Monochrome Watches
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The Impressive Complexity and Beauty of the De Bethune DB Kind of Grande Complication

Eight complications spread across two dials with radically different personalities amalgamate Denis Flageollet's technical and aesthetic voyage over the last 22 years

| By Rebecca Doulton | 5 min read |

Blurring the lines between classical watchmaking, traditional craftsmanship and contemporary design, De Bethune offers collectors the best of all worlds. Spearheaded by master watchmaker Denis Flageollet, De Bethune’s latest masterpiece is a compendium of the core technical and aesthetic markers accumulated by the brand over the past 22 years. The eight complications of this impressive timepiece are showcased across two dials, each flaunting distinct design characteristics, the immaculate finishings and dynamically staged complications we associate with the brand. Meet the glorious De Bethune DB Kind of Grande Complication.

The Vessel

The DB Kind of Grande Complication can be regarded as a culmination of Denis Flageollet’s dreams packed with the brand’s patented technical and decorative elements. The choice of a reversible double-sided case, with its ingenious rotation system allowing the case to pivot smoothly around its central axis, was something we had seen on the DB Kind of Two Tourbillon in 2021, the Kind of Two Jumping GMT in 2022. Double-sided watches, or watches with two different faces, are hardly new and occasionally used by high-end brands to display a host of complications. Like the two faces of the Roman god Janus, one looking to the past and the other to the future, one side of the dial is more classical while the other is futuristic.

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Crafted in polished grade 5 titanium, the double-sided hunter-style case has a diameter of 43.3mm and a thickness of 13.85mm (relatively thin considering the number of complications). The crown is at noon on the front side and at 6 o’clock on the reverse, and the signature floating lugs are equipped with a pivoting system. Operated by a cam indexing system, the case aligns perfectly with the floating lugs that follow the contours of the wrist.

Futuristic Face

The contemporary face of the DBK2TV2 is home to the high-speed De Bethune 30-second tourbillon, the retrograde age of the Moon, the end of the power reserve indication and the time. Commanding the centre of the dial is De Bethune’s hallmark deltoid bridge, with its bright mirror-polished titanium surface supporting the asymmetric gear trains. The gleaming bridge is surmounted by a second, smaller blued-titanium deltoid structure for the minutes and jumping seconds bridge. The co-axial titanium hands are also blued (and hand polished!) with open-tipped Breguet-style hours and minutes hands and the central jumping seconds hands. The seconds are relayed on the peripheral silvered track.

De Bethune’s fast-beating tourbillon regulator is located at 6 o’clock on the DB Kind of Grande Complication and performs a rotation in 30 seconds thanks to the 5Hz/ 36,000vph frequency. Not only is it fast, but it is ultra-light, with most of its 63 components crafted in titanium and weighing just 0.18g. The slender mirror-polished steel hand on the tourbillon records the seconds.

Positioned beneath the deltoid bridge on the right side of the dial is the silver-toned track revealing the age of the Moon, indicated by an arrow-shaped blue indicator that performs a retrograde jump at the end of the month back to the beginning of the cycle. The small aperture at 9 o’clock indicates the end of the power reserve.

Classical Face

Swivelling the case of the DB Kind of Grande Complication reveals the more classical face, which hosts a perpetual calendar and a 3D moon phase display. A combination of the DB25 Starry Varius with its gorgeous, blued mirror-polished titanium night sky and the DB25 Perpetual Calendar, the sky of the Grande Complication features a swathe of the Milky Way. The sky is decorated by hand using tiny white gold pins as stars; to recreate the hazy Milky Way galaxy, the titanium is micro-milled by laser and gilded with 24k gold leaf.

The three-dimensional rotating moon phase indicator is placed at 3 o’clock, with one hemisphere in flame-blued steel and the other in mirror-polished palladium. The movements of our celestial neighbour are supported by a high-precision mechanism that takes a full 122 years to accumulate a one-day deviation. The smaller hole next to the moon phase is the leap year indicator.

The rectangular apertures for the day of the week and month have blue backgrounds and gilded inscriptions. The date is indicated on a raised blued ring with gilded numerals and indicated by a yellow gold hand. The classical Roman numerals representing the hours and the Arabic numerals for the minutes are inscribed on the raised opaline outer flange and indicated by polished yellow gold open-tipped hands. With so many three-dimensional components, the hour and minute hands are slightly bent at the tip and glide smoothly over the Moon.

Eight Complications, One Calibre

Although De Bethune has a formidable number of in-house calibres under its belt – 31 calibres without counting this Grande Complication – combining eight different complications in one watch is a gargantuan challenge. The manual-winding calibre DB2529 comprises 552 parts and is packed with De Bethune patented goodies. While its 5Hz frequency animates the ultra-light 30-second titanium tourbillon, the self-regulating twin barrel ensures a robust 4-day power reserve. The crown is used to wind and set the date and time while the month, day of the week and moon phases are adjusted via correctors on the case.

Availability & Price

A sapphire crystal with double anti-reflective coating for maximum viewing pleasure protects both dials. The DB Kind of Grande Complication is presented on an extra-supple alligator leather strap with alligator lining and a polished titanium pin buckle. Given the extreme complexity of the watch, it will no doubt be produced in limited numbers. The price is CHF 400,000 (excl. taxes).

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1 response

  1. A case where a characterasation like ‘piece of art’ is by all means not a misnomer and, therefore, a verbal hyperbole. Simply outstanding!

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