Science fiction asks that you remember those that tell you “it can’t be done” are right . . . if you believe them. Never believe them. The watch I want to focus on today is from a brand that always brings its A-game. This brand is a science-fictionalist. This brand is De Bethune. And the watch we’re talking about here is the DB28 GS.
Paradoxically, the SIHH really begins at least a day before its doors open; Sunday is the time to visit the smaller brands holding private exhibitions Geneva. So we put on our Sunday best and headed into town for a busy day of meetings with De Bethune, Urwerk, Laurent Ferrier, Revelation, Christophe Claret, Speake-Marin.
You may be familiar with the old Christmas diddy “The Twelve Days Of Christmas.” Let me sing you the final verse of this song, including what my true love gave to me on the twelfth and final day, in horological terms…
The jump hour has a long history, but first things first, it can’t technically be called a complication since the accepted definition of complication is a mechanism that provides information other than the time. However, anyone who gives a hoot will say in the same breath that there are many complications that don’t fit that definition. And I couldn’t agree more.
Now we get to the real nitty-gritty at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève.: the Aiguille d’Or. There are no ifs, and or buts any more, just a decision on which of the 72 pre-selected watches is the best overall timepiece of the year. It is the most prestigious of the awards given.
Which could be our panel’s favorite to win? The Margot by Christophe Claret? Urwerk EMC? Perhaps the De Bethune DB29 Maxichrono Tourbillon? Or will it be something else entirely?
The DB28 Digitale is a masterpiece that debuted earlier this year. While straightforward in its appearance, it is truly a work of horological expertise and pure beauty. But more so, it is clearly the result of a healthy dose of inspiration from Urania. The focus on this piece is actually the large expanse that is cleanly decorated but remains without superfluous ornamentation.
Contemplating the 30-meter-high ancient pyramid at Mayan archeological site Chichén Itzá in the blazing Yucatán sunlight, I was awestruck by the structure’s complexity. Not just because of the pure historical ramifications of the pyramid and temple , but also because of its timekeeping capabilities. Chichén Itzá’s most famous structure was actually built to be the world’s largest calendar And this at a time when calendars didn’t even exist!
Two brand-new chronographs debuting here at Baselworld illustrate extreme sides of the coin: De Bethune’s manually wound DB29 Maxi Chrono Tourbillon and Glashütte Original’s Senator Chronograph Panorama Date.
Before Dream Watch 5, the world of modern independent watch brands was a much simpler place and De Bethune’s place in it was clear: Superlative movements housed in either traditional or contemporary, but not extreme, cases.
De Bethune has two main styles of timepieces in their collection: one which is more contemporary with models like the DB28 and Dream Watches, the other more classical. And the beautiful DB16 is as classical as they come, both in looks and in complications.
The extremely legible dial design belies an incredible number of indications and complications: central hours and minutes; small seconds; perpetual calendar with day, date, and month; spherical moon-phase; leap-year indication; age of the moon; power reserve indicator; and 30-second tourbillon.