I have heard that waiting is theantechamber of desire. With this DB25 08-01-1297, it is the overdoseof desire.
Presented among the group of the 20first Only Watches, all of those who contemplated it went nuts rightat the first second.
Among the auction’s potentialsensations, The DB25 Only Watch stands at the top of the list, aquick look at the press kit is enough to be convinced, so much sothat the De Bethune are far more impressive in real life than onglossy paper!
At WatchO, everybody is a fan of DeBethune, myself, for better or for worse, I am a fanatic! In short, Ihad a burning desire to hold it in my own hands.
While we were touring the manufacturingplants, the excitement was growing around this watch; then came thevisit at Antiquorum, but it still was nowhere to be seen.
Strongly determined to pay to it thetribute it deserves, I harassed De Bethune communications to try tolearn when the piece would be available.
Initially, the watch should have beenready for Antiquorum’s World tour; I get to Antiquorum’s, Imeticulously search the Only Watches, misery!
A demo watch was going to be sent forthe World tour!
The final version was so difficult toproduce that the Zanetta-Flageollet team did not have the watchavailable for the practice run!
After having shed a hectoliter tear, Ionce more jumped on the phone to get a chance to see the beautydirectly at the factory, no news…
Finally, the WatchO team, which wasattending the Antiquorum function last Friday, called me at 1 AM! TheDB25 Only Watch had arrived at last! Joy, happiness, ecstasy, bliss!
On Saturday, I turn up brandishing myG10, I shoot more pictures than a Japanese tourist in front of MonaLisa, I finally review it and can affirm that, without a doubt, theresult matches the expectations!
In order to explain the difficultiesmet by De Bethune’s team, one has to understand why this DB2508-01-1297 is unique.
It is so not only because of itsdesign, never seen at De Bethune’s, but also because of itscomplication, which is a first in this version.
The watch fits into the De Bethuneclassic lines, of which it revisits the usual features:
44mm white gold case, sapphire crystalwith one of the best anti-reflective coatings I have ever seen.
It features the DB25 «Ciel etoile»blue livery, here the sky map represents the conquest of the «Rocherde Monaco» by Francois Grimaldi on the 1st of August 1297.
In the manner of the DB25CE, thecaliber decoration is made of super-polished steel.
This movement is derived from the usualDe Bethune double-barreled caliber.
The Cal. DB2105S is set at 28800 v/hfor a 6-day power reserve.
The regulating organ features theculmination of research on the great inertia, here with a full ringsilicon balance, with a platinum outer ring.
I reserve a little preference for theaesthetic of the Titanium/Platinum balance’s previous version, withits two arms that one can see on the DB24-Vetrois. I refer you to DeBethune’s website for more information regarding the DB patents.
This movement’s singularity is thatit displays hours/minutes via two silver weights/disks in theaperture at 6 o’clock. More on this later.
In terms of look, when one considersthe details, the DB25CE and the DB25OW are quite different.
The DB25CE’s railway is entirelyblued, without a clear demarcation with the dial, which features thesame surface treatment , whereas that of the DB25OW is clearlydelineated by a silver edging.
Moreover, the classic DB25CE’s dialis not taken-up by the gigantic applied central part.
Everything reinforces the impression ofaperture carried by the DB25CE’s dial, and invites the eye towander on the fabulous blueing.
The DB25OW totally distances itself,the dial is far narrower (akin to the DB25Tourbillon) andauthoritatively sends the eye toward the opening’s aperture;
It is a great visual achievement, asthe intended effect is reached, the eye stands naturally on the hourdisplay zone.
The effect is truly exclusive, one doesnot face a basic variation of the DB25CE, but a watch that visuallystands between the DB25CE and the DB25T.
Hence, akin to the DB25T, the dial’sblueing is darker, its base color (if it can be so considered) tendsmore toward a Midnight blue than toward the DB25CE’s Royal blue.
The other surprise, directly from theDB25T, are the silver areas, the railway silver edging, which drawsits essence from aesthetical trends more related to fashion than towatchmaking.
Of course, the two hour and minutedisks are made of silver, therefore quite heavy, it is a first for awristwatch: the disks are usually made of lighter materials.
In order to move this mass, itobviously takes more work regarding the torque and the disksbalancing than for a simple «2 hands».
Indeed, the key feature is the appliedcentral part, its shape, its presence, completely change the way thedial reflects light, the watch goes from ochre to Royal blue, passingthrough all the intermediate shades of blue.
The blueing is not made with a flame,but by heating to 700°C in a special oven;
The titanium plates that compose thedial and its different parts are polished and cleaned with alcoholahead of time.
The optimal «cooking» time is abouthalf a second;
Until now, only the slightly curved orperfectly flat surfaces had been treated with this process.
Here, the applied central part’sangles have increased the technicality of manufacturing the dial.
The result matches the difficulty ofthe performance, the watch shimmers with a thousand suns (I refer youto my article «De Bethune Total manufacture» for more details).
Thus, you don’t buy a watch, but aset of watches, a piece whose look evolves according to the lighting,thus empirically according to the time of the day; It almostreconciles the sundial and the mechanical watch!
The presence of the applied centralpart also calls for many interpretations, one could see it as somenocturnal animal’s eye, a closed eyelid; or a blade…
After many discussions with multiplestakeholders, the later hypothesis seems to be the most plausible,without any confirmation though…
Indeed, on the 1st of August 1297,Francois Grimaldi known as «Malizia», the princely family’sancestor, calls on the Monegasque fortress’ gate disguised as amonk, with a long sword hidden under his frock.
It is this sword that, in the middle ofthe night, will enable him to neutralize the sentinels and to openthe gates to his troops, avoiding a long siege of the Rocher.
Nowadays, the Principality stillrepresents the Genovese «Malizia» as a stooping monk, only betrayedby the presence of a sword’s handle sticking out from the frock.
Hence, if this DB25OW pays tribute tothe Principality, it is in all elegance, in all subtlety, no blazon,no red and white, only the fabulous starred sky of the evening of afabulous feat.
De Bethune offers for Only Watch apiece that should fill the sharpest collectors with enthusiasm, asthe exercise perfectly matches the event’s requirements and evenmore so!