Exploring the third dimension
De Bethune draws nurture and inspiration from several centuries of
history in forging its vision of 21st century watchmaking art, profoundly
rooted in contemporary culture. Each development is governed by a
constant quest for aesthetic excellence, subtly interacting with the
pursuit of high technical standards. The architecture of objects is driven
as much by its beauty as by its sturdiness or its function, without any one
factor outweighing the others. Like the classic chef d’oeuvres of historical
master-watchmakers, De Bethune creations are authentic sculptures in
which every component is designed to occupy all three spatial dimensions.
The De Bethune spherical moon epitomises this vision by
providing a poetic and yet highly technical display of the
motion of this heavenly body.
Inspired by a longstanding tradition stemming from
astronomical clocks, this depiction of the moon is also a
tribute to Leonardo da Vinci, whose sketch of it appeared
in the Madrid Codex. Composed of two hemispheres, one
in flame-blued steel and the other in palladium, carefully
assembled using a push-in technique, the sphere is
driven by an extremely precise mechanism and requires
adjustment only once every 122 years.
Delicately detached from the dial as if floating in a weightless
state, the De Bethune spherical moon opens a symbolic
window onto the cosmos.
The hands also contribute to reconquering the third
dimension. De Bethune achieves the impressive feat
of giving them authentic volume while preserving their
slenderness and their readability.
Sculpted in steel, titanium, silicon, gold or sapphire, they
testify to the expertise of the Manufacture. The subtle
nature of their design, which is reinvented for each new
creation, reveals the delicate treatment of the materials and
the audacious touch of their designers.
The blued steel rims of the sapphire hands, achieved by
differential thermal treatment, is a unique accomplishment
within the watch industry, thereby striking a refined balance
between their daring aesthetic and the need to ensure their
lightness, accuracy and readability.
For De Bethune, exploring space does not stop inside the
case. It encompasses the watch as a whole, particularly
when it comes to combining wearer comfort and timing
In order to enable the timepiece to mould the shape of
the wrist and naturally follow its movements, De Bethune
has developed a unique system of titanium floating lugs.
An integrated drawback-spring automatically directs them
towards the ideal position, thereby guaranteeing optimal
hold and a reduction in undue impacts.
meet futuristic materials
A pioneer in the use of titanium and silicon within the watch industry,
De Bethune has acquired perfect mastery in this field, ably combining
state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies with fine traditional skills.
Expert hands constantly reinvent and enhance age-old
gestures so that each part is given full attention, right down
to the smallest details. The noblest finishes and decors are
interpreted through new materials and revisited to ensure
an harmonious match with the specific De Bethune
The Manufacture has for example transposed to titanium its
expertise in the time-honoured techniques of bluing steel,
thereby giving it a unique colour while optimising its surface
resistance and its stability.
Using new materials
In its quest for mechanical perfection, De Bethune constantly explores new
horizons and frequently makes use in its creations of materials that are new
to the watch industry.
These materials are selected according to extremely strict
criteria bearing no relation to ephemeral trends. Each is
used for its specific properties, and always with a view to
improving the precision and reliability of the fundamental
watch components devised over the centuries.
Titanium, for example, is an extremely light, sturdy and
stainless material. De Bethune uses it to make parts such as
balance-wheel centres, bridges and screws. Its exceptional
properties are also put to good use in creating cases, floating
lugs, dials and hands. De Bethune oscillating weights boast
a unique combination of titanium and platinum.
De Bethune has also developed and patented the world’s
first balance-wheel to incorporate silicon. This highly robust
and flawless material considerably improves movements’
efficiency and appearance. Its physical properties, its
extreme lightness, its elasticity and its suitability for various
treatments have also enabled the Manufacture to create
parts requiring extreme precision, such as escape-wheels,
balance-springs, hands, bridges and collets. They are
machined in a particle accelerator by a deep reactive ion
etching (DRIE) operation performed within a complete
vacuum and at a temperature of around -273°C.
Developed by a highly qualified
multi-disciplinary research group,
the patented De Bethune balancespring
represents a breakthrough
evolution of the Breguet overcoil
Thanks to a unique shape and material, its flat terminal
curve enables free concentric development of the spring,
as well as a noticeably thinner construction. It also avoids
any distortion of the coils in case of impacts thanks to the
specific study of its elasticity at its point of attachment.
Finally, the smooth assembly of the balance-spring avoids
any potential damage to its resilience during fitting, thereby
guaranteeing optimal rate performance.
The perfect balance
De Bethune is one of the rare watch
manufacturers to use its very own
patented balance-wheels. They stem
from ongoing research and are
designed to be as light as possible
while maintaining the highest possible
level of inertia.
The titanium/platinum balance achieves an ideal mass/
inertia ratio. Its extreme lightness makes titanium ideal
for the central part of the balance, while the optimally
aerodynamic external weights are made from platinum.
The latter metal, which has one of the highest densities,
serves to increase the inertia of the regulating organ. This
makes it possible to achieve a 20% lower weight, while
maintaining high inertia. The resulting reduction in friction
also entails substantial energy savings. Two gold adjustment
weights facilitate the dynamic rating.
Shifting up a gear in its quest for the perfect equilibrium
between lightness and inertia, De Bethune unveiled in 2010
its annular balance made from silicon and a gold/palladium
alloy. The Manufacture brilliantly exploits the exceptional
characteristics of these materials, since palladium features
the lowest density of all metals, while nonetheless providing
a sufficient counterweight for silicon.
As a loyal companion for contemporary individuals, the wristwatch is
subjected to an increasingly wide range of stresses and strains. Shock
resistance is an essential prerequisite to which De Bethune has responded
by two major innovations, the triple pare-chute anti-shock system; and the
oscillating weight shock-absorber system.
The triple pare-chute
The only system of its kind used in the watch industry, the
triple pare-chute protects the heart of the movement thanks
to a titanium bridge secured by a spring-based system.
Three jewels connect the various elements, thereby not only
absorbing shocks but also ensuring precise repositioning of
the bridge after a displacement.
Oscillating Weight Shock Absorber
The oscillating weight guard device is also a world premiere.
A steel shock-absorbing device with 4 small spring feet
and 12 jewels maintains the smooth motion of the titanium/
platinum oscillating weight. In case of substantial or
repeated impacts, the spring feet of the shock-absorber
may be deformed along several axes, therefore avoiding any
damage to the oscillating weight itself. The jewels contribute
to reducing friction.
The peak of
The DeBethune Escapment
The Swiss 20-toothed lever escapement has been entirely
updated by the De Bethune R&D department. In order to
improve efficiency, the angles of the escapement locking
and impulse planes are substantially different from the
Thanks to an exclusive De Bethune process, the escapewheel
is thinned down as far as possible to achieve
minimum inertia, thus ensuring optimal running and
reducing wear. The alternate bevels on each tooth, one on
top and the next below, help ensure an even spread of the
lubricant and cut the wear on the lever pallets in half by
doubling the contact surface.
The lever is poised so as to cancel out the effects of gravity
and ensure improved rating in the various watch positions.
This involves an exclusive process in which the pallets are
clamped in place rather than cemented.
The laws of physics are absolutely clear: in order to
compensate for the violence of wrist movements, the
tourbillon carriage must be as light as possible and
endowed with a maximum frequency and rotation speed,
along with minimal weight and inertia.
After two and a half years of research, De Bethune
developed the first tourbillon ever truly designed to be worn
on the wrist. Thanks to the use of new technologies, this
silicon/titanium tourbillon beats at a frequency of 36,000
vibrations per hour, within a carriage that rotates once every
30 seconds. The latter is the lightest ever introduced on the
market and comprises 64 parts weighing 0.18 grams in all,
meaning four times less than a conventional carriage.
Chronometric Setting System
The chronometric setting system, a world-first innovation
from De Bethune, enables each user to easily adjust the
rate of his watch by simply pressing one of the two pushpieces
on the back of the watch. To ensure optimal use, the
limits of such adjustment are indicated in red through an
Fundamental Research: Constraint-Free High Frequency
After two years of study conducted by the engineers
and physicists of the De Bethune laboratory, under the
guidance of Denis Flageollet, a new fundamental principle
of mechanical horology has been developed. Dubbed
“mechanical resonics”, this discovery is based on the
successful synchronisation of a sound frequency oscillator
and a magnetic escapement rotor within a mechanical
watch. It thereby paves the way for a whole new discipline.
Free of any balance and spring assembly or traditional
escapement, and composed of a minimum number of parts,
the mechanism thus invented by De Bethune shows every
promise of achieving the highest levels of precision while
eliminating the traditional constraints represented by wear,
shock resistance and lubrication.
Self-regulating Twin Barrel
All De Bethune calibres are equipped with a self-regulating
twin barrel ensuring maximum constant power reserve.
Moreover, De Bethune has developed an exclusive frictionreduction
technology by means of six jewelled blades
placed on either side of the spring in order to ensure optimal
transmission of maximum energy to the balance-wheel.
Winding-speed Regulatting System
This unique system developed by De Bethune enables the
wearers to adjust their watch according to the quantity and
speed of their movements. A crown-operated lever offers a
choice between three automatic winding speeds: sports (H),
medium (M) or low (L). Whatever their usual pace, users can
thus adjust the quantity of energy transmitted to the barrel
and thereby optimise the tension of the spring as well as the