HANDS-ON : De Bethune DB28 Yellow Tones

The Denis Flageollet blue for which De Bethune has become known and which, arguably, is the best ‘brand blue’ around, has become the company’s distinctive signature to the point where a completely yellow watch took me some time to get my head around. Yes this is the latest in their exploration of what they can do with heat treatment of steel or titanium, and as that it makes perfect sense, but a watch totally in this colour (as opposed to merely featuring it)?

Well I finally got to put my uncertainty to the test.

As De Bethune put it, after having explored the “cool colour of blue”, they wanted to try a ‘warm colour’ but in their own way, and with their own yellow – by thermal oxidation of grade 5 titanium to tint its surface, and applying this treatment not just to the case but also to the movement, they came up with the DB28YT.

The case is 42.6mm of polished yellow polished Grade 5 titanium, with a thickness of 9.30mm. The crown is at 3 o’clock. The famed De Bethune floating lugs have been redesigned and shortened (in fact, there are now three different lug lengths at the brand).

The yellow dial of this new piece features a circular grained hour ring with spherical titanium hour markers in black mirror-polished steel and a (browned) yellow polished titanium circle. The De Bethune spherical moon-phase at 6 o’clock is in palladium and flame-browned steel and surrounded by a bezel of polished yellow titanium. The hour and minute hands are skeletonised browned-yellowed steel.

Beneath the screw-down titanium case back is the manual-wind Calibre DB 2115V4 that beats at 28,800VPH and has a power reserve of six days. Comprising of 275 parts, it features a yellow polished grade 5 titanium plate cover, ‘Côtes De Bethune’ decoration in yellow titanium, and a power reserve indicator in the browned steel. The rhodium power reserve indicator is on a ring that has circular graining and engraving.

The movement features a titanium balance wheel with white gold inserts, a balance spring with a flat terminal curve, and the usual De Bethune triple ‘pare-chute’ shock absorption system developed by them in 2005.

Strap wise it’s alligator on a brown buckle with a yellow pin buckle in polished grade 5 titanium.

A ‘yellow gold’ looking watch that isn’t yellow gold and has the weight and other advantages of titanium and pushes boundaries with heat treatment of different metals. There is little doubt that is an interesting watch and that the ability to achieve not just this yellow but with the same level of colour consistency across a watch as they perfected with blue, is noteworthy. Whether this particular watch is ‘too yellow’ (and I admit to still being in this camp even after having handled it) is going to be a matter of personal preference, but it certainly shows off what De Bethune have managed to achieve.

We’ve mentioned more than once so far this year how blue has been a constant refrain in many 2019 releases, so given that De Bethune has always followed their own path, it makes a certain degree of sense that probably unknowingly, they chose this year to promote something in a completely different colour.

Coming in a limited edition of 25 pieces, the RRP is CHF 102,000 (including tax).


[My thanks to The Hour Glass Australia (an authorised dealer for De Bethune), at which I took these photos during the GPHG 2019 travelling exhibition]

Categories: Baselworld 2019, De Bethune, Limited Editions, Sydney, Watch materials, Watch Profile, watches

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