Today we are taking a look at the De Bethune DB29 Maxichrono Tourbillon, one of the most gorgeous chronographs I have seen in a long time.
The DB29 Maxichrono Tourbillon
Now, for those that know anything about De Bethune and the incredible timepieces they craft, the above statement shouldn’t really come as a surprise to you. Still, I can’t overstate enough just how impressed I am with the DB29 Maxichrono Tourbillon.
With this latest piece De Bethune has taken the idea of functional beauty just that one step further, creating something that is at both unique and eye-catching and yet at the same time highly practical and intuitive to use.
To achieve this they have completely re-thought the concept of a chronograph and the traditional lay-out used to display its various indications. The result of seven years of research and development, this exceptional patented chronograph, packed with innovations, embodies the essence of De Bethune’s watchmaking.
As you can see in the photos the DB29 Maxichrono Tourbillon does not have any sub-dials as such, at least not in the traditional sense. Rather the various indications seem to radiate out from the center of the dial.
Easier Than It Looks
Now admittedly it can seem a little overwhelming at first, after all there are five different central hands traversing the dial at any one time. Look a little longer however and suddenly all becomes clear; starting from the outside in there are three clear elapsed time counters, the first for 60 seconds, the second for 60 minutes and finally the central one capable of accurately tracking 24 hours.
According to De Bethune the central chronograph hands of the DB29 Maxichrono Tourbillon are mounted on co-axial stacked wheels, a complex system that requires real technical expertise to achieve. It is this exceptional level of skill however that has allowed it to do away with the traditional sub-dials that so often clutter up what would otherwise be very nice looking designs.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not completely dismissing the traditional chronograph layout but there is just something so pure and elegant about this design that I can’t help but be enamored with it. Plus the hand-polished, flamed blue steel hands, contrast wonderfully against the simplicity of the dial and the single chronograph minutes hand in rose gold.
The magic doesn’t end with the dial of the DB29 Maxichrono Tourbillon though, not by a long shot. Turn it over and you are greeted with what appears to be a solid rose gold caseback, which let’s face it, is a little disappointing for a De Bethune timepiece. After all this is a company that is as well known for its mechanics as it is for its aesthetics, we want to see what’s going on inside!
Despair not, however, as the simple act of pressing the push button at 4 o’clock reveals that this is simply a cover for the sapphire-crystal caseback. All of a sudden you have an incredible view of the modern construction of the calibre DB2039 movement complete with polished steel bridges, 30-second Tourbillon in silicon and titanium at 3 o’clock and of course the complex monopusher chronograph mechanism featuring three column-wheels.
Equipped with De Bethune’s patent pending absolute clutch system, which aims to improve the performance of chronographs by correcting the faults identified in current mechanisms, the DB29 Maxichrono Tourbillon is one serious timepiece. I won’t go into all the technical details here but you can more information about this new mechanism here on the De Bethune website. Suffice to say though there are three different clutch systems at play here. Just think about that for a second; three. Wow.
Presented in a gorgeous 46mm 5N Rose Gold case complete with De Bethune’s iconic cone-shaped lugs, the DB29 Maxichrono Tourbillon wears extremely comfortably on the wrist and if anything feels a little smaller than its specifications suggest. The hand-wound DB2039 calibre offers 5 days of power reserve, and the watch is finished nicely on an extra-supple alligator leather strap with pin buckle.
Pricing is set at CHF270,000 (approx. US$307,400) plus any associated taxes and annual production for this year will be limited to a maximum of 20 pieces.
Hours – minutes – mono-pusher chronograph with 24-hour, 60-minute and 60-second counters –
De Bethune 30″ silicon/titanium tourbillon, 36,000 vph
DB2039 calibre – mechanical hand-wound movement
Power reserve: 5 days
5N rose gold – round-shaped – diameter 46 mm – thickness 11.70 mm
Attachments: cone-shaped lugs
Glass: sapphire crystal, 1800 Vickers hardness with double anti-reflective treatment
Crown at 3 o’clock – mono-pusher button – setting in 2 positions – push button for the double back at 4 o’clock
Back: open – sapphire crystal, 1800 Vickers hardness with double anti-reflective treatment –
De Bethune tourbillon 30″ silicon/titanium 36,000 vph – chronograph calibre with hand-polished bridges
Double back: solid with invisible hinge – 5N rose gold
Dial: silver-toned – the architecture of the dial is constructed on different levels; some are curved to maximize the visibility. From the centre to the periphery: central hours counter – hours inner ring – minutes ring and minutes counter – outer ring with chronograph seconds indication
Hands: 5 curved central hands – hand-polished and flame-blued steel for hours and minutes hands and hours and seconds chronograph indicators – minutes chronograph indicator in rose gold
Extra-supple alligator leather strap with pin buckle
For more information about the DB29 Maxichrono Tourbillon please visit the official De Bethune website.
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