5 Of The Best De Bethune Models In The Last 12 Months Plus Bonus Video Of The De Bethune x Voutilainen Kind Of Magic For Only Watch 2021
by Ian Skellern
To say that De Bethune has been busy over the last 12 months is an understatement. Here are six stunning watches that the boutique brand has launched in the last year that I have just had the pleasure of seeing in the metal in Geneva.
De Bethune DB28GS Yellow Submarine
While De Bethune describes the DB28GS Yellow Submarine as a diver’s watch, and it does have a rotating bezel around the dial (under the crystal) to track dive time with a water resistance of 100 meters and a busy open dial, I think of it more as a sensational-looking water sports watch than a serious dive watch.
Displaying hours, minutes, seconds, and with a five-day power reserve indicator, the Yellow Submarine isn’t overly complicated (despite its surprise feature) but it looks simply sublime. With its open dial, much of its beautifully hand-finished mechanics are on view – and all of its titanium components, including the case, are carefully heat-treated to a light golden hue.
The surprise, which does boost the Yellow Submarine’s dive credentials, is the integrated mechanical dynamo powered by the dual mainsprings, which generate power for four tiny LED lights that illuminate the dial and dive-time bezel. Perfect for reading the time in low-light conditions both above and below the surface.
Quick Facts De Bethune DB28GS Yellow Submarine
Case: 44 x 12.8 mm, titanium and black zirconium, floating lugs
Movement: manual winding Caliber DB2080 with silicon escape wheel and titanium-and-white-gold balance wheel, triple pare-chute shock absorption, self-regulating twin spring barrels, 5-day power reserve, 28,800 vph/4 Hz frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; elapsed dive time, power reserve, dial illumination
Water resistance: 100 meters
Limitation: 25 pieces
Price: 90,000 Swiss francs
Remark: delivered with two straps, natural rubber and canvas
Look out, Reverso, there’s a new easily reversible case in town! Taking his patented floating lug system a step further, De Bethune co-founder and chief watchmaker Denis Flageollet’s goal was to create a watch with two distinct identities, incorporating two sets of brand “DNA” on the same watch. And with the DB Kind Of Two Tourbillon he has done just that.
The titanium case features a rotating mechanism among the 28 components in either stainless steel or titanium for maximum resistance to shocks and wear. A cam and a small notch ensure perfect alignment of the case with the floating lugs.
One face highlights De Bethune’s technical side with a visible fast-rotating 30-second tourbillon, while the other face featuring a full dial and central seconds is more elegant and subdued.
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
The De Bethune DB28 is one of my favorite watches of all time, and I’m the very fortunate owner of one of the first-generation models (see De Bethune DB28: How I Launched It, Why I Bought It, And Why It’s The Perfect ‘One Watch’).
I couldn’t imagine how the DB28 could be improved . . . until De Bethune brought out the updated DB28XP for the brand’s tenth anniversary (see 3 Brand-New De Bethune DB28s To Celebrate 10 Years Of This Sensational, Now Ultra-Thin Watch With Floating Lugs).
And then when I didn’t think that the DB28XP could be improved, De Bethune launched the DB28XP Meteorite. And the dial isn’t just from any meteorite, but the Muonionalusta, one of the oldest known on earth, arriving around a million years ago.
Adding even more astronomical flair to the dial, De Bethune has added its “Starry Sky” consisting of highly polished tiny gold dots forming bright constellations in the sky, which can be custom applied to represent the sky visible from the lucky owner’s home.
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
While still an expensive watch (quality costs), at around $40,000 the DB27 Titan Hawk is nonetheless De Bethune’s most affordable model. With a lightweight titanium case, slim lines, intricate microlight-engraved dial, signature folding lugs, and a Star Trek-style insert in the center of its dial, the DB27 V2 is unmistakably De Bethune through and through.
Turning the watch over reveals a full display back offering unimpeded views of the automatic movement highlighted by heat-blued titanium components.
But the real star here is the olive green dial offering a refreshing alternative to the ubiquitous blue that’s become so common (especially at De Bethune).
Quick Facts De Bethune DB27 Titan Hawk green
Case: 43 x 9 mm, polished grade 5 titanium
Movement: automatic Caliber Auto V2, titanium balance wheel with gold inserts, steel escape wheel, 5 Hz/36,000 vph frequency, 60-hour power reserve (one spring barrel)
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
Limitation: 10 pieces
Price: 40,000 Swiss francs excl. local taxes
De Bethune DB25 GMT Starry Varius
For those who work or travel (remember that?) internationally a two-time zone watch is just the ticket, and De Bethune has you covered with the DB25 GMT Starry Varius, which features a stunning, star-studded, blue dial center with a pink gold spheres. Bright blue and warm, rosy gold are a match made in heaven.
The complex three-dimensional dial is a work of art in itself with a small sphere rotating around a track in 24 hours, indicating both a second time zone (or home time) and day/night. Three beautifully heat-blued central hands indicating hours, minutes, and date would normally be the main features of the dial, however they face strong competition from the blue “starry sky” with its gold-studded constellations customizable for the owner’s location (or favorite astronomical vista).
As if the dial side wasn’t spectacular enough, the movement is simply breathtaking, featuring an eye-catchingly massive Star Trek-style bridge with contrasting mirror polish and micro-light engraving, five-day power reserve, and a triple pare-chute regulator with silicon balance wheel.
Quick Facts De Bethune DB25 GMT Starry Varius
Case: 42 x 11.8 mm, titanium
Movement: manually wound Caliber DB2507, 5 days power reserve, 28,800 vph/4 Hz frequency with aerodynamic titanium balance, flat terminal curve balance spring, and silicon escape wheel
Functions: hours, minutes; second time zone, date, day/night indication
Price: CHF 95,000
De Bethune x Voutilainen Kind of Magic for Only Watch 2021
For more information, please visit www.onlywatch.com/de-bethune-voutilainen