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Geneva Watch Days
De Bethune - A Crystalline Celebration

De Bethune A Crystalline Celebration

De Bethune releases the DB28 Steel Wheels Sapphire Tourbillon at Geneva Watch Days.

This is a special year in which to be celebrating an anniversary, let’s put it this way. If you’re a brand, planning something to commemorate a particular model or collection in 2020, it needs to be pretty outstanding in order to capture our attention at this time. Case in point: De Bethune with their DB28 10th anniversary timepieces. Just a few months ago in mid-April, De Bethune released three new DB28 models in an extra-thin format; an entirely new domain for the Ste-Croix brand. One of those was an exceptionally beautiful tourbillon, highlighting the remarkable ability of Denis Flageollet to execute perfectly conceived micro-mechanical works of art that combine heavy-duty technical skill with lightness and grace.

A Crystalline Celebration

DB28 Steel Wheels Sapphire Tourbillon © De Bethune

On the occasion of the inaugural Geneva Watch Days salon that came into being when the global health pandemic precipitated the twin cancellations of Baselworld and Watches & Wonders (the latter moving entirely to an online format), De Bethune are releasing a fourth commemorative piece — the DB28 Steel Wheels Sapphire Tourbillon.

The original DB28 Steel Wheels debuted in the beginning of 2018, with a bold aesthetic that appealed directly to the ardent followers of De Bethune (and there are quite a few, yours truly included). Spherical hour markers echoed the shape of the signature spherical moonphase indication — accurate to 122 years — at 6 o’clock. Sapphire crystal hands, seen previously in models that required as much of the dial as possible to be visible, such as the DB26 Perpetual Calendar and the DB25 dials inspired by ancient Mayan art, made another appearance here, to emphasise the openness of the dial architecture. 

A Crystalline Celebration

DB28 Steel Wheels Sapphire Tourbillon © De Bethune

Now, the new DB28 Steel Wheels encloses its titanium-and-white-gold balance in a tourbillon cage, pumping up the aesthetic dynamism of the Steel Wheels by an exponential factor. The hallmark De Bethune tourbillon rotates once every 30 seconds, a speed facilitated by the extremely low mass of the balance and silicon escapement. The other component of the DB28 Steel Wheels Sapphire Tourbillon’s name comes from the signature delta-shaped bridge occupying the centre of the dial — a laser-cut, electric-blue arrowhead of transparent blue synthetic sapphire — and the clear sapphire-crystal barrel covers.

A Crystalline Celebration

DB28 Steel Wheels Sapphire Tourbillon © De Bethune

In place of the sapphire crystal hands (probably to avoid sapphire crystal overkill) are openworked hands in polished and flame-blued (another De Bethune calling card) titanium. If this is how De Bethune celebrates anniversaries even in a challenging year, I can’t wait to see what they come up with for future special events.


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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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