De Bethune is known for its groundbreaking technological innovations – the company holds a number of patents – and also for its quite remarkable design. Both the technical aspects, as wel as the aesthetics, can be seen as an eclectic mix of classic Haute Horlogerie and state-of-art futuristic mechanics. Style-wise they probably lean more towards classic and certainly cannot be called sporty. That is, until now. De Bethune now introduces the DB28GS, the sporty one of the collection.
In the world of proper high-end watches, there are simply just a handful of sports watches. The vast majority of real high-end watches are either classic dress watches or feature one, two or more complications. And let us immediately make clear that a Panerai or IWC with an in-house movement is certainly a beautiful watch, however in our book it’s no ‘haute de gamme’, as the French call it. So what De Bethune introduces here is in more than one way a rare timepiece. A true high-end watch, with all characteristics one could/should expect from a sports watch.
The DB28 GS is the first De Bethune to come on a rubber strap, which is even integrated into the open parts of the floating lugs. The “microlight” decoration of the bridges, comes back in the pattern of the natural rubber strap, which is closed by a matching tang buckle in titanium. The lugs pivot at 3 and at 9 o’clock, and follow the wrist’s shape, to ensure a maximum wearing comfort. Other ‘ingredients’ that contribute to the superior comfort is the titanium case, which measures 44 by 11 mm, and which is of course very light due to the nature of its material.
It is also the brand’s first wrist watch that is water resistant to a depth of 100 meters. That does not per se make it a dive watch, but you can feel free to jump into the ocean with the DB28GS strapped to your wrist.
As you can see, the dial is different. Yes, there’s a central hour hand and a central minute hand, and no second hand. A dial is simply absent, but the bidges are beautifully adorned by so-called microlight decoration, and so is the main plate. The deltoid-shaped bridge is black polished to a mirror finish, and so is the balance bridge that also features the De Bethune patented Triple pare-chute shock-absorbing system. This bridge, which stretches from the 4 o’clock to the 8 o’clock position, holds the silicon/white gold balance with flat terminal curve balance-spring (also patented) in place. The latter ensures an ideal inertia to mass ratio for an optimal frequency of 28,800 vph.
De Bethune’s DB2115 calibre measures 30mm in diameter, and comprises 262 individual parts. The finishing and decorations have all be done by hand and are of superb quality, like all De Bethune watches. The bridges with De Bethune microlight motif hold the double self-regulating barrels (yes, again patented by De Bethune) in place and together deliver 6 days of autonomy, when fully wound.
While the power reserve indicator is on the reverse side, there’s also a small blue hand at the 3 o’clock position that tells you whether the main spring is fully wound or not.
The patents for the curve of the balance-spring as well as the annular balance, featuring maximum inertia and minimal weight, composed of a disc made of open-worked silicon (a light material in the centre) and white gold (a heavy material on the exterior), all present significant technical advances contributing to the performance and precision of this in-house designed and manufactured movement.
On the wrist the new sporty De Bethune isn’t exactly the smallest watch, so expect it will perfectly slide underneath your cuffs. Its diameter is a hefty 44 mm, however for a sports watch is not thick, with just 11 mm. Its looks are stealthy, über-technical and futuristic and that matches very well with the sporty character. And the floating lugs are so ingenious that I’m amazed that no one else ever thought of this before. Really brilliant! Again a beautiful creation from De Bethune that steps away from “just a watch with 2 or 3 hands” and becomes modern horological art.