At Baselworld 2013, De Bethune has released a couple of very exotic watches demonstrating their watchmaking mastery. The DB25 Imperial Fountain and LT Tourbillon.

The DB25 Imperial Fountain is a special edition set of 12 watches. It is inspired by Chinese zodiac animals found on a fountain in China’s Old Summer Palace (Yuanming Yuan). Unfortunately due to looting over the years, the Summer Palace has been left in a terrible state. Only 7 of the 12 zodiacs have been recovered. Nonetheless, this did not stop De Bethune from replicating the zodiacs on their 12 limited editions.

Each animal is engraved by the master Michèle Rothen. The engraved pieces take up alot of room and make squeezing in the actual movement very difficult. A completely new movement, the Calibre DB 2145 was created. The hour and minute hands circle the engraving. Micro ball bearings and a new transmission system are used to then drive the revolving disks.


Dragon engraving


Snake engraving and peripheral hour and minute hands

This new movement uses the De Bethune’s trademark Silicon and white gold balance wheel and balance-spring and the patented triple pare-chute shock-absorbing system. A true masterpiece of a watch that has 287 parts and a power reserve of 6 days. The watches pay homage to a rich Chinese culture (and also their deep pockets) while focussing on new developments in watch technology. Not sure whether I myself would wear a watch like this, but you certainly have to appreciate the thought and work that went into it.

Next up is the DB25 LT Tourbillon. An iconic De Bethune sized 44mm case houses an in-house tourbillion movement that beaps at 36,000 vph. The movement is hand-crafted and finished with Cotes de De Bethune finishing with very nicely chamfered edges.


The DB25 LT Tourbillion

De Bethune’s are very unique and you wont find very many on people’s wrists. This is partly due to the price, relative appeal, and their lower emphasis on marketing. The money saved from marketing allows them to build very special pieces. The DB25 LT has a great spherical moonphase indicator at 12 o’clock on the dial. The tourbillon mechanism that sits at 9 o’clock on the caseback is one of the fasted and lighted in the entire watch industry, weighing in at only 0.18 grams.


Tourbillon at 9 o’clock


Hand-guilloched dial

The dial is made of rose gold and hand-guilloched. Mirror polished blue hands provide a good contrast with the dial while matching with the star (yellow gold)  studded sky on the dial.


Close up of the cutting edge Tourbillon

Interested in seeing more? Visit The Hour Glass. They have a very small De Bethune section but it will give you a chance to appreciate the brand and see what the fuss is all about.

The Hour Glass
142 King St
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9221 2288