For the last 2 years, De Bethune has been dealing with a complicated financial and managerial situation. Yet, in October 2017, the company announced that an investment consortium led by Pierre Jacques, former CEO of the brand, was about to take over the company and put this manufacture back on track. In the middle of the SIHH 2018, here is the first watch of this “new De Bethune”, a variation on the well-known DB28 model, with a skeletonized movement. Meet the DB28 Steel Wheels.
De Bethune has always been, and still remains, one of the most surprising members of the “independent watchmaking scene”, known for its modern, highly technical and superbly finished pieces. The company has developed and produced no less than 25 calibres entirely in-house, around 30 world’s firsts, a number of patents, as well as 150 one-of-a-kind models. Notable models are, for instance, the DB28, in several editions such as the Black Matte or the Digital, the DB27 with a Titan Hawk Matte edition, or the MaxiChrono, an impressive chronograph. One common point to all these watches: their unique style, based on articulated lugs, their modernity, their spectacular finishing and innovative technical solutions.
As the company is trying to get back on the rails, a new watch is introduced – which is, in fact, a known model, dressed in a new way. The De Bethune DB28 Steel Wheels has been created using a known technical base, yet it provides a new decoration and style to its movement, now fully opened to reveal wheels and pinions. The signature triangular bridge on top of the movement has been opened to the max to reveal the gear train and twin barrels (which ensure a solid 6-day power reserve) and the wheels underneath have also been redesigned to offer a technical and modern look.
To complete this “opened” design, the hands of the DB28 Steel Wheels have been re-shaped, with the hour hand being made out of sapphire with a chamfered and blued frame. The minute hand, thinner and non-obtrusive, remains classical, in hand-polished and flame-blued steel. If some things have changed, others have not, including the superb spherical moon indication at 6. Made of palladium and flamed-blued steel, it indicates the age of the moon with an accuracy of one lunar day every 122 years, in a specific “rotation”.
Also equal to the previous De Bethune watches, the DB28 Steel Wheels exposes its balance wheel under a superbly polished bridge – here we have a Titanium balance wheel with white gold inserts, “De Bethune” balance-spring and Silicon escape wheel. The case remains unchanged, with the signature articulated lugs (available in two sizes) and the fully polished grade 5 titanium surfaces. Production will be limited to 25 pieces.
More details to come after the SIHH 2018 – debethune.ch.