De Bethune refers to DB25 QP in its press release, as being, “imbued with poetry”. I can see little reason to argue with the beautiful shape, but is the word “poetry” applicable in this instance?
I often read press releases that accompany timepieces, primarily to appraise the specification of the model. I have honed my ability to discriminate between the marketing prose and the vital information necessary to complete my editorial.
In November 2012, I sat on the De Bethune stand at SalonQP, with my good friend, Frank Geelen of Monochrome, and admired the handsome De Bethune watches from L’Auberson, Vaud.
There were several models which elicited adoration in both of us. However, it was the DB25 QP which garnered my admiration with its stunningly beautiful form.
This watch is the antithesis of mass production. Small volumes of watches are made in the manufacture, utilising traditional craftsmanship. Yet, whilst the finishing may respectfully follow the conventions of haute horology, there is much innovation harnessed in these unique timepieces.
I have always craved a perpetual calendar. The complex movement results in a watch which only necessitates adjustment once every 100 years. But, De Bethune takes this to another level with a spherical moon-phase display featuring a “1 day in 122 years” level of accuracy. I read this claim with incredulity, “could this be correct?” However, this is De Bethune, a brand which has the renowned genius Denis Flageollet, leading the company, along with fellow board members David Zanetta and Pierre Jacques. Flageollet has repeatedly shown his peerless prowess at creating incredible timepieces.
Beyond the specification, the DB25 QP sat wonderfully on my wrist. It reminded me of visiting a friend’s house and whilst being seated, having their cat nuzzle in my lap. It enjoyed my company and purred as I stroked it. And, so it is for the DB25 QP. I could sense the watches contentment, as it happily resided on my wrist. It felt cruel to remove it from my body when it looked so at home. Yet, sadly we parted company. Thankfully, not before I had recorded details of its classic lines and occasional avant-garde flourishes of style.
This is a timepiece, De Bethune refers in its press release as being, “imbued with poetry”. I can see little reason to argue with the beautiful shape, but is the word “poetry” applicable in this instance? Let me return to this question later.
On first acquaintance, the feature that engaged the pupils of my adoring eyes, was the spherical moon-phase display located beneath noon. It has a wonderful three dimensional quality which beguiles.
The dial is beautifully detailed with a flinqué motif. It plays with light and shade bestowing interest and intrigue in equal measure.
Blue is the regal tincture which we often associate with the sea and la lune. De Bethune judiciously employ this rich hue, not only on the aforementioned moon-phase, but also on the flamed-blue steel hands.
The hour and minute hands are exquisitely profiled, reminiscent of autumnal leaves in their sinuous form. They arc upwards from the fulcrum, enticing the eye with their raised centres before swooping downwards near their tips. I can safely say, they are the most beautiful hands I have ever seen on any watch.
At 6 o’clock a subdial is located. It displays the date on a raised circlet and bestows information with a blued-steel lancine shaped hand. Arabic numerals are employed to convey the date. This provides a thoughtful juxtaposition with the Roman numerals used for imparting the hours. There are several styles employed on this dial, yet all coalesce in pleasing harmony.
At 3 o’clock a small aperture reveals the month and on the opposite side of the dial, at 9 o’clock, the design language is repeated with the day display. The symmetry is superb and reinforces the sense of balance, ubiquitously presented on this watch.
The chapter ring is detailed with Arabic numerals and a subtle scale. It does not detract from the main information on the dial, but quietly converses with the wearer when required.
An inner flange sits adjacent the chapter ring. The motif depicted resembles a rope, charmingly framing the handsome dial.
The 18-carat pink gold case is warm and provides a congenial contrast with the dial. It does not feel outré or brash, but confers good taste and elegance with its highly polished form.
I have placed De Bethune models on my wrist on previous occasions. The floating lug design, whilst handsome, is primarily functional. The lug and strap arrangement lavishes the wearer with incredible comfort. The strap and watch ensemble embrace the wrist proffering comfort and security in equal measure.
The crown is yet a further example of exhaustive design with an intricate profile which furnishes the wearer with supreme tactility.
The caseback is open providing a spectacular view of the movement.
Beyond the beauty of this gorgeous face and torso assemblage is a most profound intellectual.
The calibre DB 2324 QP is a compendium of 420 components presented in flawless form.
I have never made any secret with my obsession for finissage and this movement sates this need admirably. The movement is hand decorated with circular graining, snailing and chamfering presented with peerless execution.
De Bethune are innovators and have exampled this with several patented features on this particular model.
The movement has twin barrels providing a 5-day power reserve. However, typical of De Bethune, there is more to this than meets the eye. The patented “Self-regulating twin barrels” are designed to decrease friction and transmit more energy.
The cutting-edge specification does not stop here. The “titanium / platinum balance wheel”, “triple pare-chute shock-absorbing system” and “titanium / platinum oscillating weight” are all patented innovations emanating from the Manufacture De Bethune.
The casual reader of this article may wrongly assume I enjoy a fiscal relationship with De Bethune or an advertising campaign beckons. They would be wrong in this assumption. Moreover, there are no free samples freely winging their way to me as I write.
My motivation for writing about this watch is purely a profound affection for innovative horology, made without compromise and delivered in a handsome form.
Returning to my original question, is the word “poetry” applicable in this instance? I retort with an unreserved affirmative.
The De Bethune DB25 QP is horological poetry which imbues adoration and respect in equal measure.
Model: De Bethune DB25 QP
Reference: DB25 QP
Case: 18-carat pink gold; diameter 44.00mm; height 12.50mm; sapphire crystal to front and rear.
Angus is a self-confessed watch addict and is frequently asked to contribute to various printed magazines and websites around the globe. He also writes for individual watch companies on matters of horology and has appeared on television and radio as an industry expert.