Sunday, April 19, 2015

De Bethune - Excellence From Inception

Before De Bethune, there was De Bethune. And during the early days, De Bethune used third party movements before developing and releasing the DB15.

Right off the bat, the folks at De Bethune understood the philosophy of quality. What makes a timepiece desirable? Well as far as I know, they feel a timepiece has to be accurate and the finishing top notch. At first glance, one will know the work done and the class of a well finished timepiece. Such is the earlier series of DB timepieces. I was lucky to see the original DB8 mono pusher chronograph belonging to a friend and I fell in love with the earlier DB series. And it is a lot more within budget too!
 photo DeBethuneDB8Chrono09_zps2f0f7106.jpg

The beautifully executed guilloché dials of the earlier DBs are just absolutely mesmerising. The DB8 comes with a third party movement and a closed case back. I understand the movement was from the days when Denis Flageollet was at Techniques Horlogerès Appliquées (THA).
 photo DeBethuneDB8Chrono08_zps84352a87.jpg

I had asked Alessandro Zanetta (Marketing Director of DB) why the earlier pieces were closed case back and he had said that this was probably because they were third party movements and the only time De Bethune will come with a see-through case back is when they had developed their own in-house movement. Kudos to the folks at De Bethune. Slight digression… Another beautiful look at the guilloché dial of the DB8. Stunning!
 photo DeBethuneDB8Chrono07_zps4478a7c9.jpg

So why 45 minute counter and not a full 60 minutes? Well some speculate that Denis is a big soccer fan so the 45 minute counter is for one half of a soccer match. True?
 photo DeBethuneDB8Chrono06_zpse2013bf7.jpg

Even in the early years, the signature tear-drop lugs were already a design feature. And the blued hands are so well made they are to-die-for. The blue hue complements the arabic numerals.
 photo DeBethuneDB8Chrono05_zps1e593f99.jpg

So impressed I was with the DB8, I started searching for an early model DB. And as luck would have it, I managed to snag a DB9 which is the Power Reserve. Seen here beside the DB8.
 photo DeBethuneDB8Chrono03_zps602249f2.jpg

As I understand it, the DB9 comes with another third party movement - the Jaquet J4000 movement with a 7 days power reserve (168 hours) and a power reserve display. De Bethune DB9 comes with a white gold polished moon on a blue disk which moves from the maximum (right side) to the minimum power reserve. I originally thought the moon was a moon phase but quickly learnt that is it De Bethune’s way of displaying the power reserve - novel!
 photo DeBethuneDB901_zps5ed827ea.jpg

This watch is encased in a 42mm white gold case and the guilloché dial is again very well made. A simple two handed manual winding timepiece.
 photo DeBethuneDB913_zps86912ea9.jpg
 photo DeBethuneDB907_zps46df7b87.jpg

Again, the blued hands are outstanding and the dial work is flawless. The large dial is a gold silver plated dial with blue arabic numerals.
 photo DeBethuneDB903_zps092fd059.jpg

According to their marketing materials, the modified movement is decorated with the Cotes de Geneve pattern and is hand polished. I trust they do good work there looking at their in-house pieces. They have inserted an up and down mechanism to the base calibre for the power reserve indication. The crown is octagonal in shape. Their attention to detail is the hallmark of a De Bethune timepiece.
 photo DeBethuneDB912_zpsddcd5ad0.jpg

There is something about the way the folks at DB does the blue - I simply love the blue hue they are able to develop. The DB9 is my first De Bethune but I hope it will not be my last. So the search continues for more De Bethune timepieces that are within reach.