Within eleven short years, two watchmaking devotees have managed to build what will be seen in history as the basis of 21st century horology. When Denis Flageollet (who comes from a lineage of watchmakers) joined forces with David Zanetta (a passionate collector with an eye for timepieces, history, and art) in 2002 to form De Bethune, they both shared the same vision of the future’s watchmaking.
With eleven in-house calibers and nine registered patents, De Bethune received massive recognition from its counterparts in November 2011. It was awarded the desired Golden Hand or “Aiguille d’Or” – the most coveted title – subsequently honoring its remarkable approach at the very juncture of science and art.
Below are the top ten De Bethune watches of all time.
1. DB28 Black matte – $95,000
At first sight, the DB28 looks a little stealthy. Come to think of it, the watch is actually quite stealthy. The only thing this black wrist watch has in common with the standard watches is the round case and the minute and central hour hand for indicating time. The round case is supported by “floating lugs” but the watch does not have any dial. Instead, there is a chapter ring in the area where the dial would be located. Integrated within the chapter ring at the 6 o’clock mark is a circular moon phase indicator. The movement’s bridges can be seen at the center – blackened and decorated with a full mirror-polished titanium bridge/plate and Cote de Bethune striping.
2. DB25 LT Tourbillon – $229,000
De Bethune draws inspiration from horological and artistic culture as well as centuries of history to create state of the art timepieces that combine technical and aesthetic aspects. This inspiration is what led to the creation of the DB25, featuring a 44mm diameter drum-shaped case established on a fleet of superposed rings of different sizes. The lugs are distinctly light, decorated with a cone-like motif, and come in a sloping style that emphasizes the roundness of the item and ensures it fits perfectly on the wrist.
3. Le IXème inframonde Maya – $100,000
This gorgeous masterpiece was a result of the need to portray humankind’s epic adventure through its numerous cultures. Michèle Rothen hand-engraved the solid gold dial of these watches, which were further improved by thirty one flame-blued steel inserts. The inner ring displays the sacred objects, animals, and twenty glyphs of divinities representing the different calendar days, while the hour circle contains the Mayan numbering system numerals.
4. DB28 Edition Spéciale – $92,000
The DB28 special edition was an improvement of the award winning DB28 model. The previous model’s characteristic aesthetic was enhanced by a blackened steel & platinum moon, zirconium floating lugs, and a finished steel skeletonized hour circle. The recognizable shape of the titanium case comes with an exhibition back showcasing a finely adorned movement enhanced by a gold hand and gold wheels. These exceptional watches feature a unique style where the case’s slenderness, handcrafted finishes, and taut lines blend with the technical innovations to produce a contemporary expression of De Bethune’s horological art.
5. DB25 QP – $141,000
The DB25 QP features a round case with a 44mm diameter and contains slim, resolutely classic lines lightly enhanced by the deep lugs synonymous with the DB25 collection. It has a silver-toned dial with twelve radiating sectors accentuating readability. There is a blue steel and titanium sphere at the 12 o’clock position sitting over a star-studded sky. At the 6 o’clock mark, the date is indicated on a sub-dial, while the 3 and 9 o’clock positions accommodate the month and day of the week apertures respectively. This timepiece uses an automatic mechanical caliber, benefiting from the newest technology and conspicuously including a platinum/titanium balance, a triple shock absorbing system, a double self-regulating barrel, and a perpetual calendar.
6. DB25 s Joaillerie – $229,000
This creation is unique due to the way light moves across the complex dial architecture and materials. The dull gleam of blued and hand-polished titanium, the silent glamor of the blue curved steel hands, and the twinkling sparkle of the diamond and white gold stars… the alternative curves, which are concave at the center and convex on the exterior, reveal the depth of the star-studded sky. At the 12 o’clock mark, there is a spherical moon adorned with diamonds and sapphires, producing an exceptional moon phase display.
7. DB29 Maxichrono Tourbillon – $307,000
With 5 centrally-mounted hands showing time and a user-friendly twenty four hour chronograph, this watch is truly a fantastic oddity. There is a lot happening below its gorgeous surface. It has a width of 46mm and cone-shaped lugs. It also features a large, distinctive case and a mono-pusher chronograph control, which means that the watch is controlled entirely through the crown at 3. There’s a small button under the crown that opens the back pocket-watch-like door covering the watch’s case back. it has a seamless rear panel, with no text or labels.
8. DB16 Tourbillon Regulator – $40,000
In a nutshell, the DB16 features a power reserve indicator, moon phase indicator, perpetual calendar, and a dead beat seconds tourbillon. It also comes with some convenient features that are quite difficult to find. It is worth noting the movement’s indicators. Every phase of the moon has its own precise setting. These 0 to 29.5-day scales are rare to find. In most cases, you have to count the clicks and use your eyes to determine when it is full moon. The display itself functions on a tiny rotating metal orb, while the back of the watch has a small power-reserve indicator. Finally, the region around the tourbillon is integrated with a seconds scale that helps to analyze its motion more accurately.
9. DB27 Titan Hawk – $37,000
Crafted from the same sculptural attributes associated with De Bethune, this timepiece comes with a lot of detail to take in. The titanium case, which is 43mm in diameter, is located within the floating lug system noticeable in other models. At the 12 o’clock position is the crown, which is sliding away thanks to a silicone-escape wheel. You can view the whole dance via a porthole incorporated into the rear side of the Titan Hawk.
10. Dream Watch 5 – $169,000
Judging by the creators behind the DW5, it was obvious that design would take precedence in this De Bethune masterpiece. This is demonstrated by the diminished space set aside for the display of the time telling dials. The case, which is 39mm by 49mm, is pared down, has a cambered spaceship-style design that brings out its characteristic depth effects. At the 3 o’clock position, the crown is adorned by a cabochon-derived ruby, while the case-back is engraved with Flageollet and Zanetta’s signatures.