This year, was the first year that the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie invited some of the independent brands into the 26th edition of the SIHH 2016 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie Genève. In a new section named the 'Carré des Horlogers', nine top independent brands —artisan-creators as referred to by the SIHH— had the opportunity to show their novelties for the very first time at the Salon. One of these nine independent brands was De Bethune —a brand that is known for their ultra exclusive creations and their signature De Bethune balance spring with flat terminal curve.
This year at the SIHH 2016, De Bethune hit a homerun with the unveiling of their first world timer named De Bethune DB25 World Traveller. This worldtimer is a one-of-a-kind worldtimer featuring a second time zone and world time expressed with a very mysterious display. The De Bethune DB25 World Traveler was designed in a way where simplicity rules, but technical horological feat is still present. Unlike most worldtimers, the De Bethune DB25 World Traveler doesn't feature the traditional 24 time zones but only 15 of them. Of course the most meaningful cities of the world and those very relevant to De Bethune's client base are there. Therefore, we are not surprised to see cities like Mexico, Buenos Aires, Dubai and Mumbai on it.
Visually, the refinement of the DB25 World Traveler lies in the concentric arrangement
of the functions. World times appear on a disc at the center of the dial, encircled by a
graduated channel in which a moving mirror polished micro-sphere indicates the home time.
This micro-sphere —a signature of De Bethune since their invention of the three-dimensional moon-phase—, has two halves —one in rose gold and the one in the De Bethune signature blued— to serve as a day and night indicator.
This micro-sphere reverses positions turning from rose gold to blue when passing from 5:59pm to 6pm and then back to rose gold when passing from 5:59am to 6 am.
The local time is displayed in the hour circle and the date on the champagne-tone flange via a white gold pointer indicator.
The new SIHH 2016 De Bethune DB25 World Traveller is powered by 25th in-house calibre ever developed by De Bethune. This manual wound calibre DB2547 is composed of 430 parts and 38 jewels, provides a power reserve of five days while beating at a frequency of 28,800 vph, thanks to its self-regulating twin barrel. The decoration of the movement is always exceptional when it comes to De Bethune, and for the very first time, the central delta bridge is embellished with a 'Côtes De Bethune' decoration in the center.
Additionally, the regulator is equipped with a new titanium balance wheel with white gold inserts, developed particularly for optimal management of temperature variations. The aerodynamic shape was also designed to diminish air resistance. True to form, it guarantees perfect balance through all stages from manufacture to assembly. Silicon was chosen for the escapement wheel, due to its light weight and in order to increase the power of the calibre. As for the regulator, it is completely maintained by a triple pare-chute shock-absorbing system exclusive to De Bethune. The system combines a titanium bridge that integrates two jewels that act as support columns on each side. A leaf spring system supported by the jewels holds the system in place. The partially visible twin barrels accumulate five days of power reserve through a patented self-regulating power mechanism.
The new De Bethune DB25 World Traveler transforms the way that a second time zone can be displayed along with a world time indicator. True to the De Bethune approach that focuses first and foremost on the reason behind any watchmaking function, David Zanetta and Denis Flageollet have aimed to make the display correspond ideally to the traveler's needs. They focused their research on readability and comfort, both in wearing the watch and in manipulating its settings. Starting in the center, the dial indicates world time, which is set using an almond-shaped pusher positioned at 9 o'clock. The generous 45 mm diameter 18K white gold case is mirror polished throughout and the case stands above the wrist, like an instrument, with open lugs attached to the case back. This frees up the middle so that it is accessible for easy adjustment. The crown is an essential component of the De Bethune DB25 World Traveler; designed to be thin but wide and slightly raised for greater ease in handling. It moves on three notches that are distinguished from one another by their markings.
This flexible and precise system moves the city display disc, which is decorated with concentric microlight, by one-hour clockwise jumps. The first time zone, or reference time zone, is displayed with 24-hour markers and indicated with a mysterious display by the position of the microsphere, which appears to float weightlessly in its channel. Using the crown, it can be set in both directions —clockwise or counterclockwise. At 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., the crown pivots on itself to present a pink gold face for daytime, or a back side in blued steel for the night. Local time, or the second time zone, is indicated by the blued leaf-shaped hands, whose curve matches the relief of the dial. The minutes hand remains naturally coordinated with the reference hour, while the hours hand is controlled by the crown pulled out to the second notch. The hours hand moves forward and back by direct jumps of precisely one hour. The day indication is the last circle on this display, with a design that evokes the solar system. The day is coordinated with local time only in the clockwise direction, and indicated by a jumping pointer that is adjusted by the corrector situated at 10 o'clock, to the left of the almond-shaped pusher on the case band.
The De Bethune DB25 World Traveller is equipped with an extra-supple brown alligator strap with pin buckle in white gold.
On the wrist, the watch wears slightly bigger than its actual size and high on the wrist due to its thick case designed to make enough room for such a highly complicated movement. The watch is overall very nice and the contrast between the silver-tone and champagne-tone rings on the dial, make for a very elegant and unique look. The new De Bethune DB25 World Traveller is exclusively available in a limited edition of 12 pieces.
Sticker Price $150,000 USD. For more info on De Bethune click here.