Baselworld 2016: DB28 & DB28T – Kind of Blue

Baselworld 2016: DB28 & DB28T – Kind of Blue

In honour of the colour blue, a fundamental element of its identity, De Bethune presents a monochromatic range of its iconic models, DB28 and DB28T. Radical and magnetic, their colour is created by an artisanal and natural treatment of the metals.

De Bethune has devoted considerable research into natural blue, because the brand considers this colour to be symbolically related to the concept of infinity and harmony. Therefore, De Bethune has dedicated two new creations to this colour, both entirely blue, and united them under the name Kind of Blue.

Experimental blue

At De Bethune, the colour blue is imbued with a broad and deep meaning. Evoking simultaneously water, the sky and space, the colour blue is above all envisaged as a luminous vibration by David Zanetta, Curator and Co-Counder, and Denis Flageollet, Master Watchmaker and Co-Founder. At De Bethune, each colour corresponds to a different type of energy derived from the colours of which it is composed.

Blue is also associated with the notion of plenitude: within and beyond itself, and as far as this unfathomable infinity that is the universe, the source of life. So blue becomes a vector that subtly connects mankind with his physical and his spiritual environment. Seen in the context of artistic expression, the concept of blue approaches the magic of music, which is the inspiration for the name given to these creations.

Hand and heat

To create its own blue, De Bethune relied exclusively on a traditional technique, and all the parts in titanium and steel used in Kind of Blue were treated in this manner. It consists of heating the material to colour its surface through oxidation and to modify its physical properties in the process. Since its invention at the beginning of the 16th century, the technique has been used by watchmakers to give a new lustre to watch parts without altering their finishings. It also provides protection against corrosion. The synonym of watchmaking excellence, it requires a preliminary fine polishing, followed by a heating phase, normally by flame, to create a natural and long-lasting protective film, at the same time as it increases the hardness of the piece. Steel and iron were the only materials treated in this manner until De Bethune began its own experiments with titanium. Finalised in 2006, the technique is now applied to the purest form of this material, grade 5 titanium. Entirely done by hand, this extremely demanding treatment involves the development of a whole new repertory of steps, because titanium has proven to be a very arduous material to remodel. To give it its definitive lustre, the artisans at De Bethune have to demonstrate exceptional tenacity with each piece they work on.

Range of colours

The thermal treatment for Kind of Blue is applied not only to the elements of the case, but also to most of the parts of the movement. Thus, each part is studied individually, as the process has to be adapted according to its form and its mass. This preliminary phase is essential to ensure a uniform range of tones in the finished product. However, the human touch and the different typologies of the materials result in very subtle variations. These nuances are essential for De Bethune, because they create a visual resonance that affects the appearance of the finished piece. Actually, the definitive colour comes from the sum of all these variations and it is expressed by a kind of overall vibration.

DB28 Kind of Blue

An iconic De Bethune model, the DB28 presents a case made of polished grade 5 titanium, mounted on two floating lugs to ensure superior wearing comfort. On the inside, the mechanical calibre with manual winding is fully visible and integrates several fundamental technical inventions. The patented spherical moon-phase is positioned at 6 o’clock. Made of steel and palladium, it offers precision that varies by only one lunar day every 122 years. At the heart of the watch, the high-performance escapement developed by De Bethune presents a silicon annular balance, encircled by a white gold ring and a balance-spring with a flat terminal curve that is exclusive to De Bethune. It is protected by a triple pare-chute shock-absorbing system. Power is accumulated and distributed through two self-regulating barrels, also developed by De Bethune. An indicator needle positioned between 2 and 3 o’clock indicates the level of torque that has been built up. The power reserve indicator can be read on the back of the plate, which is decorated with special concentric graining. All the finishes are done by hand with a motion work bridge in polished titanium, bridges with “Côtes De Bethune” decoration and rose-work grinding on the barrel ratchets. The hours are indicated by skeleton hands on arrow pointers made of polished steel.

DB28T Kind of Blue

The DB28T, a technical development of the DB28, adopts the same case in polished titanium held by double floating lugs for maximum comfort. Its mechanical calibre with hand winding is equipped with a high frequency, ultra fast tourbillon, signed De Bethune. The lightest in the world with its minuscule 0.20 grammes for 63 parts, it beats at one-tenth of a second and makes a complete rotation in 30 seconds for superior chronometry. Its silicon balance wheel, just as its escape wheel, is encircled with a white gold ring. A self-regulating twin barrel developed in-house ensures constant torque in the movement. Entirely visible, the movement presents a curved delta motion work bridge in polished titanium decorated with applied microsphere stars in white gold.

Decorated by hand, the parts present various types of high watchmaking finishes, with rose-work grinding on the barrel ratchets and on the back, a plate with “De Bethune” concentric graining. The hours are marked by arrow pointers in pink gold, and as an added touch of luxury, indicated by skeleton hands also fashioned in pink gold.

At once supreme and delicate, the Kind of Blue DB28 and DB28T emit a singular radiance from the very material from which they are made. They truly advocate in favour of a colour that casts a magical spell.