De Bethune Baselworld 2014 : Mechanical innovation and unbridled creativity
— Denis Flageolet and David Zanetta present a new type of clutch that is revolutionising the chronograph mechanism. A look at the DB29 Maxichrono Tourbillon, DB28 Maxichrono, as well as the DB28 Dark Shadows and the Dream Watch 5.2.
Hats off! While De Bethune had already thrilled unconditional fans of the work of Denis Flageollet and David Zanetta in January 2014 by unveiling the DB28 Digitale on the fringes of the SIHH, the brand is once again introducing yet another hard-hitting innovation – which is something else indeed! After seven years of R&D, the De Bethune presents a timepiece following on from the work undertaken by the great master watchmakers of the Age of Enlightenment. It reflects a mind-set rooted in the belief that there are many technical watchmaking fields just waiting to be explored – and admirably demonstrates the truth of this conviction.
DB29 Maxichrono Tourbillon
The DB29 Maxichrono Tourbillon is the perfect embodiment of this philosophy. It house a patented new device, the absolute clutch, which aims to eliminate the classic flaws of chronograph mechanisms – whether equipped with a vertical or lateral clutch – in order to achieve notably improved performances. A true revolution!
The five central hands – representing a highly complex mechanical structure – are intended to enhance the aesthetic and functional readability of this instrument designed for measuring long periods of time (almost up to 24 hours). This mono-pusher chronograph has no small counters, but instead a set of concentric scales that give the dial a somewhat disconcertingly classic aesthetic. Imbued with a restrained, understated spirit that is the exact opposite of showiness, the watch initially reveals nothing of its innovative mechanics. Running counter to watch industry custom, the tourbillon only shows its face on the reverse side of the watch and is unveiled by opening the double back held in place by an invisible hinge.
The tourbillon model issued in a 20-piece limited edition for 2014 is matched by a model with a very similar aesthetic, the DB28 Maxichrono, also available in a 20-piece limited run for this year. Equipped with the De Bethune absolute clutch, this time-measuring instrument also featuring the same five central hands counts off the time on 24-hour, 60-minute and 60-seconds subdials. Like the tourbillon model, the pink gold case houses a concentrated blend of innovations and patents: a self-regulating twin barrel, a silicon/white gold balance – and balance-spring with flat terminal curve; and a silicon escape wheel. A true marvel embodying an impressive feat on both technical and aesthetic levels.
DB28 Dark Shadows
Alongside these two models, De Bethune is revisiting its classics – although the latter is probably not an appropriate term for the brand. The DB28 vividly showcasing the two founders’ creativity appears attired in black in an ultra-chic Dark Shadows version. Renowned for its research on innovative materials, De Bethune has chosen to work with zirconium, which guarantees excellent resistance, remarkable hardness as well as fade-resistant colours. The satin-brushed black treatment giving an all-matt effect nonetheless creates a variety of subtly graded shades. As if at the touch of a magic wand, the equally black moon stands out discreetly against a chiaroscuro backdrop at 6 o’clock.
Dream Watch 5.2
The unbridled creativity of De Bethune’s two founders finds extreme expression in the Dream Watch 5.2, which reveals the extent to which David Zanetta and Denis Flageollet have managed to break free of the scales and proportions of traditional watchmaking. This wristworn sculpture now also comes in a light and resistant blackened zirconium version that is destined to resist the passing of time. This horological work of art in all its pristine purity bears the unmistakable signature of De Bethune visible in the small two-tone sphere spherical moon phase, as well as displaying the brand’s iconic deltoid shape.