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.
In 2005, the 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 given rise to several unprecedented developments, world firsts and the ten patents filed by the Manufacture since its creation in 2002.
The DBS one-of-a-kind model unveiled in 2015 picks up some of the characteristic design elements of the DBS and is also enriched by ten years of technical innovations.
The white gold case testifies 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 adopting a specific De Bethune functional aesthetic. The cone-shaped lower lugs, along with the 12 o’clock crown, were subtle details that counter-balance the almost imposing size of the model measuring 45 mm across at its widest point.
Continuing this approach, a pivoting gold plate connects the upper section of the strap and the case middle: this was in fact the forerunner of what would later be known as floating lugs – a patented system featuring a spring-type effect that helps adjust to the size of the wrist and its movements.
Calibre DB2115 powering this one-of-a-kind model illustrates the expertise and ingenuity of this “grand” little independent firm through fine innovations such as the self-regulating twin barrel ensuring a six-day power reserve, along with the pairing of the silicon/white gold balance and its balance-spring with flat terminal curve that ensures an ideal mass/inertia ratio and delivers an optimal frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour suited to wristwatches.
The dial provides a fascinating window onto the calibre, revealing a wealth of technical and subtly decorated details. Held by a finely grained titanium annular bridge, the silicon annular balance 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.
In a nod to the Principality of Monaco, a touch of red at 6 and 12 o’clock mingles with the blue of the indicators and of the clean-cut hands. The dial architecture features shimmering reflections playing across the various materials: mirror-polished steel, ruthenium-coated Côtes De Bethune and silver-toned minute ring finishes. It is built around the extreme technical sophistication of the sophisticated movement that explores the technical and artistic skills of the Manufacture and celebrates ten years of exclusivity, excellence and beauty.