It’s been ten years because the De Bethune DB28 received the Aiguille d’Or on the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. Successfully the “Finest Image” on the “Oscars” of watchmaking, this recognition positioned De Bethune among the many elite firm of different Aiguille d’Or winners equivalent to F.P. Journe, Greubel Forsey, Breguet, Audemars Piguet, A. Lange & Söhne, and Patek Philippe.
A decade faraway from its Hollywood ending, the DB28 stays a grail watch in each sense.
Not that sense has something to do with the DB28. It’s a wild experiment that pulses with the ambition of the Manhattan Venture and radiates simply as a lot piercing power. Watchmaker and founding associate Denis Flageollet and his now-retired design lead, classic vendor David Zanetta, deliberate the 42.7 mm titanium DB28 in a vogue designed to elicit love-hate reactions. Just like the 1992 Dodge Viper, this can be a idea machine that escaped unsullied by accountants, entrepreneurs, or MBAs.
And that’s its biggest energy.
To grasp the genius of the De Bethune DB28, begin inside and work your option to the perimeters. After years of experimenting with dial-side escapements and lavish case backs, De Bethune put all of the mechanical magic on the heart of the DB28’s dial. A twin-barrel bridge blazes with “black” mirrored polish and “côtes De Bethune.” Much like côtes de Genève, De Bethune’s stripes are laid down by abrasive wheels, however the wheel is reversed midway by means of in order that these distinctive waves level outward from both sides.
Arms are in fire-blued titanium in a course of patented by De Bethune.
Due to double self-adjusting mainspring barrels (patented), the DB28 boasts a still-impressive six-day energy reserve. And in contrast to many watch manufacturers of all sizes, De Bethune employs no compromised beat-rate methods to attain the 144-hour autonomy; this watch retains the industry-standard 28,800 vibrations per hour.
The mainspring barrels broach the perimeters of their seemingly Star Trek-inspired bridge and type distinguished options of the dial; much less distinguished is the case again energy reserve indicator. For good measure, this manual-wind machine employs a slipping mainspring to eradicate the specter of extreme winding.
Two triple Pare-Chute shock safety springs brace a stability bridge executed in full specular end. The distinctive (and patented) antishock system elevates each the shock resistance and the chronometry of the watch.
In its 2011 type, the DB28 included an in-house stability wheel comprised of stable silicon with a white gold rim. Except for its spectacular look, this wheel resists temperature-driven timing drift, maximizes mass within the stability rim, and reduces the aerodynamic drag of the wheel.
A hand-shaped hairspring consists of two components sure collectively; they obtain the concentric “respiration” of an overcoil hairspring with out the thickness or shock susceptibility of such a spiral.
The rest of the DB28 dial is a mixture of mechanical and aesthetic fixtures. Polished titanium cabochons grace the hour monitor, whereas a concave silver chapter ring offers a reference for studying the minutes. On the base of the dial, De Bethune employs its spherical moon section show with a precision of 1,112 years between obligatory corrections. One half of the moon sphere is fired blue metal, and the opposite is white palladium. And, sure, it’s patented.
Externally, the DB28 is a radical departure from standard watch design. “Floating lugs,” first employed in 2008’s DB26 Perpetual Calendar, achieved immortality on the DB28. This technique affords as much as 4 millimeters of lateral compression. Just like the wings of the Grumman F-14 Tomcat, De Bethune employs a variable geometry system that adapts to circumstances – on this case, on the wrist. A number of totally different lug sizes are provided to attain lug-to-lug spans as disparate as 47 mm and 58 mm.
And in contrast to most luxurious manufacturers, De Bethune is amenable to retrofitting elements for authentic and subsequent homeowners throughout mechanical service.
The match is excellent, and most collectors encountering a DB28 for the primary time touch upon the svelte 11 mm thickness. Not solely does it sit as little as a costume watch, however the grade 5 titanium ensures a lightweight and cozy really feel on the wrist.
Regardless of appearances, the DB28 is refreshingly compact for an extravagant design from a brash impartial model. Monsters from indie haute horlogerie mainstays like Richard Mille, Greubel Forsey, and MB&F typically put on as massive as they appear. However the DB28 is a pleasure even on a petite wrist, and a momentary encounter reveals unanticipated unisex potential. Style and confidence – not wrist measurement – are the limiting elements for potential DB28 homeowners.
As of 2021, De Bethune may be described as a model that builds nothing however “grail” watches. This time period, invented eons in the past by the web watch neighborhood, is overused. However when a watchmaker makes solely round 200 watches per yr, resolutely plows cash into pure science R&D, and designs watches with a Blade Runner sensibility, the shoe – or the watch – matches.
De Bethune solely builds grail watches; the DB28 was the watch that made it official.
For extra info, please go to www.debethune.ch/en/collections/db28-collections.
Fast Information De Bethune DB28 ca. 2010
Case: grade 5 titanium, 42.6 x 11.4 mm; floating lugs
Motion: manually wound, twin spring barrels, silicon stability wheel with palladium rim, five-day energy reserve, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency, triple Pare-Chute shock absorber
Capabilities: hours, minutes; energy reserve, spherical moon section
Worth (in 2010): approx. CHF 83,000 excluding VAT
* Disclosure: Tim Mosso is the Media Director and Watch Specialist at Watchbox, whose father or mother firm is as of August 2021 a shareholder in De Bethune.