Some kiosks at Baselworld are just ‘hot’. That is to say that without a pre-arranged appointment made weeks ago you will most likely only be able to look and not touch. Other kiosks less so, and one can saunter in and soon find oneself sat in front of the MD or principal watch maker for a lengthy chat about their collections. The De Bethune kiosk is one example of the former and with good reason: although only in their twelfth year the company, established by David Zanetta and Denis Flageolet, has already garnered a solid and growing following of devotees for whom a new model from De Bethune is a significant and newsworthy must see event.
De Bethune have become synonymous with the exquisite marriage of design and novel interpretation of classic complications, and for Baselworld 2014, De Bethune will present their latest piece, the DB29 Maxichrono Tourbillon which offers the chronograph complication in a beautifully simple and uncluttered format, much more in the classic style rather than the sporty image the typical chronograph conjures up in the minds eye.
Set upon a dial which gracefully rises and falls to segregate the functions, the five central indicators, four in flame blued steel and one – the chronograph minutes – in rose gold, mean that instead of using subdials to observe and record the passing of elapsed time in standard chronograph fashion, both the seconds and minutes are read, to one tenth of a second, on the same outer track. Falling away into the recessed register in the centre the passage of up to 24 hours is displayed.
Encased in an immaculately appointed 5N rose gold case with cone shaped lugs, the absence of pushers, due to the integrated coaxial mono-pusher and crown solution, ensure that the contours of the Maxichrono Tourbillon remain unmolested, save only for the discreet button adjacent to the crown whose function serves to release the solid case back and allow it to pivot on it’s invisible hinge, thereby revealing the technically profound hand wound DB2309 movement. With its ingenious and complex multi-clutch chronograph system which control the hours, minutes and seconds and allows the semi autonomous operation of each, and of course that mesmerizing De Bethune 30 second tourbillon in silicon and titanium beating away hidden from sight, the movement is as inventive as the overall design is flawless.
As ever with De Bethune, the attention to detail is breathtaking, and the execution of each element is to perfection, and with production of this new De Bethune DB29 Maxichrono Tourbillon restricted to a mere twenty pieces per year, only the few will get to possess one, so that long-standing, pre-arranged appointment on the De Bethune kiosk is one to keep. Otherwise, it will be ‘look and don’t touch’!