lot 04

De Bethune


This watch was featured at the "Contemporary Independents" auction

Starting bid CHF 35 000
Hammer price CHF 52 000
Total bids 17


CaseWhite gold case 750/1000 with pierced lugs, sapphire caseback
StrapBlack Alligator strap with original white gold pin buckle
DialSilvered engine turned dial, with Roman numerals, blued hands, spherical moonphase at 12 o'clock
MovementHand-wound movement with two main spring barrels, six day power reserve indication, moonphase function
Movement No.2105.195
Case No.71

Condition report

Case:Very good, small signs of wear
Strap:Good, small signs of wear
Dial:Mint condition
Movement:All functions working properly
Amplitude (Dial on top/Lift angle 52):Approx 300°
Accuracy (Dial on top):Approx +10 sec/day


An extremely rare, astronomic and charismatic white gold 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 introduced in 2010. Case in 18k white gold, diameter 44mm, 11.2mm thick, lugs of a hollowed design, sapphire caseback. Matt silver-plated dial with central zone decorated by ‘lotus’ guilloché motif, raised chapter ring with dark-blue pad-printed Roman numerals, De Bethune avant-garde ‘pomme de Breguet’ blued steel hands, spherical moonphase indicator in palladium and flame-blued steel on a blued steel sub-dial inlaid with yellow gold stars. Manual-winding caliber DB2105V1 (marked as DB2105S), double barrel and 6-day power reserve. Functions – indication of time in hours and minutes, moonphase indicator at 12 o’clock accurate up to 122 years, power reserve indicator on the reverse of the movement. De Bethune black leather strap with De Bethune pin buckle in 18k white gold. Numbered edition. 

Lot essay 

The spherical moonphase indicator, developed by De Bethune for its collection in 2004 and immediately realized in the DB15 series of perpetual calendar watches, is perceived as one of the symbols of the brand’s collection, appearing in a variety of versions. In this reference, this complication is presented in the most modest manner, with the dial carrying only the hands for the time display and a spherical moonphase indicator at 12 o’clock. The latter is three dimensional, consisting of two hemispheres made of palladium and flame-blued steel. The present reference comes with curved hour and minute hands, crafted from blued steel. The curved shape allows the hands to pass over the three-dimensional moonphase indicator unimpeded. Their shape is one of the typical De Bethune designs, a kind of avant-garde reinterpretation of the so-called ‘Breguet hands’ – ‘pomme de Breguet’, introduced in 2005 in the DBS collection. 

Designed for the DB15 and DB16 models (launched in 2004), the movement’s signature architecture, featuring a central shield-shaped barrel bridge inspired by the Star Trek logo, is revealed through the sapphire caseback of the DB25 Moon Phase watch. The Star Trek design endows the movement with impressive charisma. 

The De Bethune DB25 Moon Phase Ref. DB25LWS1V1 is a very rare watch, with a total production volume of less than a hundred pieces since 2010.

While most of the released Ref. DB25LWS1V1, information about which is available, have markings of the dial’s chapter ring realised in black, the present example shows the chapter ring markings finished in navy blue in the manner used by the brand in some previous releases, for example, in the DB25WS1 and DB25RS1 (2007), or in the even earlier DB15R, DB15W and DB15P (2004). In the available official sources, there is no information for the existence of Ref. DB25LWS1V1 with a navy-blue markings dial. 

The manual-winding DB2105V1 caliber of the present example, visible through the sapphire caseback, is an entirely in-house caliber. Having more than sufficient 6-day power reserve, it was developed in 2010 for the DB25 Moon Phase and embedded with patented and exclusive De Bethune innovations such as a hairspring with flat terminal curve, and a unique triple shock resistance system with flat steel fixing springs and a polished flexible horizontal bridge. The power reserve indicator, located on the reverse side of the movement, is made as a slot, arched along the balance bridge. 

The De Bethune DB25 Moon Phase Ref. DB25LWS1V1 is a very rare watch, with a total production volume of less than a hundred pieces since 2010. However, the significant technical evolution of the DB2105V1 caliber, with at least three versions with different types of balance wheel, balance bridge and engraving, makes this reference even more attractive as a collectible. In particular, the present example belongs to the late production period of this reference, and according to our research features the third type execution version – Mk3, which is characterized by a De Bethune titanium and platinum balance wheel with bud-shaped studs, a monolithic balance bridge of tourbillon-bridge design with flat cylindrical polishing, and a mainplate engraved by the inscription “Silicon Escapement Wheel”. According to our study, earlier examples used a balance with a silicon disc encircled by a white gold ring and could be accompanied by either an early flat framed balance bridge (Mk1) or a late tourbillon-like balance bridge (Mk2), in both cases, the movement was engraved with “Silicon Balance Wheel”. 

Reasons to bid 

DB25 Moon Phase Ref. DB25LWS1V1 watches are rare on the market, especially when compared with the rose gold reference DB25LRS1V1. Moreover, the present ‘Navy-Blue Markings Dial’ execution with a Mk3 caliber execution is much rarer, meaning the present lot would be an incredibly attractive purchase for the collector and De Bethune watchmaking expertise aficionado, with an opportunity to obtain an extremely rare and charismatic mechanical timepiece from this famous independent watch brand, one of the undoubted leaders in the haute horlogerie watch market. The combination of impeccable technical workmanship, manifested in the manufacture of an unusual manual-winding caliber, the exquisite artisanal finishing of the dial of the rarest ‘Navy-Blue Markings Dial’ execution, featuring the branded spherical moonphase indicator, undoubtedly adds to the appeal of this lot.