Genus «People Are Always Excited to Try On Our Watches»
A small, young and independent brand, GENUS, is learning to manage its growth. This also involves ongoing education about its flagship model and the incredible level of finishing that goes into its spectacular display
Despite appearances, GENUS is a typical independent brand. Its success is based on a single model, the GNS1.2 and its exclusive full-gold movement. The company was propelled into the spotlight when they won the 2019 Prize for Mechanical Exception at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. The brand has created a new type of display, where minutes are represented by a succession of mobile elements, which move along an 8-shaped trajectory above a spectacular movement. These elements can take on many shapes, the most surprising of which are the articulated body of a dragon, or a series of traveling sapphires in a gradient of sparkling blues. Hours are displayed in full digits on the movement’s periphery, on mobile indices that also rotate.
This early success was a blessing, and a challenge which begged several questions. How to deal with the aftermath of such a win? What could they expect to happen next? With which customers? How would they manage current manufacturing challenges and the need for constant creativity? These are hot topics for any small brand like GENUS, but they strike home even more because GENUS is relentlessly independent and modest at the same time. Co-founder Catherine Henry gives us the lay of the land.
GNS1.2 RG © Genus
Can you explain at what stage of development Genus is now?
In the year it was launched, 2019, our GNS1.2 won the prize for Mechanical Exception at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. We're a small team, overflowing with projects, and Co-founder Sebastien Billières is our Master Watchmaker and technical director. The GNS1.2 is a highly adaptable timepiece. It has been designed for personalization which makes our customers very happy.
What kind of pace does that entail?
When you're an independent brand such as ours, money never stays for long on your bank account. What money we make is immediately used to further create, surround ourselves with the right people, and move on to the next stage. We're naturally under pressure, and that stimulates our creativity, our sense of risk taking. We’re not looking to make novelties for novelties' sake. We are developing GENUS at a safe and serene pace.
In the heart of the forge © Genus
How is your production organized?
We're a very young team. Our new atelier is in Geneva. From here, we go out and meet the world. As a result, we only release one novelty per year (Note from editor: a variation on the existing core model), which may not seem like much, but each timepiece fits a client's set of demands. So, we're constantly working on something new. As our movement is meant to be adapted, each set of display elements is different from the previous and next ones. We must shift and redevelop every time. It puts us to the test and drives us forward.
Which versions have introduced since 2019?
We can't publicize them all. They're made to measure for clients who mostly prefer confidentialiality. But all rely on a movement which we spent 10 years developing and three years prototyping and finalizing. When we released it, it had been thoroughly tested and was reliable. It allowed us to launch GENUS with confidence and make new professional contacts.
We have met an incredible metalsmith. He forges Damascus titanium from which we craft the GNS1.2 TD. Every time we receive a new block, it comes as a surprise. They're always different, thanks to the manufacturing technique, which is the same one used by Japanese swordsmiths. We need new words to describe each new block. Once the watch case has been crafted, the client can come to our workshop and personally participate in the heat-bluing of their own watch case to determine the intensity of the final colour Each time, it's an honour to have a collector wanting to own something as special as this.
Bright case in Damascene Titanium © Genus
GENUS, a singularity of time. Pushing back the limits of watch display, the brand has established its own watchmaking ethos. It resides upon on the experience of its Master Watchmaker, author of an unheard-of complication and its Manufacture movement, crafted of solid gold and enhanced by state-of-the-art Haute Horlogerie hand-finishings.Find out more >
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