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Launching this week at the Geneva Watch Days event is a new iteration of the De Bethune DB28 Steel Wheels, equipped with a tourbillon movement whose delta-shaped bridge, and two barrel covers, are in sapphire crystal. The timepiece follows the futuristic design of the first DB28, which hit the market in 2010, borrowing the unusually shaped case, inspired by pocket watches and patented innovative floating lugs, designed for maximum comfort. In 2011, it took home the Aiguille d’Or prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve (GPHG). The new reference perpetuates the brand’s bold aesthetics, following a series of variants, from the DB28 Skybridge to the more recent DB25 Starry Varius Chronomètre Tourbillon.

The DB28 Steel Wheels Sapphire Tourbillon Ref. DB28SWTTIS.

The DB28 Steel Wheels Sapphire Tourbillon stays faithful to the vision of founder and watchmaker of De Bethune, Denis Flageolet, with its sleek and taut lines and movement infused with the latest technological advances. Among those advances are the signature delta-shaped bridge and barrel covers in sapphire crystal — blue for the bridge and clear for the barrel covers — which together create reflections that magnifies the movement’s architecture and allow the eye to peer into its inner heart.

The signature delta-shaped bridge and barrel covers create a reflection that magnifies the movement’s architecture and allow the eye to peer into its inner heart.

The sapphire glass components, cut by laser, fit perfectly with the forms, rises, angles, and the teeth of the bridge and barrel covers; a ring of polished titanium encircles each barrel cover. The use of sapphire for the delta-shaped bridge, both barrel covers, and the laser-cut of the glass, are a first for the brand. The bridge’s sapphire crystal is 1 mm thick “to ensure functional rigidity,” while the sapphire crystal of the barrel covers is 0.3 mm thick, which according to the brand, is “resistant to small everyday shocks.”

The sapphire crystal delta bridge, barrel covers, and the laser-cut glass, are a first for the brand.

The DB28 Steel Wheels Sapphire Tourbillon’s dial comes with a circular-grained titanium hour rings, spherical polished titanium hour markers, on a blue-colored polished titanium circle. The hand-made hour hand, made at a workshop in Sainte-Croix, Switzerland, consists of four elements: a steel barrel, a titanium insert, an inner component in matte titanium and polished titanium for the outer component. At the back is the power-reserve indication, using a manually blued steel hand also made in De Bethune’s workshop.

At the back is the power-reserve indicator using a hand-made blued-steel hand.

The movement, Caliber DB2019V5, is a titanium-and-silicon creation which beats at 36,000 vph. According to De Bethune, its tourbillon cage weighs 0.18 grams (it is the lightest ever created) and rotates manually every 30 seconds. The movement measures 30 mm in diameter and weighs less than 0.0001 grams. It comprises 272 components, held together by a microscale exoskeleton, that can hold a power-reserve up to 5 days, ensured by the movement’s self-regulating twin barrel.

The DB28 Steel Wheels Sapphire Tourbillon is limited to 10 models.

The case of the DB28 Steel Wheels Sapphire Tourbillon is in polished grade 5 titanium, mounted on floating lugs, with a diameter of 43 mm and a height of 9.80 mm. It comes mounted on an alligator leather strap with a polished grade 5 titanium pin buckle, limited to just 10 models.

Hands-On Photos:

Manufacturer: De Bethune
Model: DB28 Steel Wheels Sapphire Tourbillon
Reference number: DB28SWTTIS1
Functions: Hours, minutes, 30-second indicator at tourbillon cage at 6 o’clock, power-reserve indicator on the back, time setting function at the crown,
Movement: DB2019V5, mechanical, hand-wound, 36,000-vph, 272 components, 39 jewels, 5-day power-reserve
Case: Titanium, water-resistant to 30 meters
Bracelet and clasp: Alligator leather, polished grade 5 titanium pin buckle
Dimensions: Case:
Diameter = 43 mm
Height = 9.80 mm
Movement:
Diameter = 30 mm
Weight = Less than 0.0001 grams
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