The self-professed Research and Development company created and headed-up by David Zanetta, Denis Flageollet and Pierre Jacques have created ANOTHER astonishingly beautiful timepiece; the DB28 Digitale is haute horology mechanical watchmaking at its finest – but for this era or perhaps a time yet to come?
Let’s first start by saying this: time and space are linked. They are both dimensions that human cognition has to posit before being able to identify or recon. Further – there IS time travel! The other day I was asked by a gentleman (the discussion began with mere watchmaking) if I believed in time travel. “Of course there is time travel! We are travelling through time right now: we are moving FORWARD!” My friend asked a series of questions which kept pointing back to the passage of time (instead of time travel) trying to get me to concede that I was crazy.
The passage of time is a boring subject. Five minutes have passed since I began typing this article. Big whoop! I’d like to think that once I finish writing it, this article will travel time. One whole (hopefully mostly cogent) thought which will be as solid tomorrow as it is today and hopefully solid in a week, a month a year… Let me stop romanticizing this train of thought for much longer and get to the point that dovetails into what I have to say about the DB28 Digitale: Some watches mark the passage of time. They are boring. The DB28 Digitale allows the wearer to feel as though he or she is traveling through time.
By placing their trademark spherical blue/grey (blued steel and palladium) moon at the center of the Digitale’s hand finished, barleycorn dial, the wearer automatically visualizes things ‘from the center’. Not simply time from the center but the wearer at the center of time. You are at the center of a shimmering constellation of glimmering stars. This point is further underscored by the blued titanium sky pattern with stars poking through.
Time is displayed on the watch with a ‘jumping’ hour window midway between the moon and where 12 o’clock would normally be. Minutes are read by way of an indicator directly at 12 o’clock, pointing to the graduated minute readout rotating through the semi-circular window from 9 o’clock to 3 o’clock. And, of course, phase of the moon is displayed at the center, so accurate in it’s presentation that it will not need adjustment for 1,112 years.
Powering this piece is the 5-day reserve caliber DB2144 (a rather futuristic sounding name.) The 32 jewel ‘2144 is a manual wind (a rather old technology) twin barrel movement featuring no less than 5 of the 6 registered patented technologies on the watch! The most fascinating of those innovations being the white gold and silicon balance wheel; the ‘flat’ curved balance spring; the triple para-chute shock-absorbing system; and system that allows the twin barrels to regulate their power output. (Let us not forget that lovely little spherical moon!)
The 329 individual components are finished in what is called Cotes De Bethune finish. Designed to highlight the overall product instead of the workmanship of each individual component. The top plate of the movement is triangular and distinctly reminiscent of a theme running through other DeBethune works. Mostly prominently in my mind the brand spanking new Dream Watch 5 – which looks more like a vessel for space travel, let alone time keeping…er … time travel.
The Digitale is held in a 45mm grade 5 titanium case featuring a De Bethune’s patented (the 6th patent on the watch) ‘floating lugs’. Winding crown is at the top of the case where 12 o’clock would be.
So, if you are an astronaut or an air-traveler looking for something to accompany you through time and space and not merely mark the passage of time – give the DeBethune DB28 Digitale a look. It’s a special way to read the time whether you’re on a blue wave or the blue planet.
[If you are reading this in the year 3126, and you are wearing a hyper-vintage DeBethune DB28 Digitale, your moon phase is off by ONE lunar day.]