streamlined, contemporary watch, Genus approached the task as both a technical and an aesthetic challenge – a journey into uncharted territory where design and functionality had to be reconciled with physics and engineering. Yet, beyond precision and innovation, it also meant creative freedom, opening up fresh avenues for expression.

The GNS2 embodies the quintessential elements that define the Genevan independent – the result of five years of research, development and work in both engineering and design by Genus and its two co-founders: Master Watchmaker Sébastien Billières and Catherine Henry, the company’s COO.

Far from ‘doing less’, the idea is about pushing even further the boundaries of how we perceive time, about thinking differently, about concealing to better reveal. With the GNS2, the dream has become reality. Today, Sébastien Billières and Catherine Henry see their five-year effort culminate in a magnificent timepiece that fully embodies the spirit of Genus.

When you hear the team at Genus describing this watch, you can sense the harmonious balance they sought to achieve between the case, movement, and dial, all in sync in a spirit of simplicity. Everything about this watch invites exploration into Genus’s horological world: design and construction of the highest quality, paired with eminent wearability under any circumstance, equally at ease in a formal setting as in a more active lifestyle.

With the GNS2, Genus set out to create a sober, elegant, sporty-chic watch with a simplified, visually more accessible system for reading the time. It happens at several levels, with a focus on reliefs, textures, and the interplay of light with shadows and reflections. It takes just a glance at the very contemporary design to marvel at the architectural fusion of space, time and light.

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A myriad of shapes – hemispherical, concave, spherical… – come together in an intriguing juxtaposition of hammered, satin-finished, beveled, and mirror-polished surfaces. Light and shadow continually play off each other. The design’s uniqueness resides in how Sébastien Billières brings out a sense of spatial volume through the random hand-hammering of the dial. With its satin-finished surfaces and mirror-polished edges, the result is a decidedly novel aesthetic.

The dial is divided into two sections, each perfectly mirroring the other in flawless symmetry. The surface of each section has been hammered by hand with tens of thousands of tiny, incredibly precise strikes, utilising a specialised tool with a tip less than 1/10th of a millimetre wide. This process creates a distinct, harmoniously irregular texture that gives the piece its character, its soul.

The metal springs to life under light. More than shaping the material, each hammer stroke captures a moment both on its surface and in the continuum of time. A sensation, an inkling of absolute precision that reveals itself, tenth of a millimetre by tenth of a millimetre, in this realm of minute detail. This exactness is the culmination of the mind, eye, and hand working in concert—a testament to true savoir-faire. It is an artisanal technique that transforms each dial into a unique masterpiece.

For time-reading, the watch eschews contrasting elements in favour of an elegant monochrome palette of greys. This allows the free-floating ‘genera’ – the movement’s hallmark time-indicating elements – to stand out through two spherical openings. These elements, in metallic blue, move like three small origami-style arrows in zero gravity, shifting from one orbit to another with mesmerising fluidity.

Conveyed by two skeletonised wheels that form a figure 8, the ‘genera’ effortlessly glide around the symbol of infinity, as if floating above the intricate gears. The startling sense of depth comes from the matte black base of the two tens-of-minute dials as it contrasts with their satin-brushed and rhodium-plated finishes, providing a spectacular play of light. The delicately engraved numerals in positive relief further accentuate the multi-layered visual architecture. The overall effect is simply magnificent.

The precise minute is indicated by the leading blue arrow that moves across the centre of the dial, following Genus’s signature figure-eight pattern. As for the hour indication, there are no hands. On GNS2, the hour is again read in a truly unique manner, indicated here by three other small origami arrows. These seem to float around the periphery of the display complication (unlike the GNS1, where the hour is indicated by small, block-shaped indices that pivoted as they made a complete revolution around the outer edge of the dial).

The rhodium-plated, diamond-polished appliques visually enhance the whole, capturing even more light. Four large screws, mirror-polished by hand, not only secure the dial, but also purposefully command attention, serving as distinctive decorative elements in their own right.

Crafted from a single block of grade 5 titanium, the watch case exudes an air of weightlessness, its newly hollowed sides accentuating the graceful curvature, which is in turn emphasised by a finely sandblasted finish. Complementing the case, which is water resistant to 30 meters, all the exterior elements – including the crown – are fashioned from titanium.

The ’glass box’ sapphire crystal, specially developed for the GNS2, maximises the dial opening, eliminating edges around its perimeter and reducing potential distortions. In addition to enhancing overall visibility, it provides an unobstructed view of the sophisticated mechanism, showcasing the multiple aesthetic details that define Genus’s celebrated craftsmanship.

At the core of the GNS2 resides the 260Rh-2 caliber. Fundamentally the same ‘brain’ as in the GNS1, it nevertheless represents a major evolution in aesthetics. Crafted in-house with exceptional finishes, its architecture encapsulates the essence of the Genus project: to conceive the movement in two parts that complement each other as a way to achieve more creative freedom, both in terms of aesthetics and engineering; but also to ensure greater flexibility and a capacity to evolve. One part, the basic movement, encompasses essential functions, including a unique barrel that provides an impressive 50-hour power reserve – a remarkable feat given the caliber’s complexity and moving masses. Atop this foundation sits the second part, the Genus signature hour and minute display complication.

Each component is designed and hand-decorated by Sébastien Billières in close collaboration with his sister Sarah. Featuring a blend of polishes and intricate straight-grain finishes, which are particularly challenging to achieve on large surfaces, every component interacts with light in a unique way, exuding a radiant lustre.

The regulating organ, distinguished by its blue hue, subtly complements the dial’s aesthetics. The intricate snailing of the ratchet wheel, along with all the painstakingly applied mirror-polished finishes, testifies to in-house craftsmanship that adheres to the exacting standards of Haute Horlogerie. Every single part has been crafted with the utmost care and precision.

Set to debut at the Geneva Watch Week in April 2024, the GNS2 ‘Launch Edition’ invites connoisseurs to explore an unexpected fusion of artistic craftsmanship and avant-garde technology.

Genus opens a new chapter with the GNS2 watch

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Reference GNS2 T5 (T5 = Grade 5 titanium) Limited ‘Launch’ Edition of 18 pieces

CASE
Material: Grade 5 titanium
Thickness: 18.8 mm
Diameter: 43 mm
Crystals: ‘Glass box’ sapphire crystal on the dial side; open case back with sapphire crystal – both crystals with anti-reflective coating
Crown: Grade 5 titanium; raised G-E-N-U-S letters on circumference provide grip
Water resistance: 3 ATM (equivalent to 30 meters)

MOVEMENT
Caliber: 260Rh-2, hand-wound, manufactured in the Genus workshops in Geneva
The movement is divided into two parts: one dedicated to energy generation and transmission; the other to energy distribution and regulation
Components: 278
Jewels: 26 rubies
Frequency: 2.5 Hz (18,000 vph – vibrations per hour)
Power reserve approximately 50 hours
Regulating organ: Swiss lever escapement, variable inertia balance wheel

DISPLAY COMPLICATION
Hours: 3 free-moving elements, arrows glide along the display complication’s periphery
Minutes: 3 free-moving elements, arrows following a figure-eight track (patented)

STRAP & BUCKLE
Material : Choice of alligator, saddle-finish calfskin or padded and stitched rubber; choice of colour
Buckle: Grade 5 titanium
Folding clasp upon request

PRICE
Retail price CHF 58,250/ USD 66,100 / EUR 61,360
(all prices excluding VAT; exchange rates at time of writing)

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