When I think of De Bethune watches I think of spacey designs, micro-mechanical marvels, and innovative engineering. Not hand-engraved gold dials that remember the Mayan civilization. Despite the fact that this DB25 IX Maya watch feels like a serious departure from what I expect at De Bethune, I still have a lot of appreciation for what this highly limited edition watch is.
De Bethune attempted to educate me on the nature of the engraving, the meaning of the glyphs, and something about the Mayan "Long Count" calendar which is a lengthy period of 144,000 days. The character in the middle is called baktun, or represents baktun (whatever that is). The dial is rich with Mayan numerals and other symbols that have great meaning to Mayan historians. Also perhaps it has meaning to "end of days" lovers that think that in 2012 the world is going to go kaput. Or was that the Aztec calendar? I keep getting ancient calender systems confused. There are at least 12 of those people with enough love (and cash) to pick up one of these more than $100,000 watches right? Where do all the modern day Mayans millionaires reside? Good question.
I didn't have much time to take highly detailed photographs of the dial - but you get the idea. It really is a neat piece of artwork thanks to engraver Michele Rothen. The dials are solid gold, and engraved by hand to replicate the Mayan iconography as well as to give the dial the appearance of aged rock. The hour indicators are blue, which are hand-applied blued steel pieces. The most special aspect of the dial in my opinion are the hands. Here you get to see some De Bethune DNA in their shape. They are also made from sapphire crystal with blued tips. This is not only an exclusive De Bethune process, but the clever hands allow you to see the dial details mostly unobscured while reading the time.
Inside the watch is a manually wound in-house produced De Bethune caliber DB2005 movement. It has a long six day power reserve and indicates just the time. The movement further features a silicon balance wheel. You can see the unique looking De Bethune movement through a sapphire crystal on the back of the watch. Both sapphire crystals use a lot of AR coating for good legibility. While the movement isn't that complicated, it is attractive alright.
44mm wide, the DB25 IX Maya case is in 18k white gold with those noticeable hollowed out lugs. These don't hinge like those on some other De Bethune timepieces. This is one of De Bethune's more classic looking cases. Attached to these is a supple black alligator strap.
The DB25 IX Maya is also know as the DB25 Ninth Maya Underworld. Again, I don't know what that means and to be honest the story is cool but I don't really care about the details. I think the art is nice and Mayan culture sounds fun and all. Though I don't have a connection to it, and if I ever traveled back in time I would avoid the entire region for fear of my head being sacrificially severed... and my heart then perhaps eaten. The artistry is amazing and I do appreciate the watch for that a lot. This is probably not going to be your first De Bethune watch - as for the price I would recommend more suitable entries into the brand. Limited to only 12 pieces, the DB25 IX Maya watch retails for 90,000 Swiss Francs.