De Bethune’s New DB28 Digitale Blends Past and Present

  • John Lyon

The new De Bethune DB28 Digitale is a striking combination of classic technique and avant-garde design. It marks a departure from the typical dial aesthetic of the DeBethune DB28 series; rather than displaying sleek bridges and balance wheels, the Digitale sports a clean dial with a hand-carved barleycorn guilloche finish. The watch—priced at approximately $105,000—uses a rotating analog dial to indicate minutes and a digital jumping display to indicate hours. At the center of the dial, a rotating sphere composed of one blued-steel and one palladium hemisphere, serves as a moon-phase indicator—one so accurate that it will not require adjustment for 1,112 years. To take advantage of the strength and resilience of titanium while preserving the watch’s futuristic design, De Bethune has applied the traditional art of steel bluing to the metal. This material encircles the moon-phase indicator and runs in a band along the minutes dial that is encrusted with bits of white gold to create the illusion of stars in the night sky.

A sapphire crystal on the back of the Digitale’s titanium case allows observation of the watch’s movement, which features a design resembling those normally found on the faces of other watches in the DB28 line. A De Bethune hallmark, the movement is equipped with self-regulating twin barrels that provide a power reserve of up to five days. Blending past with present, the movement’s bridges sport the traditional Côtes de Genève finish, while its silicon-and-white-gold balance wheel is pure 21st-century innovation. (www.debethune.ch)

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