Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Hands-On with the De Bethune DB25 World Traveller

De Bethune recently introduced its first dual time zone wristwatch, and like all its other timepieces the DB25 World Traveller is constructed and finished to a remarkably high standard.



De Bethune watches are always unusual and gorgeously finished, even when equipped with a straightforward complication. Such is the case with the DB25 World Traveller, an elaborately executed dual time zone wristwatch.


The functions of the DB25 World Traveller are easy to understand. A pusher at eight o'clock advances the home time display comprised of the cities disc and second time indicator in one hour intervals. The home time indicator is no mere hand, instead it is sphere in two halves of pink gold and blued steel. This is a feature borrowed from De Bethune's spherical moon phase that is a brand signature.



Day and night are indicated by the halves of the sphere - pink gold means day time and the blued steel side is night. That is not entirely necessary, given that the home time track has a 24-hour scale that already distinguishes between day and night, but it is a marvellous detail. The only downside of the sphere is the height it requires, which makes the case a relatively thick 13.7 mm.



Not all the 24 time zones of the world have a corresponding city on the dial, leaving it asymmetrical. The length of the city names also vary, resulting in varying font sizes and kerning (which is the spacing between letters) for the lettering of the cities, something that throws the look off balance.

Local time is displayed on the central hands; the hour hand can be advanced in one hour intervals via the crown. And on the very edge of the dial is a tiny pointer for the date that is somewhat small.

Up close the dial offers a variety of finishes of noticeably high quality. The numerals for the hours and date, for instance, are engraved and filled with black lacquer. While the chapter ring has a matte, grained finish, the  cities disc is engraved with a fine, concentric guilloche. Each city marked on the edge by a blued steel sphere embedded on a pink gold plated ring, a colour mirrored by the date ring.



From the back the detail is even more exquisite. The triangular delta bridge is made of stainless steel and polished to a remarkable mirror finish. In its centre De Bethune has applied a new finished technique that is essentially engraving that is modelled on Cotes de Geneve stripes.




Though the movement is almost monochromatic in its brilliant silver tone, the blued steel components of the triple pare-chute shock absorber (the inverted V-shape) and the horizontal balance bridge stand out. The balance bridge is mirror polished, giving it a slightly different tone of blue.



And the balance wheel is one of De Bethune's own, a patented titanium balance with white gold weights for poising. Barely visible just beside the balance is the silicon escape wheel.



Like most other De Bethune watches the DB25 World Traveller is large, being 45 mm in diameter. It's currently available only in white gold. And like most other De Bethune watches the DB25 World Traveller is pricey, though that's mitigated by the exceptionally high quality of the construction and finish. It will cost SFr140,000, equivalent to US$142,000.