Astronomical timepieces are an increasingly popular sub-genre within the luxury watch category, but even amidst stiff competition, the new DB25 Starry Varius from Geneva-based De Bethune stands out for its elegant, dreamy rendering of the cosmos.
Unveiled in March during the Baselworld fair in Switzerland, the piece has been described as a “poetic interpretation of the traditional DB25,” a model introduced in 2008 and a big focus for the brand since 2011. Typically produced in a 44 mm case, the DB25 has been reduced for the Starry Varius edition to a slender 42 mm case in polished grade 5 titanium.
But that’s not the only update. The model now boasts perfectly integrated and openworked lugs (refined for comfort) and—the pièce de résistance—a beguiling blue dial that can be customized to show the nighttime sky as seen from a specific geographical location on a given date (such as a client’s wedding, birthday, or the birth of a child).
The independent watchmaker, founded in 2002, has developed a reputation for creating star-studded dials, such as the 2011 Starry Sky model with fully blue titanium dial, and the Starry Varius is in keeping with that tradition. “When you want to observe time in motion without any instruments, you look upwards,” De Bethune cofounder Denis Flageollet says.
The default sky on the Starry Varius depicts a Milky Way dusted with gilded stars, applied using the traditional gold leaf technique and enhanced by laser beam micro-milling. The model’s hand-polished rose gold hands have been designed to match the hour-markers set on a silver-toned ring. Its manual wind mechanical movement is equipped with the latest titanium balance wheel and silicon escape wheel as well as a triple pare-chute shock-absorbing system.
The watch, which comes on an alligator strap with a titanium buckle, retails for $66,000. For a dial featuring a customized constellation, the price is $68,000. Given De Bethune’s 2018 production of 105 pieces in total, however, availability of the Starry Varius is extremely limited.