WatchTime New York 2021 is in full swing, and avant-garde watchmaker De Bethune is drawing admiration with the unveiling today of its latest limited edition, the Dream Watch 5 Tourbillon ‘Season 1.’ The new watch follows a year of impressive releases by the brand, including the travel-focused DB25GMT Starry Varius, interstellar DB28XP Meteorite, and the attention-commanding DB Kind of Two Tourbillon DB29.
The DW5 Tourbillon ‘Season 1’ is also notably the first release by De Bethune since news broke in late August of pre-owned watch reseller WatchBox’s purchase of a majority stake in the company, signaling for now that the creative and boundary pushing design work De Bethune is best known for is unlikely to slow as a result of the change.
Like all De Bethune timepieces, the latest release has a story behind it, in this case a particularly fascinating one. As the brand tells it, sometime last year the rapper and record producer Swizz Beatz spontaneously reached out to De Bethune and posed its watchmakers a challenge: create a totally different Dream Watch 5, one that would newly convey the brand’s “resolutely futuristic vision of the watchmaking art.” That initial conversation led to an ongoing discussion, ultimately inspiring the brand to partner with Swizz Beatz and take up his horological challenge.
To meet that mark, De Bethune founder and watchmaker Denis Flageollet endeavored to create a watch that joined the brand’s existing achievements in haute horologerie, with a refreshed focus to develop a “singular, refined and sophisticated” timepiece that additionally remained “user-friendly and easily legible,” while still “based on materials and construction typifying De Bethune’s quest for contemporary aestheticism.” The outcome was a development process that centered on themes of light and transparency, this focus in turn refreshing De Bethune’s approach to the use of sapphire crystal, blued titanium, and movement finishing, ultimately resulting in the timepiece that was unveiled today.
Taking a closer look at the new DW5 Tourbillon ‘Season 1,’ we find a watch accurately described by De Bethune as a “veritable wrist sculpture” In terms of form, it follows in the steps of previous Dream Watches in its futuristic silhouette, which is unlike anything else on the market. New to this model, however, is its novel use of sapphire, titanium, and cutting-edge finishing techniques, resulting in an azure-toned spaceship for the wrist that represents what De Bethune calls its “ongoing research into shapes, materials and colors.”
The new Dream Watch features a 58-mm by 47-mm by 17-mm nose-cone-like case shape that De Bethune describes as “ogive.” Enhanced with hand-polished facets and engraved motifs, the case is constructed from blued grade 5 titanium with sapphire blue inserts, hardened mineral glass, and a Cabochon-cut blue sapphire on its crown. Underneath the crystal, the various timekeeping elements are on display, its ultra-clean configuration including a small, two-tone moon-phase sphere composed of blued steel and palladium, and a minimalist digital display of the hours and minutes, the former moving in a jumping motion, the latter trailing in a more traditional sweep.
On the flip side of the futuristic timepiece, we come to another sapphire crystal, this one exhibiting the De Bethune Caliber DB2149 that powers the display. The movement is filled with many of the brand’s famed patented technologies, which notably include a silicon-and-titanium 30-second tourbillon, a four-day power reserve ensured by a twin barrel, and an ultra-high frequency of 36,000 vph. The manually wound mechanism, like the rest of the watch, is hand-finished and decorated, aesthetically providing a sense of restrained luxury that was obviously well-thought-out for this first “season” of the revitalized Dream Watch 5.
The De Bethune DW5 Tourbillon ‘Season 1’ will be limited to 10 total editions, priced at $520,000 each. If you’re in the NYC area, you still have a chance to see it at its world premiere, alongside countless other rare and important watches. You can buy your last-minute tickets to WatchTime New York 2021 here!