De Bethune DB Kind Of Two Tourbillon: Two Dials Means Double The Pleasure (Plus Video)
Fans of the iconic Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso know that an “about face” provides two watches in one, each with its own separate identity. Now there’s a new double-faced superstar in town: the De Bethune DB Kind of Two Tourbillon.
De Bethune co-founder and chief watchmaker Denis Flageollet had been ruminating over this type of watch for quite a while, sure that he would be able to research something new and unprecedented from it, thereby offering a new interpretation of an old idea.
“We are all confronted with several aspects of our personality and the various universes around us, just as the artist is faced with the different directions in which he would like to take his work,” Flageollet said. “For me, this watch is a way of connecting my various forms of attraction to the different facets of beauty and also of proposing an object that is thought-provoking with regard to the future paths we may choose to take.”
Flageollet’s goal was to create a watch with two distinct identities, incorporating two sets of brand “DNA” on the same watch. He also wanted to use De Bethune’s signature, patented floating lugs to their fullest extent (more on that below).
Two sides of the De Bethune DB Kind of Two Tourbillon
The front of the watch is sleek and modern, the way that so many of this boutique brand’s fans love to see it, featuring De Bethune’s now-iconic delta-shaped bridge à la theDB28 collection. Interesting is that the Star-Trek-like asymmetrical deltoid bridge is gone here: the new bridge taking its place is perfectly symmetrical and centrally positioned, an isosceles triangle exuding calm harmony.
Flageollet chose to change this very visible bridge to differentiate it from the DB28 collection. And while you do see a family resemblance, it is clear that this is a different watch. Mission accomplished.
While function-wise the tourbillon side “only” displays hours and minutes, it also includes De Bethune’s fast rotating 30-second tourbillon regulator at 6 o’clock.
The De Bethune tourbillon differs from many others for several reasons. For one, its cage makes one full revolution in just 30 seconds rather than the usual 60 seconds. For another, it beats at a high-speed frequency of 5 Hz (36,000). The De Bethune tourbillon also features the lightest cage on the market, coming in at a mere 0.18 gram, despite comprising 63 individual components.
This 28th caliber by the boutique brand also contains self-regulating twin spring barrels specifically designed to minimize friction and efficiently transfer maximum energy – and offers a full five days’ worth of power reserve.
The designers worked hard here to exude a feeling of contemporary design and volume by using various shapes, interspersing matte and glossy polishes and a variety of levels.
The flip side is more classical – if anything that De Bethune produces can ever really be called classical – with its time-only display including central seconds. The center section reveals a finely guilloche surface surrounded by numeral fonts already seen in the DB8 and DB10 collections.
De Bethune DB Kind of Two Tourbillon: how it works
To change the side that is facing up, the watch must be removed from the wrist. The case can then be freely moved using a finger to rotate it. For some cool head imagery, think of the way an acrobat flips around on a trapeze.
The DB29 case with its hunter case back and invisible hinge lent itself perfectly to this task – though now with its crown positioned at 12 o’clock (or 6 o’clock, depending on which side is up) between the new floating lugs.
Very, very slightly redesigned to accommodate this case – the changes are probably visible to no one but Flageollet– the floating lugs mechanism lends itself to the case pivot. A patented attachment system allows the lugs to automatically adjust to the size of the wearer’s wrist.
The rotating mechanism works with springs and comprises 28 components manufactured in either surgical stainless steel or titanium for better resistance to shocks and wear. A cam and a small notch ensure perfect alignment of the case with the floating lugs. It does not move around on the wrist.
It’s also worth noting that despite it showing the time on two sides, the case is only 1.4 mm higher (and 0.2 mm smaller in diameter) than the DB28XP Tourbillon that came out in 2020. That tourbillon was a slimmer version of the previous DB28 tourbillon.
Trading the visible tourbillon on one dial for central seconds on the other is a particularly interesting technical challenge. Though the time is the same on both sides, the case is upside down when flipped to the reverse side and the time without extra gearing would rotate counterclockwise. The crown is at 12 o’clock when the DB28-looking face is up and at 6 o’clock when the more classic face is showing.
A complex system of gears and pinions allows the hands to turn in the correct direction, whichever side is facing up. Flageollet explained that he had to reverse and reposition the motion work gear train on the other side, an exercise that also required mastery of gear train design and production so as to avoid play in the hands.
This is one complicated two-faced personality that I can really get behind!
For more information, please visit www.debethune.ch/en/collections/db-kind-two-1.
Quick Facts De Bethune DB Kind of Two Tourbillon
Case: reversible in grade five titanium, 42.8 x 9.5 mm; floating lugs, crown at 6/12 o’clock
Movement: manually wound Caliber DB2579 with 30-second tourbillon with titanium balance wheel and white gold inserts, silicon escape wheel, self-regulating twin spring barrels, silicon escape wheel, 5 Hz/36,000 vph frequency, five-day power reserve
Functions: dual hours, minutes; seconds on one side
Limitation: 10 pieces
Price: $250,000 / 215,000 Swiss francs