Referred to as modern day alchemists, it has taken just eleven short years for two replica watchmaking devotees to build what history will doubtless view as the foundations of 21st century horology. In 2002, when David Zanetta, a collector with a passion for art, history and timepieces, decided to join forces in founding De Bethune with Denis Flageollet, a fourth generation descendant of replica watchmakers. Passion is at once the replica watchword, the winning formula and the reward for the constant personal commitment of these exceptional men. How else could one explain the nine patents, thirteen calibres, fifteen world premiere innovations and the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève “Aiguille d’Or” that this manufacture holds in just eleven years of existence. Each year for a few hundred fortunate connoisseurs around the world, De Bethune offers models enshrining the quintessence of mechanical horology.
The De Bethune DB28 Dark Shadows clearly embraces the principles and values of the manufacture. Fitted with a sandblasted anthracite zirconium round shaped middle case with a diameter 42.60 mm and a thickness of 9.20 mm, the DB28 Dark Shadows features the traditional short and long floating lugs also in sandblasted anthracite zirconium. The finish of the middle case and the floating lugs is smooth and precise as good as it gets. The blackness of the case design along with the openworked dial create an endless symphony of avant-garde design.
The black dial features an anthracite zirconium mirror polished hours ring with spherical hour markers in black mirror-polished steel and a black matte ruthenium finish with Côtes De Bethune and performance-zone read-off between 2 and 3 o’clock. The De Bethune spherical moon-phase indication in palladium and polished anthracite zirconium is the highlight of this dial at 6 o’clock. The skeletonized black polished steel hands evoke the design of the traditional Breguet hands but with a strong modern touch. Right above the moon-phase indication, one can admire the splendor of the intricate work that accompanies the set up for the elegantly finished balance and its spring. Gears, bridges and remarkably finished screws round out the design in a timeless and endless equation.
The winding crown, capriciously placed at 12 o’clock adds even more intricacy to the revolutionary design. A conjunction of forms and shapes that comes with endless possibilities.
Flipping the replica watch over, reveals another dimension that entices the eyes. The display case back with anti-reflective treatment on both sides allows for full and unobstructed view of the fascinating hand decorated De Bethune manual-wound calibre DB 2115 composed of 299 parts, a self regulating twin barrel, 38 jewels, a spherical moon-phase indication accurate to a degree of one lunar day every 122 years, a snailed mainplate, Côtes De Bethune and a perfectly contrasting power reserve indicator in white, black and red with a rose gold needle shaped hand. The movement beats at a frequency of 28,800 vph while providing a long lasting power reserve of 6 days. To make things even better, De Bethune chose to add a few contrasting wheels and rack in pink gold that make this timepiece rise in glory all the way to the stars.
This exceptional piece of ‘haute horlogerie’ is fitted with an extra supple black alligator strap with pin buckle that fits extremely comfortably. On the wrist, the replica watch wears considerably larger due to its floating lugs and not heavy at all. However, be prepared to sport one of the most unique looking replica watches out there and a true example of ‘haute horlogerie’ that doesn’t come with an astronomical price tag. Exceptional, refined and bold are some of the words that come to mind when wearing the De Bethune DB28 Dark Shadows Limited Edition. This replica watch is available in a limited edition of only 50 pieces.
Sticker Price CHF85,000. For more info on De Bethune click here.