De Bethune - The Bluest of Blues
De Bethune launched their first DB28 model in 2010, and the futuristic collection has since continued to evolve. Even with its original, avant-garde style and recognisable features, the DB28 nevertheless amazes us with its versatility on the wrist. Last year, De Bethune released the DB28 Yellow Tones in March, its warm hues signifying a departure from the brand’s well-established penchant for the colour blue. Having demonstrated the DB28’s success at the opposite end of the colour spectrum — for the DB28 Yellow Tones was an immediate hit among enthusiasts — De Bethune re-embraces its iconic shade of intense blue. Two new models have been launched for 2020, all in blue; a colour created by thermal oxidation, and which has always fascinated Denis Flageollet, master watchmaker and co-founder of De Bethune.
DB28 Tourbillon Kind of Blue Milky Way
The first time we saw a DB28 Tourbillon with the “Kind of Blue” appellation was in 2016, when it was met with great acclaim. The 2020 edition, limited to 10 pieces, has been updated with De Bethune’s latest balance wheel in titanium and white gold. Other advances are more aesthetic in nature, such as the redesigned floating lugs and hour markers. Apart from that, the De Bethune DB28T retains its winning formula, with its magnificent ultra-light tourbillon at 6 o’clock. The tourbillon’s exceptionally low weight is not just for the purposes of technical showing off; there is a deeply pragmatic reason for it. Unlike the standard one-minute tourbillon mechanism seen in most wristwatches, the De Bethune tourbillon rotates once every 30 seconds. Furthermore, its balance beats at 5Hz (36,000vph), faster than the normal 4Hz (28,800vph) or 3Hz (21,600vph) balance. The faster rotation and higher frequency help to boost chronometric performance, but they also consume more energy, which is why the tourbillon needs to be as light as possible.
DB28 Tourbillon Kind of Blue Milky Way © De Bethune
DB28 Kind of Blue Milky Way
The non-tourbillon DB28 Kind of Blue Milky Way trades the rotating escapement for another signature complication of De Bethune — the spherical moon phase indication. Unlike conventional moon phase displays, which accumulate one day of error after 32.5 weeks, the De Bethune moon phase display is accurate for 122 years. The sphere representing the moon is made of two hemispheres — one in steel and one in palladium. Palladium oxidises at far higher temperatures than steel, allowing the sphere to achieve its dramatic half-blued appearance when heated over a flame. The DB28 Kind of Blue Milky Way also utilises the latest balance wheel from De Bethune, comprising a titanium frame with white-gold inserts.
DB28 Kind of Blue Milky Way © De Bethune
A Unique Display
The hypnotic blue of these watches is contrasted with hands in pink gold, a vibrant play of colours which was showcased to great effect in last year’s DB28 Kind of Gold USA Limited Edition. The pattern of stars on the dial can be personalised at the purchaser's discretion, illustrating a night sky at any geographical coordinate of choice. De Bethune first presented their Kind of Blue watches in 2016, just four years ago, but they have rapidly found a place among the most important models of the De Bethune collection. Even within each Kind of Blue timepieces, the shades of blue vary from a calm azure to an electric cobalt, as the steel components take on slightly different tones compared to titanium parts. Beneath the tranquil blue surface of these watches, a complex horological oeuvre awaits discovery.