It’s a long road back to redemption for independent watchmaker De Bethune but so far, all signs suggest they are well and truly on the right track. The latest indication comes in the form of the new DB27 Titan Hawk V2 (DB27TIS1 V2), a fitting follow-up to the original model that launched the DB27 collection in 2012 – later seen in a matte version. Slightly more understated than its elder siblings, the new DB27 Titan Hawk V2 offers a lightweight titanium case, complete with the brand’s trademark floating lugs, but pairs it with a cleaner-looking dial. There’s no more central date display but we do get a seconds hand instead. And that’s not all that’s changed.
As Brice explained in an earlier article (which you can read here), De Bethune has spent the last 2 years in something of a no man’s land dealing with a complicated financial and managerial situation. It seemed almost certain that the company was fated to go the way of several other high-end independent watch brands, before Pierre Jacques, former CEO of the brand, announced that he, along with a private investment consortium, would be taking over last October. Jacques has pledged to get the Manufacture that he helped build back on track and return to producing the incredible timepieces we all know and covet.
The first watch to be launched under the new ownership/management team was the gorgeous DB28 Steel Wheels unveiled next to SIHH 2018. Following hot on the heels of this early success is the new DB27 Titan Hawk V2, a stylish timepiece that encompasses everything we love about De Bethune.
Presented in a 43mm x 9mm case crafted from grade 5 titanium with brushed and polished surfaces, it is an exceptionally good-looking watch on the wrist. The lightweight titanium, combined with De Bethune’s patented ‘floating lugs’, also mean that it is exceedingly comfortable. If you’ve ever strapped on a De Bethune with these types of lugs you’ll know exactly what I mean. The lugs pivot at 3 and 9 o’clock, meaning they can wrap themselves around almost any wrist size to ensure a snug fit against your skin. They also add an extra element to the design architecture of the case, which is visually very interesting.
As with the original DB27 Titan Hawk, the V2 features a silver-toned microlight dial. The layout is the same as before, with a chapter ring complete with Roman numerals for the hour markers, and a second minutes circle with Arabic numerals placed around the outer rim of the dial. As I mentioned earlier, the central date indication is gone, as is the hollowed-out, blued steel hand. Instead, we now have sandblasted hands, still open-worked and now with hand polished flamed-blued steel only at the ends. There’s also the addition of small seconds hand in flamed blue steel.
Turning the DB27 Titan Hawk V2 over, we get another surprise. On the original models, a porthole on the back of the case revealed only the balance. Now, however, we have a full sapphire case back, putting the new self-winding AUTOV2 mechanical movement on glorious display. Comprised of 217 parts, it features a titanium balance wheel with white gold inserts, a “De Bethune” balance-spring with a flat terminal curve, a steel escape wheel and optimized oscillating weight in titanium and alloy of tungsten. Oscillating at 28,800vph, it offers a 60-hour power reserve when fully juiced up. As you expect from De Bethune, everything is finished and decorated by hand to an exacting standard.
Presented on an extra-supple alligator leather strap with alligator lining, the watch is attached to the wrist via a pin buckle in matching grade 5 titanium. Best of all, pricing is the same as when the original DB27 Titan Hawk was introduced in 2012, at CHF 37,000. More details on www.debethune.ch.