An extremely rare, attractive and sporty titanium 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 2018. Date of purchase: 2021. Case in polished grade 5 titanium, diameter 43mm, 9mm thick, mobile (‘floating’) lugs in titanium with pivoting system, winding crown at 12 o’clock, sapphire caseback. Caliber AutoV2, self-winding, power reserve up to 60 hours. Functions – time indication in hours, minutes and seconds. Navy blue leather strap, De Bethune pin buckle in titanium. Numbered edition. De Bethune reports only 14 pieces made since 2018.
In 2018, De Bethune added to the DB27 collection two new DB27 Titan Hawk V2 references, with a blue and a white silvered dial. The DB27 Titan Hawk V2 is a continuation of the original DB27 Titan Hawk (V1) that launched the DB27 collection in 2012, which at the time was an entry-level proposition of De Bethune. The design of the V2 is slightly more discreet than the V1 version, as the Titan Hawk V2 offers a less crowded dial without the central date display of the V1, which had a huge skeleton date pointer. Instead, in the V2 a thin central second hand is featured. The Titan Hawk V2 retains a lightweight titanium case with the brand’s signature floating lugs, which make the feeling of the watch on the wrist incredibly attractive.
The simpler dial of the Titan Hawk V2 retains the eye-catching features of the V1, but has received design changes that clearly create a distance between the V2 and V1. The date circle and its pointer hand are gone, and the brand has ditched the circular Microlight finish. The large Arabic numerals of the minute circle in the Titan Hawk V2 accompany the Roman numerals of the chapter ring located inside – this reads as a tribute to the dials of classic pocket watches of the late 17th and 18th centuries – expressed in modern graphic codes, of course. The Microlight finish of the V2 dial features fine, embossed concentric grooves chiselled along the edges of the Reuleaux triangle, another association from the history of mechanics, however distant, which enhances the extraordinary appearance of this watch. The central embossed part of the dial is shaped as a shield, which looks like the shape of the Star Trek movie logo. This is traditional to De Bethune and reads as a clear reference to the brand’s DNA, while the V1 models were deprived of this design element. The return of the shield-shaped element to the V2 is all the more appropriate because the AutoV2 caliber of this watch has a different shape of barrel bridge, in the form of a polyhedron with convex sides.
The Microlight finish of the V2 dial features fine, embossed concentric grooves chiselled along the edges of the Reuleaux triangle, another association from the history of mechanics, however distant, which enhances the extraordinary appearance of this watch.
The back of the DB27 Titan Hawk V2 features a full-size sapphire caseback. This is a definite advantage of this version, since the V1 models had only a small round window on the back of the case above the balance. In the V2, the caliber is fully visible, and for good reason – this is a new self-winding AutoV2 caliber, which replaced the S233 of the V1 version. De Bethune decided to significantly reduce the power reserve from 6 days for the S233 to 60 hours (2.5 days) for the AutoV2. For automatic watches, this reduction in power reserve is not a problem, because if the owner wears the watch every day, there will be no difference.
The AutoV2 caliber has lost the De Bethune triple shock resistance system, but has received the brand’s latest blued titanium balance with white gold inserts, paired with a De Bethune hairspring with flat terminal curve, a steel escapement wheel instead of a silicon one (a big advantage for a collector) and a new decorative self-winding rotor made from a titanium and tungsten alloy. The rotor, protective ring pad of the caliber and the bridge of the self-winding gear are finished with a deep blue Microlight finish, while the barrel bridge and tungsten rotor segment are decorated with a textured snail finish. A connoisseur of watch mechanics will surely be attracted by the wheel of the winding gear featuring an opened ratchet for unidirectional winding.
De Bethune is one of the most visible players among small watch brands, targeting mainly discerning clientele, watchmaking connoisseurs and collectors. In this market segment, the brand enjoys an exceptional position and active loyalty from its followers. By producing collectible watches, the brand maintains this specialisation, even in entry-level references. Production remains exclusive and small-scale, which undoubtedly increases the attractiveness of De Bethune watches for collectors. The brand states that since the launch of the DB27 Titan Hawk V2 Ref. DB27TIS3V2PS only 14 pieces have been produced. The present example bears No. 005, meaning it belongs to the earliest period of production of this reference, also adding to the attractiveness of this lot.
Reasons to bid
The De Bethune DB27 Titan Hawk V2 Ref. DB27TIS3V2PS would be a very attractive purchase for the collector and De Bethune watchmaking expertise aficionado, with an opportunity to obtain an extremely rare, striking and sporty titanium wristwatch from this famous independent watch brand, one of the undoubted leaders in the haute horlogerie watch market. The attractiveness of this lot is determined by the rarity of the reference, with only 14 pieces produced since 2018; the early release period of the present example, which carries No. 005; and the special design of the titanium case, with floating lugs and a charismatic blue dial with Microlight finish of the Reuleaux triangle type that only appears on the DB27 Titan Hawk V2 models.