I was quite astonished by the presence of De Bethune at Basel World, they launched plenty novelties during the WonderWeek of Geneva and thus I supposed that De Bethune was simply going to represent the same timepieces…
Anyway, I didn’t mean to be mean, once again they just surprised me. Overall one could expect DB28Tourbillon, even the DB25QP, but the DBM was acomplete breath-taker.
Mr. Pons announced in Business Montres, that they were preparing a hybrid object touching as well other sphere than a watchmaking field…
I imagined something “very watchmaking”, a navy chrono (1:1), a planetarium, a completely traditional object, on the contrary, I found my self vis-a-vis a hybrid object, addressing another audience,much more than the DB10 new edition. De Bethune tries to conquer customers which forsook wristwatches, I’ll come back to it later on. Above all, the most beautiful watch of the entire exhibition, the DB28T, when I say the most beautiful watch of the exhibition, I say it considering all objective points, all direct competitors of DB made the same remark (nevertheless, I quote under cover of anonymity) «GROOOOAAAAANNNN».
Logically, to complete the line DB28, De Bethune presents a new variation of the DB28, which embodies all qualities of the dream Watch One, Dream Watch Toubillon and the one of DB28. In detail, I am talking about the dial bridges of Dream Watch One, namely the fabulous steel bridges blackened by oxidation, further the case of the DB28, and obviously the tourbillon of Dream Watch Tourbillon.
It is the model, which I dreamt to see, it’s been 18 months, during the Wonder Week 2010, and while taking photos of Dream Watch One and the DB26, almost 18 months after they have been launched…
The speed of creation and construction of this collection is impressive, as if De Bethune would have projected it in a large particle accelerator in CERN. In fact, one can witness the ultimate result (?), aesthetic and technical research proceeded by the duet Zanetta-Flageollet during 9 last years. I spoke about “total manufacture” in terms of De Bethune, and I found DB28T as an absolutely beautiful watch. In this sort of moment, I regret not having the talent of photographer Guy Lucas de Peslouan, having taken photographs before last day in a state of advanced physical decay, because the watch is splendid from every single angle, and deserves way more than my poor pics...
It is much more than a simple variation of the DB28, it is a perfection, an idealized version of a watch which was already astounding, the tourbillon 30 seconds includes De Bethune technologies, spiral silicon with terminal flat curve (understand not round), the platinum/silicon balance, here in an almost traditional form, however, the periphery is out of platinum, and center it out of silicon.
There are only slight differences compared to the DB28, but they completely change the whole watch. The dimensions of De Bethune on the bridge of principal dial leave place to blackened steel, the tourbillon replaces advantageously balance unit/moon phase, which creates almost a hypnotic effect, undoubtedly purpling (?) parts and with interesting asymmetry of its construction.
The watch has a terrible aspect, whereas the DB28 sound like an architectural work of art, in this case, in contrast, with ultra light aspect of the case, the dial with bestial aspect (that we can also find in case of DB24), with its mechanically furious side, so much it could remind engine of a car outgoing from Mad Max with its bridges of blackened steel and its vibrating tourbillon.
De Bethune declines the DB15QP in DB25QP in a more classical way, it takes again the case of the DB25, with the movement and the dial which equips the DB15 and in a modified version the DB26 (of which case evolved to the case of DB28, you are always there?), this watch also comes, logically, to complete the line of the DB25, nevertheless, the value added is small compared to the DB15. The rest of the watch is fabulously finished, thus from all points of view, this is one of the most beautiful QP of the watch industry.
Sometimes, I think that I am already in the process of out-of-dating, that I am completely out of nowadays, that I do not understand the object, that I was a devotee of the pocket watch 100 years ago, so much I didn't have still digest digest the machine, the thing, the cover of telephone, the object which upsets my codes.
The DBM is more than a green cover of a telephone. It is an attempt to put to the center of the personal accessories’ device the pocket watch. It is an attempt to make cohabit a pure object of collection with the object of pure consumers’ utility.
The main idea behind this project is the same one like the one that made generate the DB10, it should open relatively closed markets to the ultra-elitism of niche of De Bethune.
Whereas the DB10 was satisfied to propose De Bethune Low-Cost, out of noble metal, however without all the patents De Bethune (spiral curves by Flageollet, balance with double ballasted arms), a product intended to compete with the Americans 1921 and another Lange1, the DBM goes much, much further.
The project is about bringing back people who gave up the use of the wristwatch, by giving them possibility to equip their accessory of central communication, the GSM/UMTS. Huge project, I recognize the handwriting of Zanetta, (since the project of education and watchmaking absolutism of DB is under recognized by aficionados and collectors, Zanetta wants already to attack an immense mass of those, who gave up the wristwatch).
This object does not convince me, the realization is flawless, it is a large DB10 enchased in a superb case of I Phone, but that raises 3 questions:
The weight: the proto with I Phone weights approximately 300gr, against 100g for I Phone.
Theft/loss of telephone: in this case a disaster considering the price of the object.
Logistic problems to provide new cases (they will be changeable) considering the constant turnover of the mobile terminals, turn-over due to the programed obsolescence, a product strategy (ultra-polluting) proceed by Apple.
There are undoubtedly customers for this kind of object, that I would have seen more readily produced by Richard Mille, considering the potential customers for this kind of product it seems to be some fortunate happy-fews, quite far away from the traditional purchasers of De Bethune.
An astonishing product from all points of view, which could not be mentioned without the fact that it reminds a bit the telephone of Ulysses Nardin created for its join-venture between traditional watch industry and the hipe hi-tech communication.
For better illustration, on the wrist of an Asian:
Philosophically, one could regard that as a way of exploration of the futurism asserted by De Bethune, an attempt to come up with an object of tomorrow, and finally, in this point I find the interest in this object, in this always experimental vision that De Bethune confirms with each one of its creation.
Well with a solid collection, even more heavy patens (spiral-balance-escapement) present in almost all great manufactures, 3 lines of coherent and complete watches (sport, traditional, dressed aka "UFO"), beautiful and real manufacture, De Bethune could allow to reduce the speed and the rhythm of launching its new watch models, on the contrary, the movement accelerates. Acceleration and addition diversify through the DBM. One of the objects most iconic of the whole BaselWorld fair.
But obviously, what touches my heart is the DB28T, such a perfect beauty as well perfectly inaccessible (180K), unforgettable like a young love.
With this watch they confirm to produce the most beautiful watch of BaselWorld 2011. Considering that one buys watch before all for its aesthetics, this watch is not more than the pain-killer of the compliments.