An extremely rare, unusual and charismatic white gold moonphase 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. Estimated production period: 2016–2022. Case in 18k white gold, diameter 44mm, 11.2mm thick, lugs of a hollowed design, sapphire caseback. Polished and blued titanium dial with hand-fitted white gold pins depicting the stars, raised chapter ring in blued titanium with polished demi-spherical indexes, avant-garde ‘pomme de Breguet’ polished steel hands, spherical moonphase indicator in palladium and flame-blued steel. Manual-winding caliber DB2105v2, double barrel and 6-day power reserve. Functions – indication of time in hours and minutes, moonphase indicator at 12 o’clock, power reserve indicator on reverse of movement. Black leather strap, De Bethune pin buckle in 18k white gold. Numbered edition.
The spherical moonphase indicator, developed by De Bethune for its collection in 2004 and immediately realised 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 the present reference, this complication is presented in the most spectacular manner, with a polished and blued titanium dial with hand-fitted white gold pins depicting the stars, contrasting avant-garde ‘pomme de Breguet’ polished steel 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 hour and minute hands of the present reference are crafted from steel, polished and curved 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 by the brand in the DBS collection in 2005.
The De Bethune DB25 Moon Phase Starry Sky is a very rare watch with a total production volume of slightly over a hundred pieces since 2010, as evidenced by the number 108 of the present example, which belongs to the most recent production period.
The manual-winding DB2105v2 caliber of the present example, visible through the sapphire caseback, is an entirely in-house caliber. Having a more-than-sufficient 6-day power reserve, DB2105v1, its first version, was developed in 2010 for the DB25 Moon Phase and embedded with patented and exclusive De Bethune innovations such as a silicon annular balance encircled by a white gold ring, 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.
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 watches. The Star Trek design endows the movement with impressive charisma.
Most of the released DB25 Moon Phase Starry Sky examples, information about which is available, are equipped with the first version of the DB2105v1 caliber, which is divided into three generations of various configurations: Mk1, Mk2 and Mk3. The present example is powered by a redesigned DB2105v2 caliber, so we tend to designate this example as the Mk4. This movement is distinguished from the previous generation by several features. The main sign of the Mk4 type is the new blued titanium balance with white gold disc inserts, patented by De Bethune in 2016. Mk1 and Mk2 watches used a silicon annular balance encircled by a white gold ring (patented in 2010), while Mk3 watches were equipped with a titanium and platinum balance wheel with bud-shaped studs (patented in 2008). Among other features of the Mk4 are a modified engraving with the inscription “Silicon Escapement”, a missing caliber designation, a polished mainplate and shield-shaped barrel bridge, and a skeletonized barrel wheel, with spokes, on the right side of the shield-shaped barrel bridge – this was solid in the Mk1–Mk3 watches.
Reasons to bid
The De Bethune DB25 Moon Phase Starry Sky is a very rare watch with a total production volume of slightly over a hundred pieces since 2010, as evidenced by the number 108 of the present example, which belongs to the most recent production period. However, the significant technical evolution of the DB2105 caliber, with at least four versions with different types of balance wheel, balance bridge, barrel wheels and engravings, makes this model even more attractive as a collectible. Therefore, the present De Bethune DB25 Moon Phase Starry Sky Ref. DB25LWS3V2 Mk4 would be an incredibly attractive purchase for the collector and De Bethune watchmaking expertise aficionado, with an opportunity to obtain an unusual and charismatic timepiece of the extremely rare Mk4 type from this famous independent watch brand, one of the undoubted leaders in the haute horlogerie watch market.