While the COVID pandemic has completely disrupted the global watch fair calendar, a few events have been maintained, including the upcoming Salón Internacional Alta Relojería (SIAR). Latin America’s most important watch fair will be held from October 20 to 22 in Mexico City. With over 30 brands participating, it will be one of the rare face-to-face horological events in 2020. SIAR has often been an opportunity for brands to release special editions celebrating Mexico and its culture. Among the watches presented in 2020 is the De Bethune Maestri’Art DW5 Armilia Cempasúchil, an opulent tribute to the festive spirit of Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebrations and to the works of Mexican artist, José Guadalupe Posada.
The De Bethune DW5 (a.k.a. Dream Watch 5) is a UFO that landed on the horological scene in 2014. Combining futuristic aesthetics with watchmaking innovations, this 58mm x 47mm delta-shaped miniature spaceship is a watch like no other. Through a hand-cut sapphire window, the time is displayed in an original but simple fashion, with jumping hours and dragging analogue minutes. A tiny rotating moon indication is made of two blued steel and palladium half-spheres. At the back of the case, an opening offers a view of the pulsating balance wheel.
Part of the Maestri’Art collection, the latest take on the model pays tribute to Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebrations. In the Mexican tradition, el Día de los Muertos is a joyful time for people to remember the deceased and celebrate their memory. The engraved case of this unique piece DW5 is inspired by the work of Mexican artist José Guadalupe Posada, with characteristic phantasmagorical motifs including La Catrina (the referential image of death in Mexico) and blossoms of cempasúchil (the marigold also called La Flor de los Muertos – the flower of the dead).
To masterfully reproduce this Día de los Muertos imagery on this wrist-sized sculpture, De Bethune commissioned the talents of one of the top artist/engravers in Switzerland, Michele Rothen, working in concert with Denis Flageollet, master watchmaker and founder of De Bethune. The technical challenge was not only working with a titanium case, but also of having it flame-blued, hand-engraved, and decorated with delicate gold inserts. And to take the level of difficulty a few notches higher still, several different types of 18k gold alloy are used. Metal colour experimentation is characteristic of Denis Flageollet’s work, and in this instance, white gold, yellow gold, rose gold, green gold and marbled gold (a blend of white gold, rose gold and yellow gold) are combined.
The De Bethune DW5 is powered by the hand-wound calibre DB2144V2, made of no fewer than 355 parts and incorporating several of the brand’s innovations. It performs 28,800 vibrations per hour and its five-day power reserve is ensured by a self-regulating twin-barrel. The regulator incorporates a silicon balance encircled by a gold rim, a De Bethune balance spring and a silicon escape wheel. The precision moon-phase mechanism is accurate to one lunar day every 1112 years.
The De Bethune Maestri’Art DW5 Armilia Cempasúchil is presented on a hand-sewn Karung leather strap. It is closed by a titanium buckle with a pink gold pin. The price for this unique piece is set at CHF 275,000. For more information, please visit www.debethune.ch.