Generally speaking, it’s easy to tell roughly when a De Bethune watch was released because the watches are all numbered. The first watch they released was the DB1 in 2002. The next was the DB2, and so on they just kept incrementing numbers. There are exceptions to this where they’ve gone out of numeric order, but it’s a good rule of thumb. The other exceptions are for pieces like this watch, the DBS. The DBS was debuted by De Bethune in 2005 for the very first Only Watch auction, and it was one of their first watches that didn’t follow the numeric naming convention. That’s a sign that this is a special watch.
The DBS introduced a variety of stylistic elements that would become signatures for De Bethune such as the horseshoe case shape and the famous 3D moonphase complication.
The horseshoe case shape is really interesting. All De Bethune watches are engineered at an extremely high level. As a result, this watch needs 43mm to pack in all the goodness. Now 43mm sounds like a large watch, but because of this unique horseshoe case shape, it wears MUCH smaller…so much smaller, that it can be worn on even the smallest of wrists. The reason is the lugs. The bottom lugs are the signature De Bethune bullet lugs and they use a curved springbar. As a result, the effective lug length is quite short. The top lugs don’t even exist at all. Instead there is a hinge that’s connected to the back of the watch, so the effective lug length is absolutely zero. It’s a novel solution for being able to get the benefit of a large movement (robustness, precision, etc), while keeping it quite wearable at the same time.
The 3D moonphase is wild. It’s very precise and only requires adjustment only once every 122 years. They make it by taking a half sphere of steel and a half sphere of palladium and combine them to form a full sphere. Both halves of the sphere are silvery-colored to start with, but then they apply heat. The metal properties of steel are such that it turns blue at a noticeably lower temperature than palladium, so the steel half of the sphere ends up turning blue while the palladium side is perfectly unchanged. The result is a perfect half-blue sphere. Here’s a cool video from De Bethune, where you can see the bluing process:
This watch has a mesmerizing quality to it. The sapphire crystal has a fantastic anti-reflective coating, so in most angles and lightings you can’t see the crystal, and there is nothing to get in the way of you appreciating the beauty of this dial which is simultaneously both functionally stark and possessing the signature De Bethune DNA.
De Bethune DBS
Case: White gold, 43mm
Movement: DB2115 manually-wound movement
Dial: Silver dial with blued hands and hour markers
Condition: Watch is in good condition
Includes: Box, certificate, and manual. See photos for more details.
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.
The De Bethune DBS
The DBS was the first watch by De Bethune to have their now signature 3D moonphase complication. They make it by taking a half sphere of steel and a half sphere of palladium and combining them to form a full sphere. Both halves of the sphere are silvery-colored to start with, but then they apply heat. The metal properties of steel are such that it turns blue at a noticeably lower temperature than palladium, so the steel half of the sphere ends up turning blue while the palladium side is perfectly unchanged. The result is a perfect half-blue sphere. Such is the level of detail that exemplifies De Bethune. Click to take a closer look at this piece!