I will repeat to you the words that I recently told De Bethune's CEO. There are expensive watches that I really appreciate and know that I would strongly consider getting them if I had the money. Then there is De Bethune, that actually makes me angry I cannot afford it." I've written about De Bethune a bit over the years - not having too much experience with the pieces. But recently I was fortunate enough to finally meet with the boutique Swiss brand and experience the magic.
Like a handful of other brands out there, De Bethune is a brand that even the most seasoned and mature watch lovers and collectors are extremely fond of. They simply do things others cannot. Their designs are out of this world, and their mechanics are brilliant, functional, and drop-dead gorgeous to admire. These watches are a dream - and funny enough one of their pieces is actually called "The Dream Watch."
2011 sees the DB25 - an interesting timepiece that plays with the tourbillon in a new way. Unlike some of De Bethune's other watches, the DB25 comes in a relatively classic looking case (aside from the skeletonized lugs) - that is 44.5mm wide in 18k white or rose gold. The dial ends with a ring of hand-engraved silver, while its center repeats De Bethune's sky theme of having a flame blued titanium plate that has been hand polished. Individual white gold "stars" are placed on the dial showing the night sky over the factory. The customer can custom order the dial to be the night sky of any place, at anytime in history.
Notice the cut-away window in the dial that has an indicator for the 5 day power reserve. Flip the watch over and you'll see a beautiful thing. This is the new De Bethune calibre DB2109 manually wound movement. You'll first notice the curved triangular like shape that you see on many of the brand's pieces. Finishing is just great, and the movement seems to pop out at you given the mix of colors from all the elements. The movement has a power reserve of 100 hours and is very accurate. The tourbillon has a few very special things about it.
First, this is a dead-beat seconds tourbillon - the first one I know of. This makes the seconds tick rather than sweep. The tourbillon is also a 30 second tourbillon. This is because it spins so quickly having a rate of 36,000 bmp. De Bethune re-engineered the tourbillon to help realized Breguet's original concept of it - but for a watch, not just a pocket watch. As such, De Bethune created the world's lightest tourbillon - weighing just 0.18 grams! The carriage is made out of silicium and titanium. For the balance wheel, they make it from silicium and platinum (cause it needs some weight to actually spin). For these reasons, it does not look like any tourbillon you'll have ever seen. The tourbillon bridge is in hand-fired blued titanium. Which is actually cool, because I though you could only flame blue steel.
Seeing the movement operate is so very cool. The DB2109 is perfectly indicative of what amazing things De Bethune is capable of. It is also worth adding that the watch is not too thick at just 11mm. I look forward to sharing with you more De Bethune watches. I am so happy to have finally made a personal acquaintance with the brand. Their pieces should exist on a short list of brands to get if you are looking for something very well-made and highly unique at a roughly $50,000-$90,000 price point.
Technical specs from De Bethune:
Movement DB2109 — mechanical hand-wound
Mainplate hand-decorated and snailed, hand-chamfered and polished steel parts, De Bethune stripes
Natural fired-blue titanium bridge
Self-regulating twin barrel*
Thermocompensated silicon/platinum balance wheel*
Balance-spring with flat terminal curve*
Ultra-light 0.18 gram silicon/titanium tourbillon carriage*
Jewelling: 45 jewels
Frequency: 36,000 vibrations per hour
Power reserve: 100 hour
Shaped case 44.6 mm in diameter in white or rose gold
Thickness: 10.8 mm
Glass: sapphire crystal with double glareproofing, 1800 Vickers
Crown: screw-locked at 12 o’clock — adjustable in two positions
Dial: De Bethune star-studded sky in blued steel with gold stars — Sterling silver hours and minutes ring
Hands: hand-polished steel
Open back revealing the 30-second rotating silicon/titanium tourbillon with jumping seconds
Strap: extra-supple alligator leather with pin buckle