Autumn 2011: less than ten years had elapsed since the creation of De Bethune by David Zanetta and Denis Flageollet when the very first DB28 won the “Aiguille d’Or” prize in the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève.
Not doing more, but better
Which features particularly appealed to the jury members of the GPHG? From an aesthetic standpoint, the futuristic design of the DB28 paradoxically reprises the style of a historical pocket watch with its crown at 12 o’clock and its solid hunter-type back displaying the (six-day) power reserve – a set of not entirely new features that De Bethune had already introduced in the DBS. By contrast, a far more contemporary note is struck by the grade 5 titanium clothing the ultra-light 43 mm case and the dial revealing the movement and its mainplate bearing the hands, as well as by the three-dimensional design of the moon at 6 o’clock depicted by a blued steel platinum and steel sphere spinning on its axis. The novel patented mobile lugs of the strap attachments were designed to enhance wearer comfort.
On a technical level, Calibre DB2115, developed and produced in-house, testifies to the brand’s impressive innovation capabilities with a self-regulating twin barrel, a silicon/palladium balance with flat terminal curve, protected by a triple pare-chute shock-absorbing system. All of which are enhanced by finishes reflecting the finest Haute Horlogerie traditions. “The future lies in doing better, not in doing more”, said David Zanetta during the prize-giving ceremony of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève 2011. The same goes for the future of watchmaking according to the philosophy upheld by De Bethune, which remains firmly dedicated to the primacy of technical research.
In the wake of this distinction conferred by the GPHG, De Bethune revealed the DB28 “Aiguille d’Or” the following year, along with the DB28 “Special Edition”. Both of these two limited series featured some new aesthetic elements, including the platinum and blackened steel spherical moon-phase indicator. 2012 witnessed the emergence of the DB28 ST tourbillon, driven by the hand-wound DB2119 movement and its ultra-thin tourbillon (64 components weighing just 0.18g) that is also ultra-fast at 36,000 vibrations per hour.
Black and blue
2013 was a black yet splendid year for the DB28. Black like the zirconium of the case and attachments of the DB28 Black Matt and DB28T Black and Black Gold models, and black like the polished steel bridge and minute circle of these two darkly sophisticated models. The sky adopted a brighter hue with the dreamy Skybridge model. The traditional open dial of the DB28 dial is transformed into a mirror-polished titanium blue sky encrusted with white gold and diamond stars and spherical hour-markers. This luminous Skybridge was complemented by a one-of-a-kind creation for Only Watch 2013.
Tested by Gaël Monfils
A special DB28 Black Matt version was created in 2014 for the new brand ambassador, French tennis player Gaël Monfils. Considered for several years to have the most powerful forehand in the ATP tour, Gaël Monfils wears his timepiece in competition and puts the triple pare-chute shock-absorbing stem to a very stern test.
“The DB28 is to De Bethune what the 911 is to Porsche"
2015: GS and Titanium
In 2015, the DB28 GS innovates with a power-reserve indicator on the dial, water resistance to 100 m, extreme shock resistance and a microlight-type rubber strap. It does not provide a moon-phase display and the balance of the traditional Calibre 2115 is in silicon and white gold while the bridge is made of titanium, as is the hand-polished and smoothed-won 44 mm case.
In its Titanium version, the Maxichrono 2015 radiates an even more luminous and modern aura than the 2014 model, enhanced by its mirror-polished grade 5 titanium case and its dial punctuated by blue numerals swept over by four flame-blued steel hands – with only the chronograph hand appearing clothed in pink gold.
As De Bethune’s CEO Pierre Jacques sums up: “The DB28 is to De Bethune what the 911 is to Porsche: the embodiment of expertise, high technology and design. All of which makes it an exceptional timepiece that will doubtless make its mark on contemporary watchmaking”,
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