This year De Bethune is marking ten years since the launch of the first DB28 with three new pieces that are, as they say, familiar but different – the DB28XP, the DB28XP Starry Sky, and the DB28XP Tourbillon. What is perhaps most interesting about these is that the fundamental features of the DB28s which lie at the core of these new pieces still appear as fresh today as they did a decade ago. It is a testament to the extraordinary design philosophy behind De Bethune over this time that not only do they not seem date, but that they also still look new and contemporary. This includes the famous floating lugs, which made their debut in the DB28, which are still some of the most comfortable (and interesting) lugs in the business.
The new DB28XP has, unusually for De Bethune, an ‘ultra thin’ goal along with an ‘ultra light one’. The 43mm sized case is polished Grade 5 titanium with a thickness of 7.2mm and a water resistance of 30m. The lugs are polished titanium and the solid case back, the same. The case back will include be an engraved ring in blued circular satin-finished titanium.
The dial is titanium with a ‘microlight’ modern spin on traditional guilloche as its decoration. It has a polished titanium hours ring with polished titanium spherical hour-markers, and a satin-brushed titanium minutes ring. The hands are also polished titanium, with blue titanium inserts. In fact in looking at the three new models, one is reminded of the myriad of different De Bethune hands, as people can have quite strong preferences for such things both in terms of design and length. As well as the distinctive delta-shaped main plate, which remains clean and highly polished, being titanium, so too are the barrel bridge. In fact, as you can tell, it’s pretty much titanium all the way.
The manual-wind Calibre DB2115v6 is titanium and features a balance wheel that is visible through an opening at 6 o’clock. It also features small white gold inserts. The movement has the classic De Bethune patented balance spring with flat terminal curve, their triple pare-chute shock system, beats at 28,800 VPH, and has a power reserve of six days.
One key thing that has changed a bit is the relationship between the floating lugs and the case. The case’s band has been redesigned to be more curved and so it seems to be more ‘at one’ with the lugs, which have also undergone a redesign. Attached to them is an alligator strap with a Grade 5 titanium pin buckle.
Given that this is about marking a year, it is interesting to compare this new piece to their Dream Watch 1 from 2009 (click on the link for information, picture below).
For your 2020 piece of the dream, the RRP is CHF 72,000.
Next up is a new version of a crowd pleaser – the DB28XP Starry Sky. Again, this new model is in a mirror-polished titanium case with redesigned floating lugs, with the same size (43mm) and thickness (7.2mm) as the first watch. It has the same case front and back, with the same use of microlight decoration on titanium.
Inspired by the DB28 Skybridge, the De Bethune DB28XP Starry Sky has a circular satin-brushed blue dial bedecked with a constellation of white gold stars. As those who are familiar with De Bethune will know, you can select the constellation for your own dial. What is unusual for this piece is the polished pink gold hands. The dial has a silver coloured hour ring with transferred Arabic numerals, a satin-brushed titanium minutes ring that also has transferred markers, and the titanium dial features Microlight decoration. The dial opening that reveals the balance has a chamfered polished steel surround.
The movement to which it is attached is the manual-wind Calibre DB2115v7 which beats at 28,800 VPH and has a power reserve of six days. As expected, it has a titanium balance with white gold inserts, and the De Bethune balance spring with flat terminal curve,
It comes on an alligator strap with a Grade 5 titanium pin buckle and has an RRP of CHF 72,000.
Lastly is the new DB28XP Tourbillon which, rather unexpectedly, De Bethune say has been inspired by the DB 28 Digitale, although this is in terms of dial design rather than the method of reading the time.
As with the other two pieces, the case is polished Grade 5 Titanium, with a microlight case middle. However, it is 43mm with a thickness of 8.1mm. Functionally, it has the hours, minutes, and a ‘30 second’ indicator as a part of the tourbillon at 6 o’clock. The tourbillon itself is titanium, light (0.18g), and rotates every thirty seconds. It is encircled by a chamfered blued polished titanium rim.
The dial consists of a blued polished titanium hour ring with polished hour markers, circular satin-brushed titanium minute ring, and a silver hand guilloché barley-corn motif. These are the clear Digital nods.
The movement is the manual wind Calibre DB2009v4 which has a titanium balance with white gold inserts, the De Bethune balance spring with flat terminal curve, beats at 36,000 VPH, and has a power reserve of five days.
On the solid case back will be a nod to the Aiguille d’Or awarded by the GPHG in 2011 to the first DB28 in the form of a depiction of the planets over Geneva when the prize was presented on November 19th, 2011, along with an engraved ring in blued circular satin-finished titanium, for consistency with the other two anniversary pieces.
Coming on an alligator strap with a Grade 5 titanium pin buckle, the RRP of the DB28XP Tourbillon is CHF 180,000.
[Photo credit: De Bethune]