Doing Better, Not More…
Each year for a few hundred fortunate connoisseurs around the world, De Bethune offers models representing some of the very best and most unique of what high watchmaking has to offer. Although I find that the brand is one of those elite independent watchmakers that seems somewhat content with its relative obscurity, the brand’s recognition here on Perpetuelle is undoubtedly overdue. Now in its 11th year, the brand which was founded in 2002 by David Zanetta and Denis Flageollet continues on its mission to establish itself as a flag bearer for 21st century horology. “Not doing more, but instead doing better” is one of the company’s guiding maxims, an indeed this is reflected in the company’s approach to watchmaking. These guys do a lot of things better. The watch we will look at today is the brand’s latest, the DB16 Tourbillon Regulator.
The DB16 features a classically styled 43mm pink gold case with distinctive cone-shaped lugs. The case and lugs in particular stand in contrast to the brand’s futuristic, patented “floating lugs” as seen in series such as the DB27 and DB28.
The dial is beautiful, with a wonderful sunburst guilloché motif emanating outward from the gold star-studded sky in blued steel which features De Bethune’s special spherical (3D) moon in platinum and blued steel at 12 o’clock. There are apertures indicating the day of week at 9 o’clock, month at 3 o’clock and day of month at 6 o’clock. Elegantly shaped hands are also blued steel, hand-polished. The center-set seconds hand is actually a “jumping” or “deadbeat” seconds, the mechanism of which is visible from the caseback.
On the back of the watch you are able to see the contemporary architecture of 499-part DB2509 calibre, a twin-barrel, high-beat (36,000 vph), hand-wound movement with a 30-second tourbillon constructed of silicon and titanium. The jumping/deadbeat seconds mechanism is also visible (gold wheels, pallets — center), along with retrograde “age of the moon” indicator and power-reserve indicator. Note also the large, triangle-shaped bridge — another De Bethune signature. The finishing is also superb.
Many features of this caliber are unique to De Bethune, in fact patent protected. For example the self-regulating twin-barrel — with an exclusive friction reduction technology by means of six jewelled blades placed on either side of the spring in order to ensure optimal transmission of maximum energy to the balance-wheel. There is also the patented balance-spring with flat terminal curve. There is a lot of great information about the brand’s many innovations and patents here, on their website.
Total weight on that tourbillon, by the way, is a mere 0.18 grams — it just looks light, doesn’t it?
A fascinating watch in many respects! I hope this gives you a decent taste of what De Bethune has to offer, and in particular in the new DB16 Tourbillon Regulator — really, a great watch from a fantastic and forward-thinking brand. I will be back with more on De Bethune at a future date.