Inside the Manufacture
Immerse yourself in the heart of the Manufacture and its cutting-edge technologies, in keeping with the spirit of the great 18th century master-watchmakers.
Tourbillons, perpetual calendars, chronometers, deadbeat seconds, spherical moons, bridges, wheels, pallet-levers,
balance wheels, pinions, balance springs and screws as well as cases, dials, floating lugs and hands... Each component is individually designed and crafted with meticulous attention to the slightest detail, including the traditional “Côtes De Bethune” and Microlight engraving.
Based on the observation that the latter are visually inaccurate, De Bethune was the first watchmaker who nurtured a desire to create the first ever wristwatch movement incorporating a spherical moon. Breaking free of all constraints, Denis Flageollet, Master Watchmaker and founder of De Bethune, managed to design a calibre capable of accommodating a three-dimensional moon that appears to be literally levitating above its star-studded sky. So as to reproduce its dark side, he came up with the idea of making it from two steel and palladium hemispheres, cut, assembled and polished before being placed on a bed of brass filings and exposed to the flame of a spirit lamp.
Heat then works its magic spell, as steel turns into a blue oxide, while the palladium remains intact. The assembled sphere can then spin on its axis so as to accurately reproduce the different movements of the heavenly body as observed in the sky. Its driving mechanism is calculated with such accuracy that a full 122 years will elapse before it accumulates a one-day discrepancy.
Carrying connotations of infinity and harmony, natural blue is a major field of research for De Bethune. To create its own shade of this azure hue, de Bethune uses a technique that consists of gently heating the material with a flame so as to colour its surface through oxidation. For balanace-wheels, floating lugs, dials and many other components, the process begins with polishing the raw material to achieve a perfect mirror polish, before the watchmaker cuts out the parts, cleans them and then fires them in an oven at 700 °C to oxidise the titanium and give it this truly extraordinary uniform shade of blue.
To ensure that each sky is different, De Bethune clients can choose the constellation they prefer to have appear on a mirror-polished blued titanium dial that will be studded with a whole host of tiny gold pins individually driven in to recreate the magic of the stars. Hand-guided laser engraved then enriches the sky with a multitude of smaller stars. To complete the process and further accentuate the visual effect, 24K gold brings an added glow resembling that of a nebula. The result is truly enchanting.