Celebrating a decade of technical achievement of the iconic De Bethune DBS
Ten years ago, David Zanetta and Denis Flageollet decided to support the Only Watch project – an auction placed under the patronage of Prince Albert II of Monaco on behalf of research into Duchenne Muscular dystrophy – by creating the first DBS, an incredibly high-tech model with an innovative design.
The white gold case of the De Bethune DBS testified to a new thought process undertaken by the brand founders in terms of ensuring a wristwatch makes an ideally comfortable fit, and marked the start of in-depth work on forging a specific De Bethune functional aesthetic.
The cone-shaped lower lugs, along with the 12 o’clock crown, were subtle details that counter-balanced the almost imposing size of the model that measured 45 mm across at its widest point. Continuing this approach, the pivoting gold plate connecting the upper section of the strap and the case middle was the forerunner of what would later become known as floating lugs – a patented system featuring a spring-type effect that helps adjust to the size of the wrist and its movements.
In 2005, the De Bethune DBS laid the first foundations of what has now become one of the watch industry’s most innovative and creative R&D labs. Youthful engineers under the guidance of Denis Flageollet have rolled out a number of unprecedented developments, world firsts and the ten patents filed by the Manufacture since its creation in 2002. The calibre of the original DBS was already packed with innovations and illustrated the expertise and ingenuity of this “grand” little independent firm.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of this iconic model, De Bethune has equipped the DBS with its tourbillon, entirely emblematic of the extreme precision and performance of its in-house calibres. A 30-second tourbillon features a high 36,000 vph frequency ideal for a wristwatch and is amazingly light at 0.18 grams for a total of 63 parts – of which the lightest weighs less than 0.0001 g and the heaviest 0.0276 g. These important factors, guaranteeing the precision and reliability of the mechanism despite the abrupt and random nature of wrist movements, are made possible by the incorporation and the underlying technical mastery of materials such as silicon and titanium.
The dial providing a fascinating window onto De Bethune DB2019 calibre reveals a wealth of technical and subtly decorated details. Held by a finely titanium annular bridge, the tourbillon at 6 o’clock performs an endlessly fascinating mechanical ballet. It appears to be suspended in mid-air, standing out against the anthracite deltoid-shaped bridges and delineating a time read-off zone by means of spherical steel indicators hand-polished and blued using the age-old flame-blueing technique.
Subtle touches of blue, cleanly-cut hands and hour-markers, shimmering reflections playing across the materials, ruthenium-coated Côtes De Bethune contrasting with silver-toned finish of the minutes ring: the aesthetic construction of the De Bethune DBS built around the extreme technical sophistication of the movement explores the technical and artistic skills of the Manufacture and celebrates ten years of exclusivity, excellence and beauty.