De Bethune DB25 World Traveller Watch Hands-On
Aside from perhaps a moon phase, few complications seem better suited to a De Bethune than those showing multiple time zones. With the De Bethune DB25 World Traveller (debuted here), you get not only world time indication but also a true GMT display, time, and date. Despite the high level of complication, De Bethune has managed to preserve the the clean lines and marine chronometer aesthetic of the DB25 family. If you’re looking to out jet set the most frequent of flyers, the De Bethune DB25 World Traveller will have you time zoning with the best of them.
The 45mm-wide 18k white gold case stands tall, with its low lugs offering unobstructed access to the crown and world time pusher. The case shape is can-like, with a certain old-world charm that makes the watch feel like a vintage compass or deck instrument. The face of this DB25 is almost entirely dial, ringed by a thin circle of highly polished white gold.
While the dial may seem quite complex at first glance, the various displays operate based on concentric rings. The center is world time, which can be adjusted by the hour using a pusher and is read via the 24 hour markings around its circumference. Within that 24-hour ring is a small two-color sphere (blued steel and pink gold) that is used to display a second timezone, generally either your home time or GMT. Much like other De Bethunes, the sphere rotates to indicate AM/PM via its light and dark sides (rather clever, no?). De Bethune refers to this piece as a “microsphere,” so make of that what you will.
Local time is shown on the main blued hour hand and silver hour ring, with the date shown via a small pointer in the outermost ring of the dial. To try and help, I’ve made a diagram that you can check out below.
Controlling these various displays is fairly straightforward as far as these sorts of watches go, with the world time adjustment being controlled via a pusher at 8 o’clock. The date, which is coordinated to local time, can be changed via a corrector in the case side and the minutes, home time, and local jumping hours can be set via the crown, with both hour displays capable of being set in either direction.
The dial is a lovely mix of silver and champagne tones that are nicely highlighted by the blued hands and subtle concentric Microlight finishing on the world time dial. Legibility is excellent, with a clear local time display and simple 24-hour layout for world time and home time. This highly functional display is arguably the key success of the De Bethune DB25 World Traveller, combining much of the legibility of a marine chronometer along with the versatility of a world timer.
Underneath that three dimensional dial ticks the DB2547 hand-wound movement, which is comprised of some 430 parts. Designed by Denis Flageollet, this 4Hz movement rocks a titanium balance, silicon escapement wheel, and twin barrels offering a power reserve of five days. This is the 25th movement that De Bethune has designed, manufactured, and assembled in-house. Visible via a display case back, the DB2547 is decorated with a mix of mirror-polished surfaces, blued elements of both steel and titanium, and Côtes De Bethune finishing on the center delta bridge.
Alas, all of these tiny movement bits, white gold, and time zones don’t come cheap. Then again, nobody who is even remotely familiar with De Bethune is going to assume they do. The De Bethune DB25 World Traveller will set you back some 150,000 CHF. Offering a distinctly De Bethune spin on the world timer, the De Bethune DB25 World Traveller is the sort of watch you can only dream about, an oasis from a life spent in coach. debethune.ch