With complete mastery of the art of thermal oxidation of metals, De Bethune continues to explore all the color shades resulting from the heat released by the chemical reactions of heat-treated steel and titanium.
In De Bethune’s workshops in L’Auberson, the particles become luminous and the metals – titanium in particular – emit a visible light… the material oxidizes, the properties are modified, the surfaces are transformed, new natural colors come to the fore.
Denis Flageollet, Master Watchmaker and founder of De Bethune, initially started working with his team on the blue tonality. Natural blue, a color linked to the notion of infinity and harmony, is one of De Bethune’s main fields of research. It has become the company’s distinctive signature.
True as ever to the natural colors of the four elements – sky, water, earth and fire – De Bethune now explores a warm color (as opposed to the cool color of blue). And so it is that the maison reveals, in a new edition, natural shades of amber and flame blonde, reflecting the colors of fire, sun, warmth and luxuriance, along with the incomparable clarity that emerges from it, synonymous with energy, joy and vigor.
To create its own fiery, radical, magnetic yellow, De Bethune applies its famous technique of gently oxidizing grade 5 titanium to tint its surface naturally. This ritual conjures an extraordinary, rare and uniform fire yellow.
This know-how is applied to the case components and to most of the movement’s components. Each element is thus individually examined to ensure the process is properly calibrated to suit shape and mass. This preliminary step is essential to obtain a range of uniform tones. However, the human touch and the typologies of the materials mean that tiny variations persist. These nuances are essential to De Bethune as they create a visual resonance that impacts the perception of the result. Indeed, the final fire yellow tone, brought about by the sum of all these variations, translates into a kind of all-encompassing vibrancy.
The iconic De Bethune DB28 features a polished grade 5 titanium case mounted on the two new floating lugs unveiled this year. Entirely redesigned, of intermediate size, harmonized and adapted to the essence of the watch, they come together in the hallmark rib, more prominent here, recalling the spirit of the first De Bethune collections.
The hand-wound mechanical caliber is fully visible and incorporates several fundamental technical discoveries. The patented spherical moon phase is located at 6 o’clock. Made of steel and palladium, it is accurate to within one lunar day every 122 years.
At the heart of the watch, the high-performance escapement developed by De Bethune features a titanium balance wheel with white gold weights and a flat terminal curve balance spring, ensuring an ideal mass-inertia ratio for the optimal frequency of 28,800 vph suitable for wristwatches. It comes endowed with manifold properties: aerodynamics, optimized efficiency, reliability, regulating quality, thermo-compensation, anti-magnetism… which deliver concrete results as attested by the 20-percent gain in power reserve achieved by improving the efficiency of the escapement-oscillator assembly.
The caliber also comes equipped with the triple “pare-choc” shock absorption system. De Bethune was not only the first contemporary manufacturer to design a bridge held symmetrically on both sides to perfectly maintain the balance wheel in position, but also to integrate two shock absorbers at each end, in addition to the shock absorber of the balance wheel itself. Hence the name “triple pare-choc.”
All finishes are by hand, featuring a polished titanium motion work bridge, “Côtes De Bethune”- decorated bridges and rose-work grinding on the barrel ratchets. The hours are indicated by skeleton hands on spherical polished steel indices.
The whole finds its completion with an alligator strap presenting a brown buckle with a yellow pin buckle in polished grade 5 titanium, which also contributes to the practical and pleasant wearing of this timepiece.