I wouldn’t be lying if I said I thought De Bethune was one of the most consistently interesting brands in independent watchmaking these days. Ever since Pierre Jacques returned to his role as CEO in October of 2017, the brand hasn’t come close to a misfire. While the pinnacle achievement for De Bethune during this 19-month period was its victory in the Chronometry category at the 2018 GPHG for the DB25 Starry Varius Chronomètre Tourbillon, the brand has released a number of other highlight pieces including the DB28 Steel Wheels and the DB28 Kind of Blue since then. So far in 2019, De Bethune has continued this pattern of success with five new timepieces released (so far) that showcase a commitment to the American market, the continued exploration of the brand’s experiments with heated titanium, and an exciting first that exemplifies the horological experimentation that has attracted people to De Bethune since it was founded in 2003. One watch, in particular, that stands out and that we’d like to highlight prior to De Bethune showcasing all of its most recent releases at WatchTime New York 2019 is the brand’s first-ever attempt at a dive watch.
Given the name DB28GS Grand Bleu, the watch features the brand’s 27th in-house produced movement with a five-day power reserve and a manufacture produced balance wheel made of titanium and white gold. The 44-mm case is fully made of titanium and offers a water resistance rating of 105 meters. The lugs feature a new design in a medium size with black zirconium inserts referencing the middle side of the case. One unique feature of the DB28GS Grand Bleu is the presence of the unidirectional bezel (the first time one has appeared on a De Bethune timepiece). While the bezel rotates like normal, the numbers are actually applied on the sapphire crystal. De Bethune says that this was chosen to keep the watch thin.
The most intriguing aspect of the new diver is the application of a mechanical dynamo system that emits a blue-white light around four spots in the bezel. Using zero electronics or batteries, a pusher that is flush at 6 o’clock activates a small gear train driven by the twin-barrel. This gear train, by means of a miniature dynamo, provides the necessary energy for lighting up the watch. Once the five-day power reserve has dropped to a single day (indicated by a subtle display between 9 and 10 o’clock), this function will be blocked in an effort to conserve energy. De Bethune worked with lume-expert James Thompson of Black Badger Advanced Composites to create a unique and proprietary blue photoluminescent material called Blue Moon to improve the readability of the hands, indexes, and timer while remaining true to the brand’s trademark blue color.
The DB28GS Grand Bleu is priced at $93,500 and will be limited to a run of 30 pieces per year. De Bethune will be showing all of its most recent novelties at WatchTime New York on Oct. 25 – 26, 2019. Click here to get your tickets now!