Genus Paints from a Bold Palette with Rainbow Green
Haute horlogerie and joaillerie unite in the creation of Rainbow Green. Genus’s new Rainbow collection opens a creative, joyful, refined, multi-colored realm, where hours and colors revel and sparkle. Faithful to Genus’s hallmark display complication with its singular – and patented – approach to telling time, Rainbow Green is devoid of a dial and traditional hands.
A watch holds a unique significance, fostered by the profound connection between the timepiece and its wearer. As one takes the time to look at all the details that make the Rainbow Green so unique, one begins to understand the passion that inspired its creators. The smallest elements, even those that cannot be seen, have been technically perfected and hand-decorated with an unrivalled mastery of materials and techniques. The Genus signature shines through not just in the watch’s unique display, but also in its meticulous finishing touches.
In an innovative interpretation of the Rainbow style, Genus infuses a refreshing joyfulness into its signature creation. In this piece, the 12 genera – the iconic free-moving elements that indicate the tens of minutes – are set with splendidly colored sapphires in hues of red, orange, yellow, green, indigo, and light blue to form a moving rainbow. The lead genus, guiding the seemingly floating display that traces the sign of infinity in the shape of a figure 8, is a sparkling diamond.
Twelve green hour satellites, numbered from one to 12 with a numeral molded in white Super-LumiNova for perfect readability in the dark, progress along the movement’s periphery, flush with the crystal. Making a complete revolution once every 12 hours, each passes the fixed arrow positioned at nine o’clock, thus indicating the hour. Here, the hour meets the hand, rather than the other way around.
Developing the distinct Genus display required overcoming numerous challenges during the project’s 10 years of gestation and three years of development.
Embedding precious stones has long been one of the most beautiful ways to enhance the aesthetics of a watch, in particular its dial. Here, Genus distinguishes itself with creations that combine artistic flair – driven by a sober, subtle, youthful, discreet spirit, yet eminently wearable for everyday use – with impeccable technical execution.
The invisible setting of 12 gemstones on the 12 genera was, from the outset, a major challenge. While projecting the illusion of simplicity, the design and manufacture of these very special free-moving elements were in fact quite complex. Each stone was, precisely cut to a diamond shape, sized and perfectly fitted, needed to hold firmly in place while progressing in one fluid movement from one half of the ‘8’ to the other. A harmony in motion that is all the more challenging to achieve as the “hand-over” must take place without any of 12 genera touching other, without any friction and without the least wear on the finishes of the minute gears.
When the display complication comes to life, magic happens. The spectacular ballet only magnifies the experience of reading the time. As the procession of invisible-set gems advances, allowing each to sparkle at maximum brilliance and fire with the changing angle of light, finding out the tens of minutes is nothing short of mesmerizing. The movement is not impeded in the slightest by the weight of the 12 precious stones, retaining a comfortable power reserve of over 50 hours.
“Our watches, valuable as they are, are designed for daily enjoyment. The fact that we chose to animate it with a manual movement fosters a tighter bond with the wearer, and 30-meter water-resistance makes it perfect for everyday wear. Technology must be at the service of our vision, but above all at the service of the customer. The best way to bring a watch to life is to wear it,” say Sébastien Billières and Catherine Henry, co-founders of the Genus brand.
While the classic colors of horology are mostly confined to the black, white, gray, brown, beige and dark-blue palettes, we see vibrant hues of green shaking up the world of fine watchmaking; a testament to joy, optimism, prosperity and abundance no doubt make the color’s special appeal.
Made from Damascus titanium, a very rare material in haute horlogerie, Genus’s creation honors an ancestral craft rooted in a difficult and subtle savoir-faire. It bears similarities to the Japanese method of making samurai katana blades, a technique first applied to steel and in use since the 17th century. As titanium is three times tougher than steel and can be worked at even higher temperatures (between 1,200 and 1,400 degrees Celsius), only the best of bladesmiths are up to the challenge of hand-working the metal into folds and creases before forging it into a blade of tremendous strength with a unique, hypnotic pattern.
The particular hue of Rainbow Green is achieved after finishing, polishing and satin-brushing the watch case: that is when it undergoes an anodic oxidation, an electrolytic process that changes the color.
The spectacular end result shimmers in an intense green with a moiré effect that generates undulating reflections as the Damascus titanium seems to vibrate in the light. Complex and fascinating, the entire process also makes each piece completely unique.
Eschewing the traditional dial and hands, the architecture of the 160W-1.2 caliber is all the more spectacular for the special sapphire crystal that eliminates a ridge around its periphery and potential distortions, affording an unobstructed view of the subtle workings of a movement in two parts.
The first, which can be described as the foundational movement, groups the essential functions, including a single barrel. It provides 50 hours of power reserve, which is considerable given the complexity of the caliber and the masses it must keep in motion. The second, on top, holds the complications that display the hours and tens of minutes, with the two striking arrows, green (at 9 o'clock) pointing to the hours, and white (at 3 o'clock) pointing to the precise minute.
With a diameter of 43mm and a thickness of 13.1 mm, equipped with the 160W-1.2 caliber, the movement is made up of 406 components, all designed, created and hand-decorated in the workshops of watchmaker Sébastien Billières in Plan-Les-Ouates in the Canton of Geneva.
There is not a single part that has not been crafted with the most meticulous care and respect for the standards of haute horlogerie. The escapement bridge is mirror-polished. The plate and three bridges are bead-blasted, creating a matte effect that allows a subtle visual contrast with the glossy finishes. All edges have been chamfered and polished. Better still, they are shaped in such a way as to create even more vivid reflections and light variations.
Because it sees technology as being at the service of aesthetics, Genus has defined certain codes that are both traditional and contemporary, tenets to which the brand has remained faithful since its creation in 2019. Rewarded at the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève with the Mechanical Exception Prize, the complication developed by Genus is infinitely adaptable. Each timepiece is a concentrate of watchmaking culture that appeals to both the enlightened amateur and the lover of fine objects.
All components have been designed and crafted by hand, in line with the finest traditions of haute horlogerie. The circular-grained wheels, bridges and plate are hand-beveled, while the majority of the steel parts are mirror-polished as well as beveled and grained by hand. In the end, every single part tells a piece of the whole of watchmaking history, creating a bridge between past, present, and future.
Making a magical mix of savoir-faires, watchmaker, gem-setter, stone-cutter and jeweler come together to find the perfect balance between mechanical constraints and aesthetic intent. An eternally unalterable serenity emanates from this watch; and yet it was conceived as a contradiction in terms, comprising one thing and its opposite. Lasting beauty is found in the juxtaposition of contradictory elements: satin-brushed and polished surfaces, curves and lines, shadow and light, past and present, colorful and discreet. And from this interplay, a perfect balance is born: Rainbow Green.