De Bethune may not have been an official exhibitor at this year’s SIHH however fortunately for us the brand was still on hand at Geneva’s luxurious Four Seasons Hotel to present two new creations for 2013; the sublime DB28 Skybridge, which we will cover in more detail later this week, and the equally desirable DB16 Tourbillon Regulator.
The DB16 On The Wrist
It’s hard to describe the feeling when you first set eyes on a new piece from De Bethune. An incredible mix of aesthetical beauty and mechanical complexity, each creation is a joy to discover. Close scrutiny is always warranted and inevitably rewarded, as the brand’s unwavering commitment to quality and attention to detail means there is something new to discover at every turn.
Presented in a 43mm pink gold case with cone shaped lugs, the dial of the DB16 has been adorned with a stunning three dimensional moon phase indicator at 12 o’clock, which you simply cannot help but stare at. The overall impact is not overpowering however as the dial is very evenly balanced thanks to the well thought out design. For example the date indicator at 6 o’clock and the matching apertures at 9 and 3 o’clock, for indicating the day and month respectively, all work together to create a subtle sense of symmetry that is really quite appealing.
At 43mm it is a touch on the large side but, as you can see in the photos, it wears quite comfortably on the wrist. Plus the slightly larger case size means the dial is easier to read, something I always appreciate on more classically designed timepieces. Not to mention the fact that it will also draw more than its fair share of attention (and compliments!).
Front To Back
Still, as much as the brand is characterized by its love of aesthetic beauty, it is their mastery of the subtle art of complexity that draws me in every time. Simply turn the DB16 Tourbillon Regulator over and you instantly discover this is no ordinary timepiece you are dealing with.
On display in all its glory is the calibre DB2509, complete with deadbeat seconds, perpetual calendar and trademark silicon and titanium tourbillon with 30-second indicator. Although you can’t see it quite clearly in the photos there is a also a retrograde indicator on the reverse of the movement that allows you to manually set the moon-phase to the exact date, guaranteeing as accurate an indication as possible.
Of course all of this comes at a price and at just over 350,000CHF the DB16 Tourbillon Regulator is certainly not for everyone (unfortunately!). However for discerning collectors and watch lovers in general who have the level of income required at their disposal, this really would make a superb addition to any collection.
The Final Word
De Bethune for me is one of the brands that really seem to know what they’re doing and take great relish in doing it extremely well. They don’t try to be anything they’re not and stick closely to the design principles that characterize each of their pieces, whilst still allowing for a degree of individuality amongst each of the collections. If you consider yourself a serious collector or watch lover and they are not on your radar yet, than they definitely should be.