De Bethune was founded in 2002 by David Zanetta and Denis Flageollet. Zanetta brought his perspective as a passionate enthusiast of history and a collector of art and watches. Flageollet brought an immense talent as a 4th generation watchmaker. Flageollet’s skill is so highly regarded that when Francois-Paul Journe decided to form the firm THA as an atelier to make high-end movements behind the scenes for top brands, Flageollet and Vianney Halter were the first people he asked to work with him!
Zanetta and Flageollet shared a vision to create a company that combines time-honored skills with cutting edge engineering to create watches of, as the company describes it “…extreme chronometric precision. The quest for fine craftsmanship pushed to its very limits, to the point where aesthetic and technical aspects meet and merge, where form marries function in the pursuit of perfection.” And De Bethune has been quite successful in carrying out that mission of innovation in horology. In just the first 11 years of the company, their work resulted in 9 patents and 13 different movements.
De Bethune is a brand that has gained devoted followers, and yet has generated very little buzz, despite its fans’ adulation and occasional attention from Prize juries. For example, the Grand Prix of Horology in Geneva (GPHG) has been going on for 15 years (since 2001), and in that time De Bethune has won 2 awards, including being one of only 10 companies have won the Grand Prize at GPHG. Only 4 Independent Watch companies have managed that feat: Greubel Forsey, F.P. Journe, Richard Mille, and De Bethune.