De Bethune DB28 Steel Wheels - Titanium - Pièce unique
Having been founded in 2002, De Bethune remains somewhat of a young watch brand when compared to many of its counterparts. But its young age doesn't translate to naivety or ineptitude. Its two founders, David Zanetta and Denis Flageollet, have dedicated themselves to challenging the status quo of mechanical watchmaking through boundary-pushing mindsets and extensive watchmaking knowledge to produce mechanical watches of the future. Despite Zanetta's passion for collecting historical things such as art, his forward-thinking vision for De Bethune is shared in equal measure with his fellow founder. Flageollet is an accomplished technical watchmaker representing the fourth generation of the craft with experience working with Francois-Paul Journe, Parmigiani, Breguet and Cartier.
'L'Art Horloger au XXI Siecle' (The Art Of Watchmaking In The XXIst Century') is De Bethune's mission statement and is evident when discovering the collections in their range. Their commitment to creating pieces that honour watchmaking tradition while simultaneously utilising cutting-edge materials and technology runs throughout all facets of their watches. De Bethune carries distinctive particular case designs coupled with incredibly complex and beautifully finished in-house movements that feature their proprietary balance-wheel system.
In 2011, the DB28 was introduced and arguably is the singular model series emblematic of De Bethune. Articulating 'floating' lugs, a 3D moonphase indicator, 12 o'clock crown, and a forward-facing design that is equal parts the movement as it is the dial, the DB28 is unlike any other watch the industry offers. It expresses a space-age, trailblazing persona from a technical and visual perspective. The DB28 Steel Wheels was presented in 2018 and represented a new era for De Bethune. The model focuses on lightness in every sense of the words. Produced in titanium, the Steel Wheels emphasises De Bethune's special appearance further thanks to its cut out details from the bridge, to barrels, lugs, and hands. With only 25 pieces of the Steel Wheels assembled, it's a rare watch to see in the wild, and yet, the piece with us today pushes that rarity to a whole new level.
This unique execution of the De Bethune DB28 Steel Wheels was created in October 2020. Its muted, monochromatically focused depiction of the Steel Wheels measures 42.6mm in diameter and is presented in titanium. The piece has a high polish finish to its drum-shaped case and comes with its unmissable hollow articulating spring-loaded lug design and its 12 o'clock crown. Not only do these features and how they're executed give the watch its incomparable appearance, but they're also all in the name of comfort and wearability—however, it's with this DB28's dial that the uniqueness of the piece is most apparent.
The harmonious relationship and total synergy between dial and movement with the DB28 are unparalleled. It arguably is strengthened even further here due to the piece's matching colour scheme throughout. The perimeter of this Steel Wheels features a grey ratcheted chapter ring complete with small spherical hour markers produced in titanium. In a similar vein, at six o'clock, the moon is presented in grey with two different shades, contributing to the depth and overall uniqueness. The top of the movement plate, or what one could consider the conventional dial, is high polished titanium with a darker grey outer ring. Returning to the theme of lightness is its set of hour and minute hands. Both hands are particularly distinguishable from each other—the translucent sapphire hour hand, alongside the primarily solid minute hand featuring a unique, space-age design.
Regardless of this piece unique's matching colour scheme, this isn't to the detriment of legibility. Due to the various tones of grey alongside the conscious application of said colour, this Steel Wheels is both distinctive and decipherable. This is by all means only part of the story, as the movement of this piece plays a huge role in its character and introduces a few snippets of colour.
Powering this piece unique DB28 Steel Wheels is the Caliber 2115V4 by De Bethune. Displaying the hours, minutes, and a power reserve indicator viewed through the display caseback, this movement is best characterised by its dial side features, most notably the delta-shaped bridge complete with a "Côtes De Bethune" decoration. This proprietary take on Côtes de Genève striping is accomplished using a microlight micrometric technique developed by De Bethune. This skeletonised bridge is central to the whole watch and plays a pivotal role in further instilling the futuristic charisma of the piece. Furthermore, thanks to said skeletonisation, the twin barrels of the movement can be viewed, which also carry an open-work configuration. This superb movement can achieve six days of autonomy and represents the highest hand-finished quality.
The most apparent hint of colour comes from the balance wheel of this De Bethune, situated towards the lower portion of the dial. Finished in blued titanium with white gold masses periodically throughout, the spiderweb set balance is flanked by shock springs doubling as a balance bridge known as the "Triple Pare-Chute" system by De Bethune.
How It Wears
There are quite a few contributing factors that significantly impact the wearability of the DB28 Steel Wheels Piece Unique. Firstly, despite its nearly 43mm width combined with its lugs which add physical size to the piece, the watch suits a range of wrist sizes. This is due to the skeletonisation of said lugs. They draw the eye cleverly to the centre of the piece, therefore mitigating its size. Further aiding wearability is its slenderness partly due to the manual wind movement and the watchmaking prowess of De Bethune. In short, the Steel Wheels wears like nothing else out there. It's a real show stopper piece and challenges everyone's perception of what a mechanical watch can, and should, look like. It seems De Bethune has delivered on its mission statement of creating watches for the 21st century with renown.
The De Bethune DB28 Steel Wheels Piece Unique is presented in very good condition. The watch is sold as a complete full set including its original box, papers, De Bethune straps, as well as a letter from the CEO of De Bethune confirming its provenance and unique completion.
If you desire to take a closer look at this precious timepiece, don't hesitate to contact us and make an appointment. We are based in Ghent, Belgium.
No stock is kept on site.
|Reference||DB28 TI Steel Wheel Pièce unique|
|Dial||Steel wheel grey Skeleton|
|Bracelet||De Bethune grey Crocodile|