2018 marks the start of a new era in the rich history of the Manufacture De Bethune. The new DB28 Steel Wheels is all about transparency and light, thanks to a dial providing stunning views of the mesmerising movement architecture. In keeping with the design codes of its predecessors, the DB28 Steel Wheel perpetuates the heritage of the Maison: an ideal blend of daring aesthetics and exceptional mechanics.
De Bethune DB28 Steel Wheels
Over the years, the DB28 has become a Manufacture De Bethune classic. Interpreted in various contemporary iterations, from the “Skybridge” to “Kind of Blue”, it notably won the “Aiguille d’or” in 2011, the most prestigious distinction awarded by the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. At the SIHH 2018, De Bethune takes centre-stage by highlighting the original architecture of its movement with a new take on the watch: the DB28 Steel Wheels.
In unveiling the very heart of its horological expertise, De Bethune is revealing cutting-edge technology dedicated to serving art: a double self-regulating barrel ensuring a six-day power reserve, a signature De Bethune balance-spring with flat terminal curve, a silicon escape-wheel, a triple pare-chute shock-absorbing system, as well as a new even more high-performance titanium balance-wheel with white gold inserts.
The distinctive architecture of the Calibre 2115V4 is beautifully highlighted by the decision to trim down the mechanism, notably by openworking the barrels and ratchet wheels, as well as cutting out the core of the central delta-shaped bridge. The latter is adorned with a “Côtes De Bethune” decoration, produced using the Microlight micrometric engraving technique developed by De Bethune.
The ratcheted chapter ring inspired by gear-wheel toothing surrounds 12 polished spheres marking the hours and adding to the overall volume of the mechanism. The new hours hand, made of sapphire crystal rimmed by blued steel, ensures that the view of the movement remains minimally unobstructed. The Manufacture’s signature spherical moon composed of palladium and blued steel is still set at the same spot as in the standard DB28. Appearing against its night-sky backdrop at 6 o’clock, it spins on its axis with such precision that it will take 122 years to accumulate a one-day discrepancy.
Like all the models in this collection, the DB28 Steel Wheels surprises its wearers by the light feel of its case, entirely crafted in grade-5 titanium, and by the presence of De Bethune’s patented floating-lug system adjusting to wrist size and movements. Matched with an alligator leather strap and a polished titanium buckle, the watch has a water resistance of 3 ATM (splash-proof only). The DB28 Steel Wheels is limited to 25 pieces only.
Name: DB28 Steel Wheels
Functions: Hours, Minutes, Spherical moon-phase indication at 6 o’clock, Power reserve situated on the back
Type: Mechanical calibre with manual winding
Adjustment: Winding and setting the time by means of the crown (2 positions); spherical moon-phase adjustment via a corrector
Number of parts: 275
Jewelling: 35 jewels
Diameter: 30 mm
Power reserve: 6 days, ensured by a self-regulating twin barrel – De Bethune Innovation (2004)
Specificities: Titanium balance wheel with white gold inserts, optimized for temperature differences and air penetration – De Bethune Patent (2016); “De Bethune” balance-spring with flat terminal curve – De Bethune Patent (2006); Silicon escape wheel; Spherical moon-phase indication accurate to a degree of one lunar day every 122 years – De Bethune Patent (2004); Triple pare-chute shock-absorbing system – De Bethune Patent (2005)
Frequency: 28,800 vibrations per hour
Adornment: Concave polished grade 5 titanium plate cover; Hand made mirror-polished grade 5 titanium motion works bridge; Barrels bridge decorated with De Bethune stripes and “microlight” engraving; Open worked and hand sailed barrels Rhodium power reserve indicator background decorated with “De Bethune” circular graining; Blued and engraved ring; Steel parts beveled and polished by hand
Display: Sapphire Hour hand; Chamfered and blued hour hand frame; Minute hand in hand-polished and flame blued steel; Spherical moon-phase indication in palladium and flame-blued steel with an accuracy of one lunar day every 122 years at 6 o’clock – De Bethune Patent (2004); Performance indicator between 2 and 3 o’clock
Dial: Hour ring in circular-grained titanium; Moon-phase bezel in polished blued titanium; Spherical polished titanium hours markers set on a blued polished titanium circle
Case and strap
Case material: Polished grade 5 titanium
Case diameter:42.6 mm
Case thickness: 9.30 mm
Lugs: Short or long floating lugs in polished grade 5 titanium – De Bethune Patent (2006)
Crystal: In sapphire crystal (hardness of 1800 Vickers) with double anti-reflective coating
Case back: Screwed case back in grade 5 polished titanium that opens on a linear power reserve indicator in blued steel; Sapphire crystal (1800 Vickers hardness) with double anti-reflective coating
Water resistance: 3 ATM
Strap: Extra-supple alligator skin, lining in alligator
Buckle: Pin buckle in mirror-polished grade 5 titanium