The Swiss watch brand De Bethune was founded in 2002 by the Italian vintage watch dealer David Zanetta and French-born watchmaker Denis Flageollet. The goal of the founders was to launch a collection of exclusive and collectible watches of the highest quality.
Introduced in 2002, the inaugural collection consisted of four base models – the DB1, DB2, DB3 and DB5 of a neoclassical style, with guilloche dials featuring Roman numeral markings, a railway-style minute track and a round case with distinctive bullet-shaped lugs. In 2004, the brand introduced its breakthrough technical developments, including a first-generation titanium/platinum balance, hairspring with flat terminal curve, and a spherical moonphase indicator. Developed with the use of these innovations, the first in-house mechanical caliber DB2004 featuring a perpetual calendar and spherical moonphase indicator was launched in the DB15 collection. The unusual design of the DB2004 caliber, with a central shield-shaped double-barrel bridge, defined the style of De Bethune movements for a long time.
The DBS, an unusual watch with an asymmetrical case, was introduced in 2005, along with a new caliber DB2014. This had a reverse layout with a balance on the dial side and a power reserve indicator on the reverse side. In 2006, the brand began to use silicon components in the escape wheel and lever, and also invented the triple-parachute anti-shock system, one of the main technical features of the brand’s watches. These and other inventions were applied in the development of the chronograph caliber DB2034 and automatic caliber DB2024 with a central shock-absorber system for the ceramic ball-bearing. The collection was expanded with a new sports watch, the DB20, as well as an unusual version of the DBS design with a digital time indicator – the DB Digitale. The sporty collection received new DB22 models in 2007, while the classic design was pushed forward with the introduction of the DB25 collection with unusual hollow lugs. In 2008, the sports collection was updated with the introduction of the new DB24, featuring a mechanism for controlling the speed of automatic winding. The classic direction was enriched with the unusual DB26 watch with transparent hands, a perpetual calendar and swinging spring lugs – a new word in watch design.
In 2006, the brand began to use silicon components in the escape wheel and lever, and also invented the triple-parachute anti-shock system, one of the main technical features of the brand’s watches.
Caliber 2105 with a power reserve of 6 days, developed in 2008 in an upgraded version with annular silicon and white gold balance, was used in the DB25 Moon Phase launched in 2010. An ultra-light tourbillon with silicon parts appeared in the Dream Watch 3 concept watch in 2009. Since 2011, the brand has been producing an advanced version of this complication with a seconde morte. The swinging lugs design has been a staple of the DB28 collection since 2011, and in that November the watch won De Bethune the “Aiguille d’Or”, the highest distinction of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. In 2012, The Ninth Mayan Underworld model laid the foundation for the direction of decorative watches, and in 2014 the brand launched the serial production of its own MaxiChrono chronograph.
In 2017, the brand ran into financial difficulties. David Zanetta left the company, which was taken over by new shareholders, including Pierre Jacques, the CEO of De Bethune, who runs the brand together with Denis Flageollet.
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