This Genus Titanium Watch Is Forged Using Ancient Japanese Methods

The high-tech complication pushes horological limits.

By Martin Lerma 23/07/2020

What do katana swords and Genus’s latest timepiece have in common? They’re both made with centuries-old metalworking technique that separates them from their peers.

For the first time, the Swiss watchmaker known for flouting convention–its complications read time sans traditional dials and hands–created a timepiece, the GNS1.2 TD, forged from Damascene Titanium. The rare metal, which is seldom ever used even in the most exclusive watches, is treated using a method called mokume-gane practiced by Japanese swordsmiths since the 17th century.

The time-honoured process involves the repeated hammering and folding of the metal, something requiring immense skill, and results in a remarkable look; the individual layers can be seen laminated together. And because it’s titanium, it also happens to be three times stronger than steel while also being 40 per cent lighter. The extremely high temperatures needed to fire the piece–between 1200 and 1380 degrees Celsius–only serve to enhance its hardness and durability.

Genus GNS1.2 TD Damascene Titanium

The complication uses a rare Japanese technique to forge its striking titanium case. Courtesy of GENUS

Every example of the GNS1.2 TD has blue dye applied to it by hand while over an open flame. The scorching temperature and colouring highlight its natural layers simultaneously for an almost psychedelic effect. Future owners are invited to attend this portion of the construction, when they can also decide on their desired finish: matte, satin or polished. The strata are made even more visible as the initial block of titanium is shaped and moulded into the final 43mm case. The use of these ancient methods is all the more striking when considering Genus launched as a business just last year.

The 18K gold in-house, manually wound movement (which won the Mechanical Exception Prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève for 2019) is housed within. It’s complete with 26 jewels and operates at 2.5 Hz or 18’000 vibrations per hour with a 50-hour power reserve and is water-resistant up to 30 meters. Customization options extend to the fastening with buyers able to select either a strap cut from hand-stitched calfskin or alligator upon special request.

Head over to the brand’s website to learn more and order one of your own. That is, if you have $218,290 handy.

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