While a young collector might be reluctant to carry a pocket watch—no matter how notable or horologically important—plenty of brands draw upon the aesthetics and layouts of vintage pocket watches when designing modern wristwatches. None, however, do it quite like De Bethune.
Established in 2002 by fourth-generation French watchmaker and blacksmith Denis Flageollet, De Bethune makes stunning haute horlogerie creations in L’Auberson, Switzerland in the Jura Mountains. Its 2006 DBS Digitale—which used a hand-wound movement to power a display with an in-line perpetual calendar, a jump hours window, and a digital minutes display—was particularly revelatory. Housed in a pocket watch-inspired case with a 12 o’clock crown position and a unique, articulating upper lug, its aesthetics, functionality, and movement set a high bar for independent maisons.
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Following on the heels of its burgundy-colored DBD Season 2 from earlier this year, De Bethune has released a handsome new version of the watch during Dubai Watch Week, a horological summit that takes place every two years in the United Arab Emirates. Dubbed the DBD Evergreen, it pairs a 42.6 mm polished Grade 5 titanium case to a rich green-blue dial with prominent Côtes de Genève vertical striping. The day-date-month display, jump hours, and digital minutes display of the original are present and accounted for, though it lacks that watch’s moon phase display that was situated on the back of the watch.
Flip the DBD Evergreen over, however, and you’re greeted with a view of the incredible, hand-wound Caliber DB2044 movement. Hand-decorated with “Côtes de Bethune,” it features dual barrels for an impressive 5-day power reserve, a titanium balance wheel, and a patented triple “para-chute” shock absorption system. Largely symmetrical and beautifully balanced, its futuristic appearance and large size pair well with the pocket watch-inspired case and calendar display, making for a watch that straddles classical watchmaking and contemporary avant–garde design.
With its larger diameter and cone-shaped lugs, you might assume that the DBD wouldn’t wear particularly comfortably on smaller wrists. Thankfully, the semi-integrated, textile-lined alligator strap is surprisingly supple and comfortable, making for a wearing experience equal to the impressive micro-mechanics that power the DBD’s simple but sophisticated dial layout. Those in search of a complicated, left-of-center timekeeper from a decidedly innovative, non-traditional brand would do well to take note!
The DBD Evergreen is limited to 20 pieces and carries a retail price of CHF 105,000 (approximately $170,000).
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