Noc­tur­nal Bril­liance

De Bethune’s lat­est cre­ation takes in­spi­ra­tion from our very own galaxy

Revolution (Hong Kong) - - PRIME TIME - TEXT BY Jean Pascal

We of­ten talk about the métiers d’art that go into the making of a time­piece, be it enam­el­ing, en­grav­ing, the list can go on. How­ever, there is a lit­tle de­tail that col­lec­tors no­tice, but few truly un­der­stand: blued metal. Whether it’s the blued screws that are vis­i­ble on a move­ment, or the blued steel hands that are oc­ca­sion­ally used, it’s def­i­nitely a de­tail that draws the at­ten­tion. It’s not only an aes­thetic ap­pli­ca­tion though, for blu­ing also im­proves cor­ro­sion re­sis­tance. How­ever, it’s a del­i­cate process to get “just right,” par­tic­u­larly if you’re try­ing to get a spe­cific shade of blue on var­i­ous parts.

De Bethune, on the other hand, doesn’t shy away from this and has prac­ti­cally made it its sig­na­ture treat­ment. The most strik­ing is when De Bethune gives the blue treat­ment to large sur­faces; in this in­stance, for the new DB25L Milky Way, it’s the dial. In blued and highly pol­ished ti­ta­nium, it’s bound to draw the eye, and is a nat­u­ral back­drop for the de­pic­tion of our galaxy against a night sky, a sight that is all sel­dom seen for city dwellers. You would need to travel far from any light pol­lu­tion to re­al­is­ti­cally be able to see for your­self how packed with stars the sky can truly be – but I di­gress. For the DB25L Milky Way, De Bethune in­di­vid­u­ally sets small white gold spheres by hand onto the mir­ror fin­ished ti­ta­nium dial as hour mark­ers, while gold flakes are gilded onto mi­cro laser abra­sions to de­pict the Milky Way as oc­ca­sion­ally vis­i­ble from Earth. It al­most makes an­other of De Bethune’s sig­na­ture fea­tures, the spher­i­cal moon­phase, dis­ap­pear into the back­ground, but it’s def­i­nitely there on the up­per half of the dial; the moon it­self is com­prised of two half spheres, one blued steel and the other pol­ished pal­la­dium. Its ro­ta­tion is par­tic­u­larly pre­cise, de­vi­at­ing by one lu­nar day only ev­ery 122 years. In con­trast, the hands are highly vis­i­ble as they are in pol­ished rose gold. The case is in plat­inum, and is set with some 66 baguette-cut di­a­monds. The hol­lowed out lugs en­sure that the weight of the watch and its 44.6mm di­am­e­ter re­main very com­fort­able on the wrist.

That’s not to say that the DB25L Milky Way is an aes­thetic ex­er­cise only; turn the watch over and you’ll see the man­u­ally wound cal­iber with an im­pres­sive 6-day power re­serve, a silicon an­nu­lar bal­ance built within a white gold ring. Along with the flat ter­mi­nal curve bal­ance spring and the triple pare-chute shock ab­sorber, these parts are all cov­ered by De Bethune patents. Here too, De Bethune stands out with its Star Trek-in­spired de­sign for the move­ment, which also shows a dis­crete power re­serve in­di­ca­tor on the pe­riph­ery, and has a mir­ror­pol­ish fin­ish that is – you guessed it – very dif­fi­cult to achieve as there is ab­so­lutely no mar­gin for er­ror dur­ing the pro­duc­tion and assem­bly of the com­po­nents. We can cer­tainly look to De Bethune for an in­di­ca­tion of what the fu­ture of haute horol­ogy can bring. Un­til then, we can have the DB25L Milky Way gives as a glimpse into the starry sky at any time, day or night.

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