Because of their small size, De Bethune are not a brand that has a lot of releases every year, but when they do decide to release something radically new, it’s always worth sitting up and taking notice, like the remarkable and stunning Meteorite Dream Watch released earlier this year.
Another 2016 release is their first ever world timer watch, called the DB25 World Traveller.
An unusual looking worldtimer, it features a second time zone and world time indicator expressed in the most De Bethune of ways, but you will also notice that it doesn’t have the traditional twenty-four time zones but only fifteen, including our own Sydney.
The DB25 World Traveller is all about the concentric arrangement of the functions. World times are on a disc at the centre of the dial (set using an almond-shaped pusher at 8 o’clock), encircled by a graduated channel in which a moving mirror-polished microsphere indicates the reference/ home time, which is in a 24-hour format. It is set using the crown, in one hour jumps, and can be set clockwise or anti-clockwise.
The microsphere is a De Bethune speciality, with two halves, one in rose gold and the other in De Bethune blue, that also indicate day/ night, changing from blue to rose gold when when passing from 0559 to 0600 and then back to blue when passing from 1759 to 1800.
Local time is displayed on the hour circle, indicated by the blue leaf hands, and the date indicator is on on the final exterior circle, a champagne-coloured flange, via a mirror-polished white gold jumping pointer that is adjusted by a corrector at 10 o’clock. The date is tied with local time only in the clockwise direction
The minute hand remains matched to the reference hour, while the hours hand is controlled by the crown pulled out to the second notch, moving in hourly jumps.
To summarise the watch’s operation, the crown has three positions : winding, GMT, and time setting, with a safe bi-directional system in place. There is a pusher for the cities at 8 o’clock, and a corrector for the date indicator.
Inside the DB25 World Traveller is powered by the manual winding Calibre DB2547 which is also, impressively, the 25th calibre designed and made in-house by De Bethune. The famous ‘Star Trek’ -like delta bridge is curved mirror-polished and embellished with a ‘Côtes De Bethune’ decoration, produced using the Microlight micrometric engraving technique developed by De Bethune. The regulator is equipped with a new titanium balance wheel with white gold inserts in its rim, developed to neutralise temperature variations. The blued triple paracute shock-absoring system is there as is the balance spring with flat terminal curve.
As with all of De Bethune’s watches the back, with its mirror-polishing, is arresting to look at. Their signature blue again makes an appearance, on the bridge and rim of the balance wheel. You will also notice the outer ring decorated with grained Microlight and perforated by oblong apertures.
The case is 18 carat white gold and measures 45mm x 13.7mm. With those lugs it sits comfortably, but it is not a thin watch due to the space necessarily taken up by the movement, and is best tried first.
A worldtimer unlike others, the choice of cities perhaps means that it will appeal most to those who cities are represente. It is a really interesting watch showing off De Bethune’s technical side and well worth having a play around with for lovers of travel watches. The price for the De Bethune DB25 World Traveller is 150,000 CHF.