Everything Is Possible: De Bethune DB28 GS
What is the meeting place of the future, the past, and the now? Is it science fiction?
Science fiction originates in the immeasurable depths of human imagination, embodied by a boundless spirit and a zest for all things possible.
It is also in the idea that nothing is impossible as far as the future is concerned. Science fiction does not ask forgiveness for ideas that have not yet come to pass or ideas that were surpassed by even more amazing inventions.
Science fiction is authentic. It asks that you never stop asking. It asks that you remember those that tell you “it can’t be done” are right . . . if you believe them.
Never believe them.
There are people in the world who have historically promoted science fiction whether they were writers or not. In fact, I would state that most inventors and scientists are, by definition, “science-fictionalists.”
Just look toward Nikola Tesla or almost every scientifically minded person of the last two thousand years; there have been major claims about what is possible, and many have changed the course of history by being right. Still others understood what could come and were proven correct decades and even centuries later.
The free thinkers and the believers, the “what if-ers,” and the people who gave it a go just for the sake of trying are science fiction and they are science fact. The people that listen to what the public has to say can be very successful, but often are forgotten or not counted among the greats.
Horological science fiction
This happens a lot in the watch industry: there are many very successful brands and designers following trends to make sure their pieces have broad appeal. I love many of these watches, and for good reason: they make sense. But when the truly nerdy watch lovers, the horology nuts, the people who are excited about ideas, the people who love to love the new and interesting, talk about what has them excited or who is really making waves, they tend not to bring up well-known brands.
A couple of these brands make it in there, sure, when they have particularly avant-garde pieces or bring in a hot designer to make something that wows. But those that make it in there the most are brands that are controversial with almost every new release.
The example I want to focus on today is one of my absolutely favorite brands (and you won’t hear me say that too often).
This is a brand that always brings its A-game, much to the dismay of traditional collectors and staunch vintage connoisseurs.
This brand is a science-fictionalist.
This brand is De Bethune.
Bringing its A-game
One of De Bethune’s latest releases has drawn many of the same criticisms I hear about awe-inspiring pieces from a variety of brands, stuff along the lines of legibility, practicality, design, balance, and a bunch of other blah blah that I fear some people resort to when they don’t have much to say beside, “I don’t like it.”
I think people forget that it’s okay to say that something isn’t your style and just move on because that opinion has very little bearing on the reality of just how awesomazing something is.
Truly, I once even heard a “serious collector” say that the De Bethune was anything but haute horology and that I should not compare it to the great independents (which I had).
I had to laugh because it was obvious the collector cared very little for what made horology great in the first place: invention and pushing the boundaries of what is possible! In addition, of course, to absolutely mastering the craft.
And something that does all of that is the latest increditastic piece from De Bethune: the DB28 GS.
The “GS” in the DB28 GS stands for “Grand Sport.” De Bethune terms this a sports watch, and the style certainly fits the bill for that type of vision. I imagine a future world where extreme skyboarders (use your imagination) are flying over waterfalls on their airblades. They look down to check the time on their wrists and see the futuristically rugged DB28 GS.
Everything about the DB28 GS seems straight out of a Pandoran adventure (you’ll need to be versed in Avatar to get that metaphor), right down to the characteristic floating lugs to mirror the floating Hallelujah Mountains. Okay, that got a little nerdy, but hey, anything is possible, right?
A sporty take on the DB28
The DB28 GS is a sporty take on the DB28 family, which has been quite a popular model for De Bethune with at least eight model types and more than twenty variations, with one version even being honored with the Aiguille d’Or at the 2011 edition of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. The GS shows that De Bethune likes to tackle ideas of what could be. The brand isn’t afraid to stretch its collective mind for a new take on a successful idea.
First off, and surprisingly, is the inclusion of a rubber strap that is molded for seamless integration to the aforementioned floating lugs. These lugs, by the way, are available in short or long versions should the case size of 44 mm make wearing the GS a little overwhelming. In my opinion the floating lugs make this, and every DB28, fit and feel perfectly at home on my small wrist, a sentiment that has been echoed by every single person I have seen wear one.
It simply wears awesomely. And now it can wear awesomely as you go swimming on the moon of the gas giant Polyphemus.
Or in your pool at home.
This brings us to the next aspect of the DB28 GS: it has a 100-meter water resistance rating. This is pretty serious considering the haute horology on the inside. Most people would never have dreamed of getting a DB28 wet, let alone leave it on while doing laps, but the GS is made for it.
Now nobody is calling the DB28 GS a diving watch, so it has neither super-bright Super-LumiNova, nor a rotating bezel. But it does have a rugged solid titanium case, solid case back, and triple pare-chute shock absorbing system to keep the balance safe.
After all, the intent of a sports watch is to take a beating and keep on ticking, no matter what the environment.
Desire for performance
Meeting that desire for performance is a performance indicator between 2 and 3 o’clock. This indicator tells you when the twin spring barrels and their six-day power reserve are operating at their most effective level. At the beginning and end of a mainspring’s torque curve, the power delivered from the springs to the regulator is either too strong or too weak to keep consistent amplitude and rate.
When the barrels are fully wound, or almost unwound, the indicator will rest at either the H or the B (haute/bas = high/low), but when running consistently it will sit in the middle of the torque curve. Thus, it is not technically a power reserve, but instead tells you that the watch is running optimally with fairly constant torque (which is actually pretty important in the larger scheme of things).
But what really sets this piece apart is the architecture, a departure and yet welcome member of the DB28 family lineup. Gone are the typical hands and in their places are two very different beasts. For the hours there is a colossal obelisk-shaped pointer with a blued steel insert while the minute hand is a slender, bowed sliver arching over the shaped bridges to the dial’s edge.
Oh yeah, those bridges, that is some seriously eye-catching work.
The bridges are finished with what De Bethune terms microlight, a pattern of matte, finely engraved lines following the shape of the bridges (which are reminiscent of a certain science fiction space exploration organization logo). The micro lines give some serious texture and depth to the usually flat polished or striped bridges. While being entirely decorative (though it does create great contrast which is essential for a dial), the microlight engraving makes for an extension of the rugged feel all the way through the movement.
It also makes for a dial that I didn’t expect. And it really works to make a once-delicate and ornate watch feel like a true sports watch.
Of course, there are fans out there who will disagree with that, but sport is what you make of it. Maybe it isn’t a driving watch or a climbing watch or even a snowmobiling watch, but it definitely feels like sports of the future to me, and that is a pleasing thought.
This is a welcome and very fantastic piece from De Bethune, and I am psyched to have gotten some time with it. I urge you to take a closer look; it really could be the bridge from science fiction to science fact!
And the science fact is…a breakdown!
• Wowza Factor * 9.9 The only reason this isn’t a full ten is because a few other De Bethune pieces are more wowza than this one, if that’s even possible!
• Late Night Lust Appeal * 101.1 » 991.452m/s2 This is an incredible amount of lust appeal that can keep you up all night (it has me) just oogling it for hours!
• M.G.R. * 70.8 De Bethune DB2115 caliber with silicon and white gold balance with triple pare-chute shock absorber system. Serious horology right there!
• Added-Functionitis * Mild We have a nice function, if not exactly a power reserve, that will keep you in-the-know about performance. You will need basic strength Gotta-HAVE-That cream to manage mild but enjoyable swelling.
• Ouch Outline * 12.0 – Sanding The Tip Of Your Finger Off In Two Seconds Long hours and a moment’s lapse in concentration makes for a very painful digit. And yet…for a chance to get this piece on my wrist I might consider accidentally doing it again.
• Mermaid Moment * Just Strap It On Your Wrist That is really all it takes, because the thing is so dang perfect to fit your wrist that once it’s on you’ll be booking a limo for the reception!
• Awesome Total * 862 Take the depth rating (100 m) multiplied by the days of power reserve (6) and add the number of components in the movement (262) for a deservedly awesome total!
For more information, please visit www.debethune.ch.
Case: 44 x 11 mm, grade 5 titanium
Movement: manually wound Caliber DB2115
Functions: hours, minutes; performance indicator
Price: 69,500 Swiss francs