Industry News – The Impressive ‘De Bethune’ Watches

De Bethune is a newly founded watch manufacturer located in La Chaux L’Auberson in the Swiss Jura close to the French border. Chairman is David Zanetta, a consultant for many watch collectors in the world, technical managing director is Denis Flageollet, a former professor at the watchmaking school of Le Locle. He is claimed to have made more than 200 ‘haute de gamme’ watches.

De Bethune started to make finest watches in an atelier style, almost ‘tailor made’ watches of highest elegance and refinement, and with a focus on best possible finish.

Right now they are making some 200 watches/year and have plans to finally finish 1200 watches/year. For this relatively low number they make quite an effort: They claim that almost all movements are manufactured in-house. For so few watches they already have an impressive collection to offer, from a simple automatic over minute repeaters, chronographs up to marine chronometers and pendulette clocks.

All wrist watches are in precious cases made of gold or platinum and share a diameter of 42mm with the characteristic ogival lugs. The dials are guilloched by hand. The movements are also entirely hand assembled. Many of them are unique and genuine ‘De Bethune’ constructions, but some are still sourced from outside the companies’ walls, but this will change in the future to complete in-house production.

Let me start to present you some watches (all pics are from a CD-ROM I got from them. Took me 5 months until I finally got this info…!):

(i) DB1 – Chronograph monopusher

– Cal. ‘De Bethune 2002′

– 21 jewels

– 21600 bph

– 36h autonomy

– 183 hand finished pieces

(ii) DB2 – hand wound watch with 7 days power reserve

– Cal. ‘De Bethune’

– 19 jewels

– 21600 bph

– 2 barrels

– 168h autonomy

– ? hand finished pieces

(iii) DB3 – hand wound watch with 7 days power reserve, GMT function and power reserve indicator

– Cal. ‘De Bethune’

– 21 jewels

– 21600 bph

– 2 barrel

– 168h autonomy

– power reserve integrated mechanism in the base plate

– all functions operated by the crown

(iv) DB4 – hand wound watch with minute repeater

– Cal. ‘De Bethune’

– 25 jewels

– 18000 bph

– minute repeater

– 24h autonomy

(v) DB5 – automatic watch with central seconds

– Cal. ‘De Bethune 2072′

– 20 jewels

– 21600 bph

– 36h autonomy

– rotor in 22k gold

(vi) DB11 – Marine chronometer with force constant, small seconds and strike-silent mechanism for the quarts and 10days power reserve

– Cal. ‘De Bethune DC03′

– 8 jewels

– 18000 bph

– 2 barrels

– 240h autonomy

– winding and setting from back of chronometer case

– case in solid brass, 10,2cm diameter

(vii) Pendulette – unfortunately no information on the CD-ROM

(viii) Piece Unique 1: Chronograph Rattrapante with perpetual calendar and big date indication

– Cal. ‘De Bethune’

– 27 jewels

– 18000 bph

– Breguet balance

– 30h autonomy

– 294 hand finished parts

(ix) Piece Unique 2: Tourbillon, minute repeater, equation of time and perpetual calendar

– Cal. ‘De Bethune’

– 20 jewels

– 18000 bph

– Breguet balance

– 30h autonomy

– 319 hand finished parts

– woolf’s teeth wheels on crown and mainspring wheel

Pretty impressive I guess. I hope that De Bethune gets it’s customer communication department to work properly. I believe this is a company to watch carefully in the near future, and I hope exciting things are to come!

Best regards,

Magnus Bosse

5/5/03

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