A very rare, collectible and extremely fine white gold perpetual calendar wristwatch of the Swiss watch brand De Bethune, founded in 2002 by the Italian vintage watch dealer David Zanetta and French watchmaker Denis Flageollet. Reference launched in 2004. Case in 18k white gold, diameter 43.4mm, 12mm thick, cone-shaped lugs, sapphire caseback. Matte silver-plated gold four-part dial, raised chapter ring with blue Roman numerals and peripheral ‘railway’ minutes track, moonphase and leap-year sub-dial at 12 o’clock in polished and blued steel with stars in yellow gold, blued steel hands. Caliber DB2004, manual-winding, De Bethune patented 3-spoke titanium balance with platinum ogival weights, De Bethune patented self-compensating free sprung hairspring with a flat end-curve, double barrel, power reserve up to 5 days. Functions – indication of time in hours and minutes, perpetual calendar indicating date at 6 o’clock, days of the week in an aperture at 9 o’clock, months in an aperture at 3 o’clock and leap-year in an aperture at 12 o’clock, De Bethune spherical moonphase indicator at 12 o’clock. De Bethune black leather strap. De Bethune pin buckle in 18k white gold. Numbered edition. De Bethune reports only 45 pieces of this reference produced since 2004.
In 2004, just two years after its founding, De Bethune launched the ground-breaking DB15 perpetual calendar, embedded with an impressive list of unique features. The most notable innovation is the astronomical moonphase indicator, accurate to one lunar day every 122 years, with a lunar sphere made of platinum and blued steel that rotates around its axis representing the evolution of the moon phase. This complication is complemented by a traditional perpetual calendar with a ‘hidden’ leap year indicator, which is installed in the largest star of the decorative sub-dial of the moonphase indicator at 12 o’clock – directly below the spherical moon. The caliber DB2004 of the present reference features a 3-spoke titanium balance with platinum ogival weights, and self-compensating free sprung hairspring with a flat end-curve, both patented by De Bethune. The balance is set under a carefully crafted long elastic steel tourbillon-like bridge, the forerunner of the famous triple ‘pare-choc’ shock absorption system subsequently developed by Denis Flageollet, De Bethune’s technical genius.
In the early De Bethune collection, the DB15 Perpetual Calendar, for the first time, very convincingly manifested the unique style of the brand, which is its most valuable asset.
The DB2004 caliber, an entirely in-house production, is the brand’s first perpetual calendar movement. Having an impressive 5-day power reserve, it was developed in 2004 and designed in the characteristic De Bethune style, with an early version of a branded shield-shaped barrel bridge. The caliber’s innovative performance is underlined by its unusual shield-shaped barrel bridge design, visible through the sapphire caseback, aesthetic solid gold and silver-plated four-piece dial, and DB15 collection case with signature cone-shaped lugs.
In the early De Bethune collection, the DB15 Perpetual Calendar, for the first time, very convincingly manifested the unique style of the brand, which is its most valuable asset. Although the reference was launched 18 years ago, it remains relevant – both from a technical and stylistic point of view. This reference is discontinued, and the present example in 18k white gold with a solid-gold silvered dial is one of only 45 pieces ever produced by the brand.
Reasons to bid
The De Bethune DB15 Perpetual Calendar Ref. DB15WT would be an extremely attractive purchase for the collector and De Bethune watchmaking expertise aficionado, with an opportunity to obtain an extraordinary perpetual calendar and spherical moon phase wristwatch, the earliest of that type from this famous independent watch brand, one of the undoubted leaders in the haute horlogerie watch market. The short production span, unusual, memorable and immediately recognisable design, and peculiar interpretation of the perpetual calendar complication embodied in the present lot, undoubtedly add to its appeal.