Hands-on De Bethune DB28GS Grand Bleu
Independent watchmaker De Bethune is in a category of its own. Ever since its creation in 2002, the brand has shown a unique approach to watchmaking combining artistic and technical innovation. The brand’s evolution of its sports-oriented watch is no exception… Bold, sporty, made to dive but still 100% recognizable, meet the De Bethune DB28GS Grand Bleu.
The DB28GS is unmistakably De Bethune but it looks more rugged and aggressive… and as always is in a class of its own, miles away from the traditional no-nonsense dive watch. Crafted in titanium and water-resistant to 105m – the deep-dive record of Jacques Mayol, the character who inspired Luc Besson’s Le Grand Bleu movie – its case stands out with its imposing 44mm diameter.
The first change you notice with this more robust build is the rotating bezel. It comes with a coined edge for better grip but the De Bethune DB28GS Grand Bleu does not feature the traditional diving graduation and marking. Instead, these appear on the crystal that is driven by the bezel. The taut lines of the neo-futuristic case incorporate floating lugs (the new shorter ones unveiled last year) to enhance wearing comfort. This patented system easily adapts to the size of the wrist and its various movements.
LET THERE BE LIGHT
The crown is located at 12 o’clock. One of the stand-out features of the De Bethune DB28GS Grand Bleu is activated on-demand, via the pusher at 6 o’clock. A lighting system allows you to illuminate the watch, in order to read the time in the darkest depths. Fully mechanical, it works with no electronics or batteries. A small gear train is driven by the watch’s twin barrels. Just like a bicycle dynamo, it generates electricity and light.
This ingenious system is paired with the use of special photo-luminescent material to improve readability in dim light. The research for this material was conducted with James Thompson’s Black Badger Advanced Composites, in collaboration with Super-LumiNova. The aim was to develop a material containing crystals capable of two different colour emissions: one for daytime, allowing the De Bethune blue to come through for full effect in natural light; and one for nighttime, radiating the same tone in the dark.
Inside the De Bethune DB28GS Grand Bleu is the hand-wound calibre DB2080 displaying hours, minutes, central seconds and the power reserve. Visible from the front and the back of the watch, this superbly finished movement is made of no fewer than 400 parts. Running at 28,800 vibrations per hour and storing 5 days of energy, it incorporates several of the brand’s innovations, including its in-house oscillator (optimized titanium/white gold balance wheel, De Bethune balance spring with a flat terminal curve), balance wheel triple shock-absorbing system and self-regulating twin barrels.
The De Bethune DB28GS Grand Bleu is delivered with a textured rubber strap and a spare leather/canvas strap. It is secured to the wrist with a titanium folding buckle. Price is set at CHF 85,000. For more information, please visit www.debethune.ch.