The name of De Bethune’s Steel Wheels was inspired by the name of the Rolling Stones’ comeback album, but the newest horological Steel Wheel is not about comebacks but about the brand segueing in a very De Bethune fashion. It is also about another watch marking a decade of the DB28 this year.
The De Bethune moon is one of its most popular features, but it is replaced here by a tourbillon with a cage weighing a feather-light 0.18g which rotates every thirty seconds (which they have been using since 2008). The new DB28 Steel Wheels Sapphire Tourbillon comes in a limited edition of ten pieces, and the highlight is not the tourbillon but that the famous delta bridge and the two barrel covers are made from sapphire – blue for the bridge, and clear for the barrel covers.
The use of sapphire for watch cases has become a bit of a niche ‘thing’, but what De Bethune have done here is much more unusual. To use blue is fitting, but to manage to get it to that blue which is associated with them is what really makes this special. Ever present behind the scenes at De Bethune since it was founded, Denis Flageollet designed the sapphire components, which are laser cut to specifications after which they are encircled polished titanium. The thicknesses of the sapphire crystal varies, with that of the bridge 1mm thick and for the barrel covers, 0.3mm thick. Thin they may be, but they are nonetheless created to be rigid enough to withstand the ‘wrist shocks’ of everyday wear.
The DB28 Steel Wheels Sapphire Tourbillon comes in a 43mm sized (9.8mm thick) polished grade 5 titanium case which features the new lugs mentioned in my earlier post about the first group of anniversary DB28s. The watch has four main parts – the stainless steel barrel, a titanium insert, an inner component that is made from matte titanium, and a polished titanium outer component.
Powering this new model is the manually-wound Calibre DB2019V which beats at 36,000 VPH and has a power reserve of five days. It has a titanium balance wheel with white gold inserts, the De Bethune balance-spring with flat terminal curve (2006 patent), and a silicon escape wheel.
Coming on an alligator strap with a titanium buckle, it is limited to ten pieces and the price is TBC, but contact your nearest authorised dealer if you are interested.
[Photo credit: De Bethune]