De Bethune’s entry for the Only Watch auction is arguably the most special of all 43 unique pieces that are being donated to this charity auction, which is placed under the patronage of Prince Albert II of Monaco. Of course you would like to know why I made such a bold statement. Especially after so many über-impressive unique pieces for Only Watch have been introduced, like the Patek 5016A (a perpetual calendar, tourbillon and minute repeater), the Tourbillon Souverain Blue from Francois-Paul Journe, the GMT-6 by Kari Voutilainen and many, many more. The reason for that bold statement lies in the watch’ reference… Let’s have a look at the De Bethune DBS ref. DBS 2005-2015 for Only Watch 2015.
The reference number of De Bethune’s entry for the Only Watch auction, DBS ref. 2005-2015, more or less says it all. Ten years ago, David Zanetta (creative genius) and Denis Flageollet (master watchmaker), decided to support the Only Watch project. Especially for this prestigious auction they designed/developed the very first DBS, which was (and actually still is) an incredibly high-tech watch with a very progressive design. Fast forward ten years, and De Bethune has created another unique DBS for the Only Watch auction, with a reference that refers to its own story that started back in 2005.
Since 2015 marks the tenth anniversary of the DBS, De Bethune also launched a 10-piece anniversary limited edition DBS earlier this year. It’s pretty much similar to this unique piece for Only Watch 2015 (as shown above), except the OW version has several red elements that are not on the 10 limited edition pieces. Oh, and the limited edition DBS features a tourbillon, while this pièce unique is equipped with
What they share, is the white gold case, with remarkable cone-shaped lower lugs and the crown at 12 o’clock, that measures 45 mm by 42.5 mm. The pivoting gold plate connecting the strap (at the 12 o’clock position) and the case middle, actually was the forerunner of what would later become known as floating lugs – a brilliant system of moving lugs that guarantee Comfort with a capital C; we described it extensively in our recent review of the DB28 Black Matte.
Inside ticks of course an in-house movement, like with all (modern) De Bethune timepieces, and these are not ‘just’ in-house movement, but offer much more. In previous articles I have called Denis Flageolet, the master watchmaker and co-founder, the ‘mad professor’ because of the unprecedented developments, world firsts and the ten patents that are filed by the Manufacture since its inception in 2002. He has used various (innovative) materials to improve the main spring barrels, balance, balance spring and the shock absorption system for the escapement. Mind you, this is quite an achievement for such a small manufacture!
While the calibre of the original DBS was already packed with innovations, the new DBS features some of the newest innovations. The DBS 2005-2015 features a silicon and white gold balance wheel and a silicon escape wheel. Visible through a small aperture in the case back is the power reserve indicator that shows how much remains of the 6-day power reserve of this manually wound movement, calibre DB2115.
For comparison, the 10th anniversary limited edition (calibre DB2019) is equipped with a 30-second tourbillon that vibrates at 36,000 vph. This ‘hi-beat’ tourbillon is ideal for a wristwatch and is amazingly light at 0.18 grams for a total of 63 parts.
Again something that both the DBS ref. 2005-2015 and the 10th anniversary limited edition have in coming is the dial. Or actually the lack of a dial. Like on the DB28 Black Matte that we reviewed recently, the dial is actually an opening that reveals the beauty of the anthracite deltoid-shaped bridges that subtly decorated by hand. The hour markers are spherical steel indicators, hand-polished and blued using the age-old flame-blueing technique, held by a titanium annular bridge. On the far outskirts is a ‘minuterie’ or minute index.
The bright blue hand-polished, and flame blued, steel hands reach exactly to the minute index and hour indices. Unique for the DBS ref. 2005-2015 are the red jewel indicators at 12 and 6 o’clock. Now you know why we think that the De Bethune DBS ref. 2005-2015 is arguably the most special of all 43 Only Watch unique pieces.
Keep an eye on Monochrome in the coming months. We will post extensively again, when the time is there to register for the Only Watch auction.