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De Bethune - 1, 2 and 3

De Bethune 1, 2 and 3

A threefold feat

Such watches are few and far between. Instantly recognizable, completely unique, profoundly revealing of a brand’s identity, abilities and values, such is De Bethune’s DB28. The line has been carrying a seemingly never-ending series of mechanical innovations. When De Bethune first launched the DB28 in 2010, the idea was to introduce a timepiece with a clear design identity, carrying a resolutely futuristic vision of watchmaking. The distinctive asymmetrical case shape, the crown at 12 o’clock inspired by pocket watches and De Bethune’s unique and patented floating lugs, designed also to significantly improve comfort, all of these demonstrated their self-evident purpose.

De Bethune celebrates the DB28’s 10th anniversary by introducing a set of three watches, exploring a new universe : the realm of the extra thin. The DB28XP, DB28XP Tourbillon and DB28XP Starry Sky are variations on that same theme. Each is a creation in its own right, yet all stem from the same roots, and are between 7.2 and 8.1 mm thick.  The new DB28XP are not about doing “less” but rather about pushing the limits, thinking differently and solving seemingly insurmountable problems. In the course of the brand’s history, thinness had never been really explored. But it now feels as an obvious evolution. The extra thin DB28 enter a new decade. They’re not about amplification but rather about distilling the essence. Throughout the process of designing an extra thin watch, De Bethune was driven as much by the technical challenge as the aesthetic challenge, by the complexity thinness implies.

Volumes and surfaces

Monochromatic by design, the DB28XP is first and foremost a reference to the very first DB28. It’s about all the levels at which one experiences a timepiece, its layers, volumes, the light playing with shadows and reflections. Shaped in titanium, both case and dial parts, the watch reveals an architectural fusion of space, time and light that lingers long after the first glance. De Bethune has achieved exactly the opposite of what is usually practiced in the world of extra thin watches and high watchmaking : it is precisely through the multitude of forms (hemispherical, concave, spherical, a sequence of microlight, satin, polished and mirror finishes) that refinement is accentuated. The dial is entirely made of Microlight, which shakes off the dust of the conventional and offers a modern take on traditional guilloché technique. This new technique plays with light and shadows, adds depth and offers a more architectural and dynamic result. The watch as whole becomes more contemporary. The delta-shaped mainplate – a De Bethune hallmark – is patiently polished until it becomes a true mirror. Finally, as a discreet De Bethune signature, blued titanium inserts enhance the hands’ centre.

De Bethune

DB28XP © De Bethune

Improving excellence

The hand-wound movement features De Bethune’s blued titanium balance wheel, visible through the dial thanks to an opening at 6 o’clock. Equally visible is the exclusive triple shock absorption system designed to protect the balance wheel and bridge. Then there is the De Bethune hairspring. This minute, extremely fine spring, considered to be the soul of the mechanical watch, maintains its true centre of gravity thanks to a flat terminal curve. It is through numerous tried and tested developments that De Bethune has succeeded in increasing the movement’s power reserve by 20 percent, bringing it to a total of 6 days. The last challenge was to preserve and adapt the functionality and wear comfort of De Bethune’s famous floating lugs. To that effect, the DB28 caseband has been completely redesigned, with a more pronounced curvature, flowing with the lines of the wrist and lugs. The DB28XP sublimates the spirit of the DB28, a true watershed born from the meeting of the brand’s knowhow with a resolutely futuristic vision for an extra thin watch.

De Bethune

DB28XP © De Bethune

Further thinning

The DB28XP Starry Sky offers a firmament to behold. A nocturnal window into the far reaches of space in which unfolds the sky’s infinite blue. Denis Flageollet, De Bethune’s designer, crafter and Master Watchmaker, has penned this exceptional timepiece, where dramatic lines meet the finesse of the case. Classic by inspiration with its round, extra thin shape, its crown at 12 o’clock and a hunter case-back borrowed from pocket watches, the DB28 Starry Sky comes in ultra-lightweight, mirror-polished titanium. Its redesigned floating lugs further emphasize its modern character. The dial’s grooved blued titanium surface refracts light in a flurry of directions, creating a mesmerizing optical effect. Into the deep blue expanse, a multitude of small white gold pins recreate the actual magic of stars on an actual night. Yet the firmament depicted is not random. The customer selects the date, time and location, and De Bethune will draw the sky map on the dial. True to the Maison’s brand cues, DB28XP Starry Sky features the hour circle in silver, the minutes in Arabic numerals, the discreet De Bethune signature at 12 o’clock and rose gold hands designed especially for this edition.

De Bethune

DB28XP Starry Sky © De Bethune

The 5 HZ marvel

The DB28XP Tourbillon combines ancestral knowledge with the latest technical and scientific advances. This third interpretation of the DB28 theme is directly inspired by the famous dial of the DB28 Digitale. It features an elegant and minimalist white dial with silver reflections rendered in a hand-engraved “barleycorn” guilloché pattern, highlighted by a blued hour circle. The half-minute tourbillon positioned at 6 o’clock is a titanium creation that beats at a frequency of 36,000 vibrations per hour. It features the world’s lightest cage. It weighs 0.18 gr. and the the lightest of its 63 components less than 0.0001g. The reason for such extreme figures is simple. Today, a watch worn on the wrist is subjected to more action than may be safely compensated for. Position changes are abrupt and sometimes chaotic. So De Bethune designed a tourbillon for the new dynamics of wristwatches. The laws of physics are clear. To compensate for the violence of wrist movements, the tourbillon cage must be as light as possible to offer minimal inertia and operate at maximum frequency and speed of rotation. Only then can it fulfill its function in a watch for today. True to the De Bethune spirit and soul, the DB28XP Tourbillon ably perpetuates the company’s heritage : daring aesthetics, exceptional mechanics.

De Bethune

DB28XP Tourbillon © De Bethune

 

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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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