Hands-on De Bethune DB28 steel wheel sapphire tourbillon
The impressive DB28 steel wheels give life to the hypnotic translucent effect and the high-speed tourbillon.
Last year, De Bethune celebrated the tenth anniversary of its flagship DB28 model and the second anniversary of the hollow DB28 steel wheels. The idea behind the first DB28 steel wheel in 2018 is to open the dial to reveal the contemporary architectural style of the movement. With the DB28 steel-wheel sapphire tourbillon unveiled during the Geneva Watch Festival in August 2020, De Bethune has created a more attractive dial appearance and combined it with higher technical complexity due to the existence of the tourbillon. The addition of translucent sapphires on the bridge not only enhances the appearance of the glasses, but also adds an ethereal feeling to watches that are no longer part of this world.
Blue is a color that all of us associate with De Bethune, especially the intense hot blue titanium red that Denis Flageollet accidentally discovered in the workshop. Now made of blue sapphire crystal, the unique triangular bridge in the center of the dial can satisfy your eyes. The blue sapphire is opaque, but translucent, which adds to the appeal. Like the first DB28 steel wheel in 2018, the central area of the triangular bridge has also been removed to show part of the movement. Below the sapphire bridge, you can see two lens barrels with barrel caps, and their drumheads are also protected by a thin layer of blue sapphire.
All blue sapphire glass components are designed by Denis Flageollet, founder and senior watchmaker of replica De Bethune. Then the sapphire is cut with a laser and a polished titanium frame is used, which is a contemporary interpretation of the art of stained glass windows. Just to give you an idea of the work involved, the thickness of each sapphire crystal component is different: for example, the thickness of the bridge is 1mm and it is framed with polished titanium; while the thickness of the barrel cover is only 0.3mm and the frame is exquisite Surrounded. titanium.
The hour and minute hands are also hollowed out and handmade in De Bethune’s studio in l’Auberson. The hour hand is a work of art that combines sandblasted steel, titanium and blue titanium to match the blue hue of the watch.
The fast-rotating, ultra-light 30-second tourbillon is fixed in position by a hollow bridge, replacing the traditional spherical moon of the DB28. Denis Flageollet is an ardent admirer of traditional watchmaking, and pays tribute to tourbillon with the modern style of the cyclone device. In order to compensate for the dynamics in motion, the cage must be as light as possible and run at maximum frequency and rotation speed while keeping weight and inertia to a minimum. The tourbillon is made of titanium and silicon, composed of 63 components, and can vibrate 36,000 times per hour, while the lightweight cage rotates once every 30 seconds. The housing weighs only 0.18 grams, making it the lightest tourbillon housing ever.
Another distinguishing feature of the DB28 is the fascinating sense of depth produced on the dial. Tilted titanium hour scale ring with a tooth-like indentation similar to the minute, the scale ring is placed on the flange, and has a spherical polished titanium hour scale, which is located on the blue titanium ring. By keeping the hour markers on the periphery, the remaining space on the dial can be used for performances. The dials have different heights, shapes, finishes and volumes, which can create a dynamic stage. The elevated central bridge hovers over the movement, the hollow bridge holds the tourbillon in its deep well, the literally falling area, the exquisite and clear teeth of the gear transmission and barrel, and the contrast The material makes the dial. Unusual interest.
The trajectory of DB28
De Bethune’s DB28 model was launched in 2010 and is the flagship product of the brand. It features floating articulated lugs, a triangular bridge on the dial, a crown at 12 o’clock and a futuristic appearance. DB28 won the aspiring Aiguille d’Or just one year after it was born on its 2011 version of GPHG. Over the years, it has taken many forms, from the 2018 blue tourbillon version with a blue tourbillon set to 2018 steel wheels with a skeletonized movement; from the 2015 Black Matte version to the sporty DB28GS; from The all-black Dark Shadows is a somewhat outdated digital version in 2014, DB28 Digitale. In 2019, we met the blond bombshell soft yellow, and produced three ultra-thin models DB28XP in 2020 to celebrate its tenth anniversary, followed by a hollow steel wheel model with a blue sapphire triangle Bridge and tourbillon.
The shape of things is coming
The DB28 case is a triumph of futuristic design, but it also pays homage to certain classic watchmaking traditions that Denis Flageollet loves. The crown at 12 o’clock is a tribute to traditional pocket watches, and the perfect finish associated with traditional métiers d’art or craftsmanship is always appreciated.
The structure of the case is unique and defines the personality of DB28. From the filling section to the hollowed out area of the lugs, everything shows lightness and ease of movement. The most advanced mirror polished material is made of grade 5 titanium with a shimmering reflective surface, which is far more dazzling than stainless steel. In order to obtain fascinating reflections and movement of light, titanium was mirror polished by hand for several days together with boxwood grindstone and diamond slurry. The case is wider with a diameter of 43mm, but the height is relatively thin, at 9.80mm. Thanks to the use of titanium, the watch is light and lightweight on the wrist. Despite its wide width, the movable lugs (with variable geometry) mean that the watch can be perfectly adapted to the wrist. Completely redesigned last year, beaded eye lovers of the DB28 will notice that the tip of the spring bar that holds the strap in place is bullet-shaped to evoke the original De Bethune series. The finishing touch is the elegant black alligator leather strap with polished titanium buckle.
The back of the watch provides a completely different panorama. With impeccable round texture decoration, the bridge blocks most of the view. You will also find a blue needle around the movement, which corresponds to the linear power reserve indicator in blue steel. Powered by De Bethune’s manual winding movement DB2019V5, the double barrel can ensure a strong 5-day power reserve. As mentioned earlier, the tourbillon is equipped with a silicon escape wheel and jumps at a speed of 36,000vph.
Technical Specifications-DE BETHUNE DB28 Steel Sapphire Tourbillon
Case: diameter 43 mm x height 9.80 mm-mirror polished grade 5 titanium-sapphire crystal glass mirror, front and back with anti-reflective coating-floating grade 5 titanium lugs-waterproof 30m-12 o’clock crown
Dial: Polished titanium base with blue titanium hour chapter ring-sapphire hollow tripod bridge-sapphire hollow drum cover-all sapphire frames are made of titanium-steel and titanium hand-made hour and minute hands-spherical polished titanium Alloy hour markers-30 seconds tourbillon at 6 o’clock
Movement: Manual winding movement DB2019V5-internal-tourbillon, containing 63 parts, case weight 0.18g-36,000 vibrations per hour-silicon escape wheel-39 jewels-5 days power reserve-hours, minutes, 30 Second tourbillon and power reserve indicator
Strap: black alligator leather-titanium pin buckle