De Bethune DB28XP Meteorite: To Boldly Go Where No Watch Has Gone Before
by Martin Green
While I’m not a die-hard Trekkie – a Star Trek fan – I did enjoy watching the show when I was younger. Not the original series, but Star Trek: The Next Generation with Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard at the helm of the Enterprise.
As this fictional character lives on a spaceship in the 24th century, he has no need for a watch – let alone a mechanical one – but that never stopped me from occasionally thinking about what watch he might wear.
Until now, the best watch I have found for the job is the De Bethune DB28, launched in 2010 by Quill & Pad’s own Ian Skellern (read the remarkable story of how that happened in De Bethune DB28: How I Launched It, Why I Bought It, And Why It’s The Perfect ‘One Watch’).
The reason for this is evident to even a fair-weather Star Trek fan: the movement’s top bridge bears a striking resemblance to the Starfleet logo.
De Bethune has done it again
The original DB28 has recently lost its place for me as the ideal watch for the wrist of Captain Jean-Luc Picard – to be replaced by another watch by De Bethune: the De Bethune DB28XP Meteorite.
De Bethune makes great watches, but to me its major accomplishment is that it has been able to create a universe of its own, with its own rules, its own design language, and its own traditions. And De Bethune has been very meticulous in sticking to them.
De Bethune DB28XP Meteorite on the wrist
That makes the new DB28XP a not-so-surprising surprise. By that I mean that while I couldn’t have imagined this watch, when I saw it it made so much sense that it was almost obvious. In my experience, these are the best kinds of watches because they are natural continuations of a brand’s “DNA.” And that doesn’t mean that they are subtle (read: boring) steps in the evolution of the model.
Aiming for the stars
Boring is not a term that applies to any De Bethune, especially not the new DB28XP collection.
This DB28XP meteorite variation doesn’t offer the typical view to the distinctive layout of bridges for the simple reason that it is fitted with a dial. And not just any dial, this one is made of meteorite.
This particular meteorite, named Muonionalusta after a town on the Muonio River near the border between Finland and Sweden, is one of the oldest known that crashed to earth – about one million years ago.
Even here, De Bethune goes all the way, slicing a thin layer of the stone then chemically treating it to enhance its Widmanstätten structures, geometric striations and patterns typical to meteorites. Then the brand’s technicians apply its signature thermal oxidation to the meteorite. The result is spectacular, with an amazingly wide variety of hues coming to light on the dial, from deep blue to vibrant purple.
In addition, De Bethune has also applied its “Starry Sky” technique to the DB28XP Meteorite: this comprises white gold pins manually applied to the dial to represent far-off stars making up a constellation.
The ten clients who will be able to purchase this coveted limited edition can each select a preferred constellation for their own “Starry Skies” – even done to how the constellation will have looked at a specific date, time, and position from earth. De Bethune duplicates the heavens with astronomical precision.
This might in particular be of great interest to Rolls-Royce owners who have purchased the “Starlight Headliner” option for their cars – so that they can match it to their watch.
Framing such a dial takes some finesse as it is quite easy to go over the top. De Bethune balances things by housing the DB28XP Meteorite in a case of black zirconium with a polished finish. The same material was used for the dial’s hour ring featuring Arabic numerals printed in pink gold, which in turn match the hands.
Finishing the utterly brilliant look is a blued crown at 12 o’clock peeking out from between the black zirconium floating lugs.
Despite the fact that the “Starfleet logo” bridge is covered by this outstanding dial, the shape is not completely absent: its form can be spotted in the shape of the hands.
Under the hood
While it isn’t powered by a warp-drive engine, the DB28XP Meteorite leaves little to complain about in that area.
Caliber DB2115v7 comes with De Bethune’s very own balance spring fitted into the titanium balance with signature white gold inserts. The tempered meteorite dial has an opening to show off this feature, and I applaud De Bethune for this touch as it creates a visual bridge with the watch’s mechanics.
Self-regulating twin mainspring barrels provide six days of power, leaving plenty of time for some space exploration (or to re-watch favorite episodes of Next Generation).
While I won’t be around to confirm it, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a big announcement at Watches & Wonders 2161: De Bethune is now the official supplier to Starfleet!
For more information, please visit www.debethune.ch/en/collections/db28-collections/xp-meteorite.
Quick Facts De Bethune DB28XP Meteorite
Case: 43 x 7.2 mm, matte anthracite zirconium with “microlight” finish case band, solid case back
Dial: thermally treated meteorite with “Starry Sky” decoration
Movement: manual winding Caliber DB2115V7 with titanium balance wheel with white gold weights, 6-day power reserve thanks to self-regulating twin spring barrels, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency, Triple Pare-Chute shock protection with Incabloc, silicon escape wheel
Functions: hours, minutes
Limitation: 10 pieces
Price: CHF 120,000