The Manufacture De Bethune fancies itself as a brand focused on elegance and refinement in timekeeping, mostly inspired by watchmaking from the 18th century.
Founded in 2002, the independent brand keeps production in house, which means the quantities are low. But the quality and product differentiation is definitely there.
For instance, the brand has already developed no less than 26 calibres and about 150 one-off models. I’m not a necessarily a fan of the “unique piece” release (mostly because I know there is zero chance I will ever own one!) but it can nevertheless demonstrate what a brand is truly capable of.
- De Bethune DB25 Starry Varius
The latest from the manufacture from L’Auberson from Baselworld 2018 is a new interpretation of the DB25, called the “Starry Varius”. The press release proclaimed it a “success” and an “iconic, exceptional timepiece”, which may well turn out to be true. But only time will be able to tell us that.
For the time being, what we do know for sure is that this watch is a new take on the DB25, which cemented the brand’s star-studded dials as an integral part of its offering in recent years.
What might seem like a random scattering of celestial bodies on the captivating blue centre dial is anything but that. The pattern is personalized according to a specific geographical location and a given date. Then, the gold pins are fitted one by one on the star-studded sky, meaning that each watch is unique.
If that wasn’t enough in terms of dial decoration, the Milky Way galaxy patterns have also been added through laser beam micro milling, gilded with 24-carat gold leaf.
The captivating centre dial is offset with a more sober silver-toned outer ring, which showcases hour-markers matched by hand-polished rose gold hands.
- The stunning dial of the “Starry Varius”
A sapphire crystal on the back reveals the in-house mechanical manual winding DB2105 calibre. Oscillating at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour, the DB25 Starry Varius is equipped with the latest (patented) titanium balance wheel as well as the triple pare-chute shock-absorbing system.
The movement delivers a very impressive six-day power reserve thanks to a self-regulating twin barrel that De Bethune first brought to market in 2004.
The watch also sports “optimised proportions equally suited to men’s or women’s wrists.” In other words, the watch has more modest proportions, which is a good thing as far as I’m concerned.
In yet another indication that watches this year are shrinking in size, this model comes packaged in a slender titanium case measuring 8.8mm thick and 42mm across. While the diameter is modest in terms of contemporary men’s watches, it’s probably on the large side of the spectrum for the ladies.
Nevertheless, it has been sized with the hopes that it will make some inroads in the ladies’ market as well. Perhaps they will be enticed by the integrated hollowed lugs?
Barring that, the De Bethune DB25 Starry Varius will remain a classic-looking watch that has been refreshed slightly to meet the demands of today’s market.