The luxury watch industry may be in for some challenging times ahead but there’s no doubt the independent spirit of innovation is still very much alive. De Bethune, another of the independent brands making its debut at SIHH this year, provides yet another example of this with the introduction of its new DB25 World Traveller watch.
The DB25 World Traveller
The DB25 World Traveller represents the first time De Bethune has ever made a world-timer although you wouldn’t know it to look at it. The newest member to the popular DB25 collection, the watch is presented in a 45mm x 13.7mm thick case in 18k white gold and is just gorgeous to look at.
Admittedly though I found the time display of the DB25 World Traveller a little overwhelming at first. There is a lot of information being conveyed and certainly not in what you would call a traditional fashion (i.e. easy to read). It definitely treads a fine line between form over function but ultimately I think it strikes a balance between legibility and distinctive style.
Working from the outside in the first thing you come across is a discrete date display on an outer ring, with a small (almost imperceptible) arrow marking the current date. Next is the hours and minutes, indicated by gorgeous blued hands. There’s no small seconds hand though on the DB25 World Traveller, which is a little disappointing as it means the dial is completely inanimate most of the time. More than making up for this though is the unorthodox GMT display, which creatively incorporates a familiar De Bethune creation; a tiny spherical ball.
The concept for the GMT (or 24-hour time) indication on the DB25 World Traveller is surprisingly simple. As you can probably guess from the pictures the role of the aforementioned tiny spherical ball is to indicate the second-time zone of your choosing. There is an added touch though – which we’ve seen on previous De Bethune pieces – that I really like. The tiny spherical ball itself is blued on one side and 18k pink gold on the other, offering a subtle but useful way to keep track of whether it’s daytime or night time in the local time zone you are tracking. Between 6am and 6pm it displays the gold side (AM) and then from 6pm to 6am it flips over to show the blue side (PM).
A 24-hour chapter ring sits just beneath the ball – or rather the ball seems to float on top – and the two work in unison to indicate the time. At the centre of it all is the world-time disc which shows reference times for 13 different cities. I have to admit this threw me a little at first because the design seems a little disorganized and some of the cities chosen are not the standard ones you’d expect to see on a on a world-timer but somehow it works.
The fun doesn’t stop there however because the DB25 World Traveller is also equipped with a new, manually wound movement; the De Bethune caliber DB2547. Turn the watch over and the first thing to catch your eye is the stunning balance wheel bridge and shock-absorption system in striking blued titanium, which has been designed to protect the movements against small shocks. Just beneath that is a new titanium balance wheel – also blued – with 18k white gold weights. And of course this wouldn’t be a De Bethune timepiece without a silicon escapement.
In total the movement is comprised of some 430 parts, which does seem a tad excessive given the relatively straightforward nature of the DB25 World Traveller. That being said, given the exceptional level of finishing who are we to complain, right? Still, with all those extra pieces you think De Bethune might have considered including a power reserve indicator to help you keep track of the movement’s 5 days of power generated by two mainspring barrels. It’s not a deal breaker by any means but still, it would have been a nice to have.
All in all a pretty gorgeous piece, the DB25 World Traveller can be yours for the tidy sum of 150,000 Swiss francs (approx. US$148,000).
Visit www.debethune.ch for more information.