Hands-on De Bethune DB28 Steel Wheels Sapphire Tourbillon

Last year, De Bethune celebrated the 10th anniversary of its flagship DB28 model and the 2nd anniversary of the hollow DB28 Steel Wheels. The idea behind the first DB28 Steel Wheels in 2018 was to open the dial to show the modern architecture of the movement. With the appearance of this DB28 Steel Wheels Sapphire Tourbillon during Geneva Watch Day in August 2020, De Bethune has created a more attractive dial view and combined it with a higher technical complexity due to the presence of the tourbillon. The translucent blue sapphire on the bridge not only enhances the visual effect, but also adds a sense of elegance to this already otherworldly watch.

Blue is the color we all associate with De Bethune, especially the intense electric blue of hot blue titanium that Denis Flageollet accidentally found in the workshop. Now made of blue sapphire crystal, the iconic triangular bridge in the center of the dial rises to cater to your gaze. The blue sapphire is opaque, but translucent, adding a charming element. As with the first DB28 steel wheel in 2018, the central area of ​​the triangular bridge has been removed to show part of the movement. Below the sapphire bridge, you can see two barrels with drum covers, also protected by a thin layer of blue sapphire.

All blue sapphire glass parts are designed by Denis Flageollet, the founder and master watchmaker of De Bethune. The sapphire is then laser cut and trimmed with polished titanium, which is a modern 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 bridge is 1 mm thick with a polished titanium frame, while the barrel cover is only 0.3 mm thick, surrounded by Exquisite frame in blue titanium.

The hour and minute hands are also hollow, hand-made 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 color palette of the watch.

Instead of the traditional spherical moon of the DB28, a fast-rotating, ultra-light 30-second tourbillon is fixed by a hollow bridge. Denis Flageollet is an ardent admirer of traditional watchmaking, and pays tribute to Breguet’s tourbillon with a modern cyclone device. In order to compensate for the dynamics of movement, 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 parts, vibrates 36,000 times per hour, and the lightweight frame rotates once every 30 seconds. The frame weighs only 0.18 grams, making it the lightest tourbillon frame ever.

Another distinguishing feature of DB28 is the fascinating sense of depth created on the dial. Tilted titanium hour rings with minute dents are located on the flange, and spherical polished titanium hour markers are 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 dial has different heights, shapes, finishes and volumes, creating a vibrant stage. The elevated central bridge hovering above the movement, the hollow bridge that holds the tourbillon in its deep well, the area that actually falls into the gap, the exquisite finish and clear teeth of the gear train and barrel, and the contrasting materials Extraordinary interest in the dial.

The DB28 model of DE BETHUNE, launched in 2010, is the backbone of the brand. It is characterized by its floating articulated lugs, a triangular bridge on the dial, a crown at 12 o’clock and its futuristic style. DB28 won the coveted gold award just one year after the birth of the 2011 version of GPHG. Over the years, it has adopted various appearances, from the blue tourbillon version with the cosmic blue suit in 2018 to the steel wheel with skeleton movement in 2018; from the 2015 black matte version to the sporty DB28GS; from The all-black shadow will be a somewhat outdated digital version in 2014, the DB28 digital version. In 2019, we met Blond BOMBSHELL MELLOW YELLOW and produced three ultra-thin models called DB28XP in 2020 to celebrate its tenth anniversary, followed by an open-hole steel application Program and application table. https://www.fanreviewwatch.com

The shape of things in the future
The DB28 case is a triumph of futuristic design, but it also pays homage to certain classic watchmaking traditions that Denis Flageollet cherishes. The crown at 12 o’clock is a tribute to traditional pocket watches, and the perfect finish related to traditional art or craftsmanship runs through.

The structure of the case is unique and defines the personality of DB28. From the inflatable part to the hollow area of ​​the lugs, everything implies lightness and fluidity. Made of grade 5 titanium, the highest level of mirror polishing gives it a shiny reflective surface that is more vivid and brighter than stainless steel. In order to achieve fascinating reflections and light and shadow effects, titanium is mirror-polished by hand for several days with boxwood grindstone and diamond paste. The case is wide and 43 mm in diameter, but the height is relatively thin, 9.80 mm. Thanks to the use of titanium, this watch is very lightweight on the wrist. Although it is wide, the movable lugs (with variable geometry) mean that the watch fits the wrist perfectly. Sharp-eyed fans of the DB28, which was completely redesigned last year, will notice that the tip of the spring bar that holds the strap in place is bullet-shaped, reminiscent of De Bethune’s first collection. The finishing touch is the elegant super soft black alligator leather strap with a polished titanium buckle.

The back of the men watches brands provides a very different panorama. The bridge is impeccably decorated with a circular texture, which obscures most of the landscape. You will also find a blue hand, which corresponds to the blue steel linear power reserve indicator around the movement. The double barrel is powered by De Bethune’s manual winding movement DB2019V5, ensuring a strong 5-day power reserve. As mentioned earlier, the tourbillon is equipped with a silicon escape wheel with a frequency of 36,000vph.