De Bethune DB28 Steel Wheel Sapphire Tourbillon: Let the (blue) light!
De Bethune first launched DB28 Steel Wheels in 2018. As Joshua Munchow said at the time, it represents all the excellence of the award-winning DB28, highlighting the most important components and giving them more meaning.
“Great artists and designers constantly seek to distill emotions and experience into a work of art,” he wrote at the time.
No matter how long we have been familiar with this brand, we never expected that De Bethune will be able to surpass itself again and again through the next watch, the next iteration, and the next change. Each.
The essence of Bethune
During the SIHH in January 2018, with the launch of DB28 Steel Wheels, De Bethune‘s subtle “restart” under the new ownership became obvious. This watch is a new interpretation of the brand’s truly iconic DB28. Since its launch in 2010, this watch has maintained a sense of freshness in every new iteration.
It is not surprising that it has remained fresh: it is co-founder, chief watchmaker and inventor Denis Flageollet’s vision for the future of watchmaking. But here and now.
DB28 Steel Wheels applies the essence of De Bethune to a watch, taking advantage of the characteristics of various timepieces in the brand’s history.
Just two months later, at Baselworld 2018, De Bethune launched a more limited-and-more attractive-in my opinion-named DB28 Steel Wheels Blue version.
As you might have guessed, it is almost completely blue. The deep Bethune blue was bursting with pure emotion.
Oh, De Bethune Blue: It almost single-handedly defined De Bethune. It is rich and cool, full of vitality, and full of mystery at the same time. It is the cherry on De Bethune cake.
When we think of De Bethune, we usually think of articulated lugs; spherical moon phases; titanium alloy balance wheels; polished spherical markers; triangular bridges that every Star Trek fan drools; triple shock-absorbing balance bridges; outstanding hands ; Silicon escapement wheel; perhaps most importantly, highly polished and hot blue titanium. DB28 Steel Wheels Blue has all these iconic elements.
But if De Bethune of Flageollet doesn’t work hard to continuously improve his achievements, what will he do? I shudder.
Fortunately, there is no such problem. In the typical Flageollet way, the DB28 steel wheel sapphire tourbillon takes our previous knowledge of the DB28 and raises it to a higher position.
Transparency and light
Everything is in the details, just like in De Bethune. The eyes never know where to look first; drinking it in one breath is a wonderful enjoyment, and breaking it down seems a shame. But we must break it.
The visual feature of the Steel Wheels model that differs from other DB28 models is the hollow dial exposed below the gears, which is extremely rare for De Bethune, although it complements the brand’s style. The level of detail makes people feel sculptural, unique, and complicated, rather than getting busy.
On a De Bethune watch with any exposed mechanism, the triangular splint is usually the first thing that attracts the eye, which is usually beautifully polished to perfection. Next, the eyes will fly to the regulator opening at 6 o’clock, and if we are really lucky, we will see the spherical moon phase.
But the Steel Wheels model is more open and can show more mechanisms, which takes them to another level.
On the DB28 Steel Wheels Sapphire Tourbillon, more of the inside is exposed, and in such an original way. Unfortunately, the trade-off is that the spherical moon phases here are too much visually and mechanically. But as you will see below, it has been replaced by something else that will definitely catch the eye.
On the original Steel Wheels model, the main barrel and other wheels were hollowed out to make the dial feel lighter. This version goes a step further, not only replacing the double spring bucket lid with light blue sapphire crystal, but also retaining the hollow style of the triangular bridge, but now uses blue sapphire crystal instead of titanium decoration, decorated with the previous “côtes” from “fake De Bethune” pattern by Steel Wheels.
The effect of this new bridge is amazing. It is light, airy and blue at the same time. It reflects light back to you in the friendliest way. It is De Bethune blue, but it is also translucent, revealing the layers below it. It is an architectural fusion of space, light and-yes-time. It is dynamic and emotional, and it plays with light and your emotions in the most fascinating way.
In a word, it is perfect.
The sapphire crystal glass parts here are framed by titanium, which is precisely cut by laser and fits perfectly. Take a closer look at the spring pail lids: they look almost like lace, the complexity of the many small corundum fragments inlaid on them.
Each small piece of blue corundum has a different size according to its location. The height of the bridge part is 1 mm, because they need to provide more stability, and the small puzzles that decorate the spring bucket lid are only 0.3 mm high.
Add enough blue to the place away from the center of the event, and the outer circumference of the dial is surrounded by blue titanium, fully demonstrating the advantages of those natural-colored polished titanium hour marker spheres.
Let’s talk about those hands. De Bethune always has an interesting pair of hands, which vary from model to model. This seems to be a detail, but it is not insignificant, because in addition to fulfilling its main function of displaying time, the hands must not disturb the beauty of the dial. Because of this, De Bethune is one of the very few manufacturers that can make it by hand.
Place the hour hand on the DB28 Steel Wheels Sapphire Tourbillon, which consists of four separate elements: a steel frame ensures functionality, while titanium inserts, internal matte titanium components and polished titanium external components complete the desired appearance without disturbing The dial, but also provides direct visibility of the hours. Each component is individually made and hand-finished at the manufacturing plant in La Chaux l’Auberson. The result may be the most unique hour hand on the market today. gents watches