De Bethune is a small brand that has made a big name for itself — especially among in-the-know collectors — with its space-age style and top-tier watchmaking solutions. The DB28 Steel Wheels Sapphire Tourbillon with its sheer name implies we are about to witness something truly exceptional and indeed, the watch delivers on that promise.
Ten years ago, upon the launch of the first DB28, De Bethune’s goal was to present a truly futuristic take on haute horlogerie — that’s fancy-talk for fine watchmaking. Characterized by a delta-shaped bridge, the sort of shape one might associate with prototype aircraft and spaceships in the sci-fi genre, the DB28 has been frequently referred to as a “spaceship on the wrist.” This bridge is now meticulously crafted from blue sapphire crystal, a semi-transparent material that is notoriously difficult to machine. As hard and scratch-resistant it may be, it is prone to cracking when being machined, sending the workpiece not to space but rather straight to the bin.
One last mind-bending fact about the DB28: the tourbillon, the timekeeping organ you see where the 6 o’clock index lives on regular watches, is composed of 63 components and in total weighs just 0.18 grams. The lightest part in that assembly weighs 0.0001 grams.
One gratis fact? This watch costs 195,000 Swiss francs.
Words: David B.
Photos: De Bethune