De Bethune DB28 Yellow Tones was presented this year at Baselworld. The watch was a big surprise, not only for me but also for other De Bethune collectors and enthusiasts. The DB28YT departs from the blue accents, so typical to the independent brand, to a fire inspired theme. In a world crowded by blue dials, De Bethune DB28 Yellow Tones is a fresh encounter. But most important detail of the DB28YT stays in its materials – not gold or polished bronze, as one might expect, but thermally treated titanium. Working with titanium is a game in which, De Bethune is an absolute maestro. Last week I have learned that De Bethune DB28 Yellow Tones was nominated to GPHG in the Men’s Category. A perfect occasion to present you the fire inspired Yellow Tone.
De Bethune DB28 Yellow Tones
After De Bethune DB28GS Grand Bleu presentation during SIHH (and reviewed here) – the first diver watch, Baselworld reserved us another surprise – the first yellow-tinted piece, in the DB28 Collection and for the brand. The independent brand comes, as usual, with interesting innovation. The presence in the GPHG nomination is not a real surprise since De Bethune has an impressive palmarès of prizes.
The gold titanium case: the same but different, different but the same
De Bethune is a master in the metal oxidation. Especially for extremely difficult materials, like titanium. The independent brand is renown for its fabulous lightweight watches with a touch (or more than just a touch) of blue. For DB28YT, De Bethune leaves the comfortable blue signature, experimenting with new warm colours, reaching notes of amber and flame blonde.
The yellow tones are achieved using a similar process as the thermally obtained blue. The process is applied individually for each component and then the pieces are carefully examined to have the exact shade needed, evenly spread over the entire surface. Considering the large size and surfaces, the result is breathtaking.
The 42.6mm diameter case is manufactured using grade 5 titanium. The case uses a new floating lugs system, also a novelty for this year. The lugs suffered a redesign with a more prominent hallmark rib. The look keeps the signature and De Bethune’s character.
What amused me, and it was fun and nice to discover is the marks that fingerprints leave on the case. If on the blue case, the fingerprints marks had a yellowish tint, on the DB28YT yellow case, the fingerprints have a blueish, purple tint. Fascinating.
The back of the watch reveals a familiar power reserve and the exceptional finishes of the calibre DB2115V4, surrounded by the yellow caseback with see-through sapphire crystal.
De Bethune has a way of working with titanium that makes you think that the metal suddenly became a soft and permissive material. Even steel elements present on the dial side suffered the same warming treatment. Their expertise permits to play with colours in ways that others just dream about.
Time display and dial elements
The delta top bridge on top of the dial is an element that I particularly love. Besides the decorative roles, the bridge holds the barrels. It is adorned with Côtes De Bethune – obtained by Microlight micrometric engraving technique
The time display uses a circular-grained titanium ring with spherical polished titanium hour-markers set on a browned polished titanium circle. As minute markers, the chapter ring uses cut-outs that increase the dials appealing.
The time is displayed by skeletonised hands manufactured in flame-browned steel. The hands, even if are different in sizes, shapes and materials in the collection, have the De Bethune’s DNA all over. Just like, if you don’t recognise the brand (if that could even be possible), there is this last hint…
At 6 o’clock is placed the moon indication, so specific to De Bethune. The implementation is one of the most beautiful in the industry and also very precise – the accuracy of one lunar day every 122 years. Yes, I know, it is not the most precise in the industry, but let’s be honest: you and most probably your kids will be long gone before the need for intervention.
The spherical moon is realised using palladium and flamed browned steel and it is immersed in a browned polished titanium circle.
A beautiful movement
De Bethune DB28 Yellow Tones is powered by the calibre DB2115V4. The calibre is used in several pieces of the DB28 Collection with various cosmetic changes. Every time, the movement shines (pun intended) mostly on the front of the watch. Easily observable decorations are: “Côtes De Bethune”, the mirror polish, the polished chamfering, satin-brushed surfaces and sandblasting.
The most excentric element is represented by the triple pare-chute shock-absorbing system, developed by De Bethune in 2005. The titanium bridge received the same colouring treatment to obtain the amber tone. The blue contrasting titanium balance wheel with white gold inserts, optimised for temperature differences and air penetration, is fitted with the “De Bethune” balance-spring with a flat terminal curve, both De Bethune innovations. The result – exceptional chronometric capabilities. As expected, the finishes are exceptional. Even the backside, that is mainly dedicated for power reserve indicator, received a lovely perlage.
I have good remembrance of the De Bethune DB28 Yello Tones on the wrist. That unforgettable sense of lightness… The highly polished and skeletonised lugs, along with the overall polished case surfaces, have an elegant sense, specific to the DB28 Collection. The lugs’ articulation starting from the middle of the case adapts to the wrist movement. The comfort is drastically improved. That gives the impression of smaller wear.
The crown has the same unusual position but is part of the iconic look of the DB28 timepieces. The particularity come from the articulated lugs system – as it does not allow a more traditionally placed crown. The 12 o’clock position does not interfere with the ease of crown use for set or winding but needs a moment of acclimatisation for one to get used to it.
The twelve polished spheres, from which the biggest represents the moon in a two-tone delight, have a powerful impact on the watch’s fantastic appearance. Together with the central shield create an out of this world – space-related, sci-fi related / alien artefact. As an avid sci-fi reader, the DB28 collection “fires” my imagination. The DB28YT has the right colour for that word.
De Bethune is proud to announce that two of this year pieces are nominated for the prestigious Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève: the DB28 Yellow Tones in the Men’s Category and the DB28GS Grand Bleu in the Diver’s Category.
Pierre Jacques, CEO of De Bethune, said: “We are very pleased and proud to learn that our two watches have been officially preselected by the Jury, to whom we are very grateful. These two models testify to the brand’s great creative vitality. With these two timepieces, our founder and master watchmaker Denis Flageollet explores new territories: a magnificent new fiery blonde hue for titanium, new technical innovations, and a first sports watch designed for diving. All of us at De Bethune feel privileged to share a refreshing and vibrant dynamic and it shows through our watchmaking. Our capacity for innovation is stronger than ever.”
De Bethune DB28 Yellow Tones Technical Specifications
Name and reference: DB28 Yellow Tones DB28YT
- Hours, Minutes, Spherical moon phase indication at 6 o’clock,
- Power reserve situated on the back
Type: Mechanical hand-wound movement
- Winding and setting the time by means of the crown (2 positions)
- Spherical moon phase adjustment via a corrector
Technical features of calibre DB2115V4
Number of parts: 275
Jewelling: 35 jewels
Diameter: 30 mm
Power reserve: 6 days, ensured by a self-regulating twin barrel De Bethune Innovation (2004)
- 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
- Spherical moon-phase indication accurate to a degree of one lunar day every 122 years – De Bethune Patent (2004)
- Triple pare-chute shock-absorbing system De Bethune Innovation (2005)
Frequency: 28,800 vibrations per hour
- Yellow polished grade 5 titanium plate cover
- Handmade yellow grade 5 titanium motion works bridge
- Barrels bridge adorned with “Côtes De Bethune” in yellow titanium
- Open worked and hand sailed barrels
- Rhodium power reserve indicator background decorated with “De Bethune” circular graining brown and engraved ring
- Steel parts bevelled and polished by hand
- Hours and minutes hands in flame-browned steel
- Spherical moon-phase indication in palladium and flame-browned steel with an accuracy of one lunar day every 122 years at 6 o’clock – De Bethune Patent (2004)
- Circular-grained titanium hours ring
- Moon phase bezel in polished browned titanium
- Spherical polished titanium hour-markers set on a browned polished titanium circle
Case and strap
Case material: Yellow polished grade 5 titanium
Case diameter: 42.6 mm
Case thickness: 9.30 mm
Lugs: Floating lugs in browned polished grade 5 titanium De Bethune Patent (2006)
Crystal: In sapphire crystal (1800 Vickers hardness) with double anti-reflective coating
Case back: Screwed case back in grade 5 polished titanium that opens on a linear power reserve indicator in browned steel Sapphire crystal (1800 Vickers hardness) with double anti-reflective coating
Water resistance: 3 ATM
Strap: Extra-supple alligator leather, alligator lining
Buckle: Brown with yellow pin buckle in polished grade 5 titanium