Two watches, two worlds: here and elsewhere. In 2022, De Bethune celebrates its 20th anniversary. Two decades dedicated to the execution of a centuries-old know-how and the tireless search for innovation. On the occasion of SIAR 2022, the Manufacture is unveiling its 30th in-house calibre with the release of the DB Kind of Two Jumping GMT. Here and elsewhere, it is now possible. Almost instantaneous, the journey comes to life in one rotation.
In January 2021, the Manufacture De Bethune presented the DB Kind of Two Tourbillon. Bold and classic, its double dial was already out of place. Its complexity has even challenged all limits and now it presents the DB Kind of Two Jumping GMT, offering a different time zone on each of its sides.
Double-sided watches are not a recent invention. For more than two centuries, these singular mechanisms have been born at the hands of erudite watchmakers, open to the new ideas of the Age of Enlightenment and often inspired by astronomy, the decorative arts as well as mechanical engineering.
With horologists increasingly driven by the temptation to develop ever more complicated models, double-sided cases became increasingly prevalent, a solution enabling their creators to express the full scope of their aesthetic and technical expertise by making it possible to display a greater number of functions.
The history of horology has been punctuated by certain major accomplishments in this respect. Already during the Renaissance, tower clocks–the most famous of which is located in Venice – had several faces. A little later, certain table clocks with their vertical, four-faceted dials also displayed several identities within a single object. This was followed by pocket watches also featuring two dials, the best-known being the Leroy 01 by Louis Leroy – presented in 1900 and winner of the Grand Prix at the Paris World Fair – which long remained the most complicated watch ever created.
A contemporary take on the double-sided watch
Double-sided watches hold a special place in the realm of highly complicated watches. Beneath the apparent simplicity of this timepiece, De Bethune has clearly not taken the easiest path with this model involving two dials that embody a real watchmaking challenge. Views from back and front reveal an authentic transformation.
This was an idea that had been taking shape for many years in the mind of Denis Flageollet, who was convinced that it would offer him an unprecedented field of research and the opportunity to provide a different, contemporary interpretation. Just as with the invention of his silicon balance and balance- spring, as well as the famous floating lugs, it would enable him to make another contribution to the advancement of horology.
Two very different faces, both aesthetically and technically
The DB Kind of Two Jumping GMT is perfectly reversible and can be worn on either side according to the mood of the moment and the time zone chosen. This model houses a highly sophisticated mechanism based on a complex system of gears and pinions arranged on the front or back of the watch, and which enables the hands to turn in the right direction, regardless of the dial chosen.
On one side the jumping hour hand of the GMT function, on the other the central jumping second hand Opt for a modern or more traditional design? The initial inspiration was to create a watch with two very different identities, of which the aesthetic aspect guided the technical design of the new calibre entirely developed by Manufacture De Bethune at L’Auberson in the Swiss Jura.
The front side of the DB Kind of Two Jumping GMT displays a dial featuring a sleek and contemporary design that highlights the mechanics. Indeed, it is a new reading of the hour centred on the balance wheel at 6 o’clock, accompanied by the minute index on the periphery. Extensive work has been done on integrating polished, curved shapes, matt or glossy components, different thicknesses and levels, thereby creating a sensation of ample space and optimal volume, given the minimum height available for a watch integrating the complications of the jumping deadbeat second and the GMT. A deltoid-shaped bridge – perfectly symmetrical – is positioned in the centre, like an isosceles triangle that contributes to the overall sense of harmony.
The GMT side reveals a dial based on more traditional aesthetic inspiration, with a finely hand-guilloché central part surrounded by the numerals already featured on the dials of De Bethune models such as the DB8 and DB10.
The GMT function
Function is complex in its conception, but very simple in its use. The layout of the functions is based on a double display of hours and minutes on both sides. Firstly, the owner sets his reference time, known as home time and indicated by the hour and minute hands on the 12 o’clock dial, by means of the crown in position 3 on the contemporary side. Secondly, he will set his second-time zone on the GMT side, called classic, by the hour and minute hand which is controlled by the crown pulled out to position 2.
Floating lugs playing their role to the full
Every detail has been taken into consideration. Easy to use, yet highly complex, the system of floating lugs lends itself particularly well to the “pivoting” of the case. Redesigned especially for the DB Kind of Two, these elements have been equipped on each side with an ingenious little rotating mechanism made up of 28 components. For reliability purposes, they are manufactured in stainless materials such as surgical steel or titanium, thus enabling them to withstand the external aggressions of water, humidity, temperature variations and continuous contact with the skin.
Thanks to a cam, a small “notch” allows the watch case to be instinctively and perfectly positioned in line with the floating lugs. The round case rotates on its central axis and can be positioned, front or back, in a delightfully easy, smooth and entirely natural way.
The DB29, a case middle inherently suited to a swivel watch
Finally, the DB29’s case middle quickly became a key element in the pivoting case project developed by De Bethune. Its perfectly symmetrical shape offers a beautiful balance with the floating lugs and its elegant crown totally integrated at 12 o’clock (or 6 o’clock depending on the side chosen). It thus swivels naturally and the circumference principle is patently obvious, offering a true understanding of the object.
All in all, with its elegant design, the combination of contemporary mechanics with a more traditional face, as well as the meticulous care devoted to details, legibility and comfort, the DB Kind of Two Jumping GMT perfectly illustrates one of the great principles of the Manufacture De Bethune: reinterpreting grand traditions with a contemporary vision of the horological object, there by opening up a new field of expression that is refined and sophisticated while preserving user-friendliness and simple read-off. A work of art with two faces, whose timeless beauty reflects mechanical and aesthetic perfection.
De Bethune DB Kind of Two Jumping GMT Technical Specifications
Name: DB Kind of Two Jumping GMT
Functions: Dual front and back display of hours and minutes, jumping seconds, Second time zone (GMT)
Type: Mechanical hand-wound movement
Adjustment: Winding, setting the time and the GMT, by means of the crown (3 positions)
Technical features of calibre DB2517
- Number of parts: 394
- Jewelling: 58 rubis
- Diameter: 30 mm
- Power reserve: 4 days, ensured by a self-regulating twin barrel – De Bethune Innovation (2004)
- Specificities: Titanium balance wheel with white gold inserts, optimised for temperature differences and air penetration – De Bethune Patent (2016)
- “De Bethune” balance-spring with flat terminal curve – De Bethune Patent (2006)
- Silicon escape wheel
- De Bethune Dead Beat Second – De Bethune Innovation (2011)
- GMT allowing to adjust 2 time zones, different on each side
- Frequency: 36,000 vibrations per hour
- Motion works bridge and concave cover plate in grade 5 titanium, mirror-polished
- Polished and chamfered barrel bridge, with shot-blasted stages
- Hand snailed barrels
- Steel parts polished and chamfered by hand
Contemporary single-sided display
- Display: Polished titanium hours and minutes indication
- Minute indication on the periphery
- Hour indication centered around the balance wheel at 6 o’clock
- Dial: Silver hour ring with polished blued index
- Silver colour minute ring with blue transfer
Classic reverse side display
- Display: hand-polished and blued titanium hands for hours, minutes and deadbeat seconds
- Dial: Dial silvered and relief, with convex levels and guilloché central part
Case and strap
- Case material: Polished grade 5 titanium
- Case diameter: 43,3 mm
- Case thickness: 11,4 mm
- Crown: at noon on the front side, at 6 o’clock on the reverse side, and integrated into the case
- Lugs: Polished grade 5 titanium floating lugs – De Bethune Patent (2006)
- With case turning mechanism that can be clearly positioned on the front or backside
- Crystal doubles-sides: In sapphire crystal (1800 Vickers hardness) with double anti-reflective coating
- Water resistance: 3 ATM
- Strap: Extra-supple alligator leather, alligator lining
- Buckle: Pin buckle in polished grade 5 titanium