The alliance of sapphire transparency, integrated into the movement, with the famous De Bethune tourbillon, the lightest ever made.
2020: Year of celebration of the DB28's 10th anniversary.
When the first DB28 was launched in 2010, De Bethune's idea was to present a timepiece with an identity of its own and a resolutely futuristic vision of the art of watchmaking. The design naturally follows through in the spirit of the Manufacture’s creations. The distinctive shape of the case and the crown at 12 o'clock, inspired by pocket watches, are characteristic features of the contemporary aestheticism specific to De Bethune.
The DB28 Steel Wheels came to be in 2018, under the sign of transparency and light, with the idea of opening the dial to reveal the contemporary architecture of its movement. Recognizable by its delta-shaped bridge – a De Bethune hallmark – and its moon at 6 o'clock, the DB28 Steel Wheels fascinates with a multitude of different forms – hemispherical, concave, spherical – for an architecturally dynamic result.
August 2020: Creation of the DB28 Steel Wheels Sapphire Tourbillon
Most often used in the production of watch cases, sapphire crystal takes on a new role for De Bethune. Here, it finds a new vocation in the form of the signature delta-shaped bridge and the cover for each of the two barrels. Blue for the bridge, clear for the barrel covers, these elements are integrated into the movement, letting light in to play and offer new reflections – and allow the eyes to literally plunge into the mechanism.
Each sapphire crystal component is encircled in polished titanium.
Always in the spirit of taking things further, as far as possible, Denis Flageollet designed the sapphire glass components, cutting them by laser with utmost precision so they fit in perfectly with the forms, rises, angles, the teeth – the bridge as well as the barrel covers – all perfectly adjusted like lace of sapphire crystal. To this is added a ring of polished titanium to circle each barrel cover. The sight of the delta bridge and two barrel covers in sapphire crystal is something never seen before, along with the cut of the glass, underscored on its periphery by the polished metallic grey line, accentuating a resolutely contemporary aesthetic.
Handcrafted hands by De Bethune
De Bethune has always crafted its watch hands in-house, by hand, in the workshop in l’Auberson. The DB28 Steel Wheels Sapphire Tourbillon thus comes with a particularly finely worked hour hand. It consists of 4 distinct elements: the barrel made of steel for technical reasons, a titanium insert, an inner component of matt titanium, and a polished titanium outer component. Each component is worked differently. The result is unique.
The tourbillon according to De Bethune: Why so small, so light, so fast?
In the vast array of complications and functions, of horological disciplines in which De Bethune has become a virtuoso, the tourbillon often played a leading role. The DB28 Steel Wheels took a step further towards sophistication and supreme refinement with its moon, and today this gives way to a tourbillon featuring an extraordinarily lightweight cage (0.18 grams, the lightest ever created). Rotating on itself every thirty seconds, it comprises a total of 63 components (the lightest of which weighs less than 0.0001 grams!). It is thus, so small, so light, so fast, that De Bethune’s tourbillon simply fulfils its function more ably for today's watches.
Highly refined finishes, the quintessence of fine craftsmanship
The Métiers d’Art – artisan crafts – as understood and lived by De Bethune are a vibrant tribute to what is uniquely human. Among the various hand-made decorations specific to De Bethune's movements, the mirror-polishing of the titanium pieces offers an astonishing play with light. The surfaces of the components are finished to perfectly reflect ambient light. The metal surface is patiently polished until it becomes a true mirror. It can take many days of polishing individual components to achieve this result.
And unparalleled comfort thanks to its floating lugs, kept to an intermediate size on this watch.
The DB28 Steel Wheels Sapphire Tourbillon features a polished grade 5 titanium case, mounted on the new floating lugs unveiled this year. Entirely redesigned, harmonized and adapted to the spirit of the watch, they are tipped by the famous ‘bullets,’ more prominent here, reminiscent of the spirit of the first De Bethune collections. The finishing touch: an alligator strap with a titanium buckle, which also contributes to the practicality and everyday wearability of this very special timepiece.
Faithful to the DNA of the ‘Maison’ nestled in Sainte Croix in the Swiss Jura mountains, the DB28 Steel Wheels Sapphire Tourbillon ably perpetuates the heritage of its predecessors: perfect balance, contemporary and bold aesthetics at the service of exceptional mechanics.
A limited edition of only 10 pieces.