There was a time when De Bethune was regarded by connoisseurs as one of the best-kept secrets of the watch world. Not anymore. Since its founding in 2002, De Bethune has risen in the ranks of haute horlogerie, winning just about every prize along the way, including the prestigious Aiguille d’Or, the top prize of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve. Founded by David Zanetta, a watch collector himself, and Denis Flageollet, a fourth-generation watchmaker, the company finds its name after the Chevalier de Bethune, the French nobleman who invented the escapement mechanism for watches and clocks in 1727.
Throughout its short, but significant history, the brand has brought to life significant creations that have included the Dream Watch I, the DB28 and the DB25. These pieces, as different as they may look, carry a common mandate set by Mr Zanetta, that a watch must speak of something other than time, transporting the wearer into a new dimension.
With that in mind, the recent unveiling of the DB25L Milky Way makes complete sense. De Bethune has a renowned love affair with celestial complications that dates back to the DB25T, which used the full width of the dial to illustrate the sheer vastness of space, rather than restricting the complication to a small section on the dial. We see this concept brought up again in the Milky Way, which features a flame-blued titanium disk, studded with little white gold spheres that serve to represent the stars, and decorated with gold flakes. The stunning dial is completed with a three-dimensional moon phase indicator manufactured from blued steel and palladium.
A little more about the famous De Bethune blue. It is a fair assessment to state that nobody does blue quite like De Bethune. As seen in the gorgeous ‘Kind of Blue’ Tourbillon (photo above), De Bethune has mastered the art of flame-blueing metals. Using an intensive heat and mirroring treatment, titanium transcends its ordinary hues and takes on a life of its own. On the Milky Way, this creates a spectacular setting for the galaxy, an iridescent night sky that changes just slightly based on the viewing angle. In the world of horology, our team believes that two of the best contemporary dial manufacturers are De Bethune and Mr F.P Journe.
44.6mm and set in a platinum case with skeletonized lugs, the Milky Way is truly a sight to behold, and one of the most gorgeous watches we have ever seen. With its caseband surrounded by no less than 66 baguette-cut diamonds and the watch itself powered by the in-house DB105v2 movement that features a six-day power reserve and the distinctive Star Trek-inspired architecture that De Bethune is known for, this watch has a value that transcends its price. But if you must know, the DB25L Milky Way is priced at SFr225,000 before taxes.