With its unique approach to watchmaking that fuses classic watchmaking codes and complications, avant-garde cases, innovative technology and beautiful cosmic scenery, it’s safe to say that nobody does it quite like De Bethune. The latest watch to join the DB25 family is the DB25GMT Starry Varius, a practical GMT model that joins its more complex sibling, the DB25 World Traveller of 2016. Marking the brand’s 29th in-house calibre, Denis Flageollet has incorporated a second time zone complication inside the dreamy DB25 Starry Varius watch. Fascinating to look at, the ‘mysterious’ GMT display signals the time with a rotating sphere that also works as a day/night indicator.
The Starry Varius sub-family of the DB25 includes the Starry Varius with its customisable night sky and the Starry Varius Chronomètre Tourbillon that won the GPHG 2018 Chronometry prize. Like the two Starry Varius models in collection, the 42mm case is made of polished grade 5 titanium, the lugs are integrated and openworked, the sapphire caseback reveals the movement and the dial is decorated with a starry sky and the hazy band of the Milky Way. Despite the more complex movement below, the case height of 11.8mm is relatively slim, just 3mm thicker than the simpler time-only Starry Varius.
In a clear departure from most dual-time dial layouts, the DB25GMT Starry Varius relies on three concentric rings to relay the local time, home time and date. What is remarkable, though, is the impressive depth De Bethune has achieved on the dial thanks to the different heights, finishings and theatrical staging.
Local time is depicted on the raised and rounded silver flange on the periphery (almost like a doughnut) that hovers above a deep well. Flame-blued steel hands with bent tips to follow the curvature of the ring read the black Arabic numerals for the hours; the minutes, represented by blue dots, are located on the outermost rose gold ring. Local time is set at the crown in both directions.
At the lowest level of the dial is the 24-hour silver track for home or reference time, which can be set in both directions via the crown. The numerals are picked out in gold for day and black for night (except for 6 a.m and 6 p.m., which are white and outlined in black). Where things get interesting, though, is the function of the diminutive sphere made of rose gold and blued titanium. Instead of a regular GMT hand, both the time and the day/night function are indicated by the rotating sphere. In the photos, the sphere hovers above the 6 a.m. marker and reveals identical portions of gold and blued titanium. As the time advances during the daytime hours, the microsphere reveals more rose gold; as it passes the 6 p.m. marker, the sphere reveals more blue. In fact, the technology behind the 3D revolving moon was developed and patented by De Bethune for earlier models like the DB28 with spherical revolving moon phases and the impressive DB25QP perpetual calendar.
A raised platform in the centre of the dial indicates the date on a curved ring with a flame-blued jumping hand. Representing a poetic vision of the sky by day and by night, the centre of the platform is decorated with De Bethune’s signature electric blue night sky. Obtained with blued and polished titanium and punctuated with gold pins – hand-fitted one by one to depict the stars – the Milky Way pattern and its characteristic haze are laser-milled and gilded with 24k gold leaf. The upper section of the central dial represents the day with a polished rose gold sun emanating its rays across a silver microlight background. Microlight engraving is an updated interpretation of the traditional guilloché technique that plays with light and shadows. To correct the date, there is a corrector in the case at 6 o’clock.
29th in-house calibre
The hand-wound Calibre DB2507 is De Bethune’s 29th movement and can be admired through the sapphire crystal caseback with double anti-reflective coating. De Bethune’s signature delta-shaped main bridge features an extensive mirror-polished surface with a smaller area decorated with Côtes de Bethune enhanced with microlight engraving. Polished bevelled angles and polished slots for the rubies, along with the hand-snailed finishings on the two barrels, reveal the Haute Horlogerie pedigree of the watch.
Packed with De Bethune patented technology and innovations, the two self-regulating mainspring barrels ensure a 5-day power supply (DB innovation 2004). The titanium balance wheel with white gold weights (DB patent 2016) neutralises the effects of temperature variations thanks to its interaction with the balance wheel fitted with a flat terminal curve (DB patent 2006). The escape wheel is silicon, and a triple pare-chute shock-absorbing system secures the regulator with a titanium bridge (DB innovation 2005). Last but not least, the movement also incorporates the revolving spherical day/night indicator (DB patent 2004).
The De Bethune DB25GMT Starry Varius is presented on a supple black alligator leather strap with alligator lining and a titanium pin buckle. The watch will retail for CHF 95,000.
For more information, please visit www.debethune.ch.