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July 22, 2024

De Bethune: DB28 XP 10° Anniversary

De Bethune DB28 XP: Perfection Bends Over Backwards

What are 10 years in the history of a watchmaking manufacture? Ask De Bethune, who is 18 years old (finally of age!) but who in 10 years has done things that we people, watchmaking enthusiasts, wouldn’t imagine if we hadn’t seen them. One of these is the DB28whose decade De Bethune celebrates by creating three watches, joined together and to the brand by an indissoluble bond: DB28XP, DB28XP Starry Sky, DB28XP Tourbillon.

DB28

Ten years are the blink of an eye when it comes to historic Maisons, but when talking about young and independent brands, they can be a geological era, a shallow soil but enough to plant and root important watches. The roots of the DB28 are to be found in the historical creations of De Bethune, such as the Digital DB and the Dream Watch, with which the DB28 shares the same DNA.

When the first DB28 was launched in 2010, De Bethune’s idea was to present a watch with its own identity, which would demonstrate the futuristic vision of the watchmaking art of the Maison. Functional and design elements characterizing the brand’s watches prove this vision: from the crown at 12 o’clock to the floating lugs, patented by De Bethune, which improve the comfort of the watch and give it a unique aesthetic. This underlining of a design that has become distinctive of De Bethune over the years, it’s the leitmotiv in celebrating the tenth anniversary of the DB28 introduced by the three new watches.

DB28 XP: The Ultra-Thin According To De Bethune

The first of them that is worth mentioning is the DB28XP, the ultra-thin according to De Bethune. Because the aesthetics and the technical solution of the ultra-thin are the natural evolutions that lead to the DB28XP: if elegance is in the spirit of this watch, the ultra-thin is the quintessence of elegance.

DB28

More than a watch, the DB28XP is a continuous discovery, in which the different levels cut in titanium make light play with shadows and reflections thanks to a multitude of different shapes – hemispherical, concave, spherical, and a sequence of microlight, satin, polished and blocked finishes. It is precisely through the multitude of forms within the space taken up by the ultra-thin design that its refinement is further accentuated. Polished bridges and satin-finished bevels enhance this visual experience, while the dial entirely made of Microlight is the emblem of the modern interpretation that De Bethune gives of the guillochage technique. The delta-shaped main plate – De Bethune’s true signature – is finished to reflect ambient light thanks to the patient polishing that makes the metal surface a true mirror, a process that takes up to three hours.

Around the center of gravity of the hands with blued titanium inserts – also a distinctive sign of De Bethune – do not “rotate” indexes but polished spheres like small satellites, while the tone-on-tone motif that surrounds the central part of the elliptical dial it discreetly subtly reveals the movement’s wheels.

DB28

Thanks to an opening in the dial at 6 o’clock, the titanium balance wheel that animates the manual winding movement DB2115V6 with six days of power reserve and double self-adjusting barrel – an innovation of the Maison dating back to 2004 – is visible. The balance wheel is equipped with small white gold weights placed on the outside to give remarkable qualities of inertia, reliability and regulating abilityThe balance spring maintains its true centre of gravity with a flat terminal curve affixed to the outside of the balance-spring, patented by De Bethune in 2006. Differences in the thickness of the blade add to the almost perfect precision of its concentric development. Among the many advantages: lower height, better adjustment of concentricity, finer adjustment of the racquet, no need for pins. All this is protected by the “triple pare-chute” shock absorption system which allows the balance to remain perfectly in position even in the case of violent impacts.

DB28

A lot of technique, but what makes a fall in love at first sight with a watch is its aesthetics. In addition to the seductive dial in which lights, shadows, finishes, satellites, hands and guillochage chase each other, here is the case entirely redesigned by De Bethune to preserve the functionality and comfort of its floating lugs. This is why the curvature is more pronounced, flowing with the lines of the wrist and lugs enhanced by the resumption of the Microlight finish along the case side. Is it too much if we say that the DB28XP puts de Bethune’s vision of tomorrow’s watches on your wrist? (Price CHF 72.000)

DB28 XP Starry Sky: Sky On The Wrist

Maybe not, because the second watch that celebrates the tenth anniversary of the DB28, the DB28 Starry Sky, despite the classicism of the round shape of the titanium case and the crown at 12 o’clock, stuns with its beauty and modernity. Starting from the dial, inspired by that of the DB28 Skybridge but even more complex, which creates a firmament in blue Microlight. The surface of the dial refracts the light in yet more dimensions, offering a unique optical spectacle.

DB28

But the quest for perfection is not only aesthetic: in the deep blue, a multitude of small white gold pins driven through one by one recreates the magic of the stars in a actual night. Thanks to the genius of the master watchmaker, designer and crafter, Denis Flageollet, the firmament represented is not random: the customer selects the date, time and place, and De Bethune draws the sky map on the dial.

The hour circle is in silver, the minutes in Arabic numerals and the rose gold hands designed specifically for this edition are powered by the DB2115V7 caliber with six days of power reserve, also characterized by the technical innovations of De Bethune on spiral and barrels. Innovations at the service of a fascinating mission: to represent the most beautiful sky, to capture its emotional power, and preserve it accurately so it can be worn on the wrist. (Price CHF 72.000)

DB28 XP Tourbillon: The Unbearable Lightness Of The Tourbillon

Nothing is created or destroyed, but merely transformed, even in watchmaking. With the third interpretation of the DB28, the DB28XP Tourbillon, De Bethune rethinks the architecture of watchmaking at its core, directly inspired by the dial of the Digital DB28. Hours, minutes, indication of seconds in 30″: anything else needed? Just a little more: a hand-engraved “grain d’orge” motif and the view on the tourbillon, at 6 o’clock.

DB28

Titanium tourbillon, ça va sans dire, which beats at 36,000 vibrations per hour and whose cage weighs only 0.18 grams. Technical virtuosity, certainly, but mainly driven by physics: To compensate for the violence of wrist movements, the tourbillon cage must be as light as possible, operate at maximum frequency and speed of rotation at minimum weight and inertia. Otherwise there would be only one fine piece of titanium left.

In the titanium case (we understood that in De Bethune titanium is at home like snow in its manufacture in L’Auberson in winter) beats the DB2009V4 manual winding caliber with double barrel. And on the case back, a poetic and almost mystical hint at the Aiguille d’Or, won by the first DB28 in 2011: the position of the planets engraved is that of November 19th, 2011, the date on which the prize was presented. Daring aesthetics, exceptional mechanics, says De Bethune. Anyone still doubt it? (Price CHF 180.000)

By Davide Passoni