De Bethune in Australia

De Bethune

Recently I had the opportunity to meet David and Alessandro Zanetta and to have my first ‘in the metal’ experience with De Bethune watches, ranging from the DB25S constellations to the recent DB27 Titan Hawk and a remarkable blued DB28. Here partly for work and partly on holiday, they were travelling with an extraordinarily large selection which I will share with you via photos and some general impressions and thoughts from the all-too-brief time spent with them.

There are watches that sneak up on you and there are watches that hit you in a visceral way as soon as you see them. For me, during this first hands-on experience with De Bethune watches, they fell into the latter category. I was drawn to some more than others, but they all grabbed my attention very immediately, and not because of their distinctiveness, given that some are quite discreet, but because anyone who looks at these without having the faintest notion about the brand, about watches, will be struck by the finishing of these pieces.

Left : DB25LRS1V1

Right : DB25QPRS1 perpetual calendar with spherical moon-phase and leap-year indicator at 12 o’clock.

As a geeky friend puts it, the ‘Star Trek’ ‘Starfleet Command’ influence

DB28TIS8 Special Edition – LE of 50

This was created to celebrate the DB28 winning the Aiguille d’Or in November 2011 at the Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix.

DB28T – an incredibly light titanium case and floating lugs. 0.18 gram silicon/ titanium tourbillon with blued titanium


Which were my favourites? The ones to which I wanted to go back to repeatedly were those with the larger articulated lugs because they were so very comfortable to wear), and I particularly like the relatively simple aesthetics of theTitan Hawk with its distinctive triangular hand, and the DB28T.


The blue starry skies of the DB25S are enchanting, and you can have the dials personalised to a constellation that is meaningful to you as well as the regular production sky, which is as it was when De Bethune was founded. The is a popular model and a very elegant watch, but it was the more bold designs that I was most taken by.

Some more wristshots, so you can see how the different lugs sit.

DB27 Titan Hawk

Many thanks to David and Alessandro Zanetta and De Bethune’s (newly) exclusive Australian AD The Hour Glass for letting me spend time with their remarkable watches, and keep an eye out on Horologium for my interview with David Zanetta.

Categories: De Bethune, Independent brands, Limited Editions, watches

10 replies

  1. *grabs tissue to wipe drool of tablet*
    This is why I come to Horologium. Thank you for another great post. Nice wristshots, they look so much better/more natural than advertising-photography. Blued titanium? I learn something new everyday. You’ve truly been in the presence of greatness. Looking forward to the interview.


    • Thanks, Del. Have you had much of a chance to look at DBs?


      • Unfortunately not, nearest retailers are over 200 km away in either Germany or Belgium, none overhere. Maybe Basel 2013, I’ll say I’m a contributor to an Australian watchblog and in need of some wristshots 🙂 While studying escapements I learned of their resonique principle and I really appreciate their sharing of knowledge in order to advance horology approach instead of the slowing progress down with patents route. Style wise they are on the edge of what I can see myself wearing…maybe even a little bit beyond. But they are just beautifully crafted.


      • I believe that you can request a tour of their Manufacture, if you are even in the area. Might be worth considering for a future holiday for you…


  2. This is a brand which is already widely recognised, of course, but which (surely!) will gain even wider recognition in years to come. It will be a difficult line for them to walk in order to evolve the models without succumbing to the temptation to become even more ‘out there’ – after all, they have given us some wonderfully classical pieces, and then given those classical pieces just enough of a modern take to make them truly tempting. They need to stay within the ballpark – we already have one or two ‘imagineers’ of futuristic space machines, and the DB watches, their finish, their attention to detail, deserve broader appreciation than that particular niche can provide.

    How good are they? If the watch gods were to allow only one perp cal in the watch box, their DB25 would be it. You were very lucky to have hands-on time with so many pieces – thanks for the shots.



    • As always, you say it better than I could. I was very fortunate to be able to see so many. I am wondering how widely recognised they are in Australia, but having a presence here will obviously make a difference. I suspect that for some, there’s a general awareness but not much more than that.


  3. they are so beautiful. sigh. thank you AP.


  4. Stunning pieces indeed. Totally agree with pplater! My God, you got to handle all of those (*envy*) – if I were you I wouldn’t wash my hand/wrist for the next week 😀 Thanks for the great post!


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