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20th Anniversary
De Bethune - Denis Flageollet

De Bethune Denis Flageollet


“Innovation through tradition” is an oft-recurring refrain in watchmaking liturgy, repeated over and over again by virtually all the brands. It’s Denis Flageollet’s mantra too – the difference being that he actually practices what he preaches. Between 2000 and 2020, the creator of De Bethune turned his motto into an art, a science – and above all, a reality. In co-founding the Manufacture, Denis Flageollet, heir to three father-andson generations of watchmakers, created a watchmaking facility tailored to his larger-than-life requirements.

The first of those is team spirit. “I work with a team of engineers, mechanical engineers, decoration specialists and watchmakers; they’re the ones helping De Bethune move forward on a daily basis,” says Denis Flageollet. Equally important is a creative mindset that’s ring-fenced from the profit motive. “Financial considerations don’t have any say at all in what we develop. If they did, I’d be a very rich man!” he says wryly.

Denis Flageollet

Denis Flageollet © De Bethune

It takes a very special mindset to buy a De Bethune – the desire to wear a glimpse of the future of watchmaking, an embodiment of innovation, on your wrist. A new, patented perpetual calendar or a case with mobile lugs, perhaps; a “Maxichrono” with 5 central hands; a whole new balance wheel, hairspring, tourbillon, or some other component. The list of inventions and patents goes on and on.

Are Denis Flageollet’s imagination and creativity boundless, too? “Absolutely!” is his unhesitating reply. “There’s so much still to be done. It’s nice to have an illustrious past, but there’s no good resting on our laurels.” And besides, Denis Flageollet has time and energy to spare. How so? “I don’t see it as a job; it’s more about getting involved and having fun with the De Bethune team. It’s my main focus. I’m always popping in and out, in between sailing and skiing trips. It’s my life.”

*On the occasion of GMT Magazine and WorldTempus' 20th anniversary, we have embarked on the ambitious project of summarising the last 20 years in watchmaking in The Millennium Watch Book, a big, beautifully laid out coffee table book. This article is an extract. The Millennium Watch Book is available on www.the-watch-book.com, in French and English, with a 10% discount if you use the following code: WT2021.

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De Bethune embraces the wealth of the watchmaking knowhow of the past in order to design the watches of the future. This combination results in timepieces with all the attributes and technical expertise of Fine Watchmaking, whilst at the same time remaining free from traditional constraints.

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