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De Bethune Melds Contemporary Art and the Dream Watch 5

Independent watchmaking New Watches 2021 News

De Bethune Melds Contemporary Art and the Dream Watch 5

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Source Credit:  Content and images from SJX Watches by Sheng Lee.  Read the original article - https://watchesbysjx.com/2021/06/de-bethune-dw5-empreinte.html

Resembling an alien seashell, the Dream Watch 5 is De Bethune’s most unusual case and unquestionably its most artistic creation. While the model started out as a pared-back affair entirely in polished titanium, the DW5 has since evolved into a canvas for decoration like over-the-top, dancing-skeleton engraving. The DW5 Empreinte sits in between the two aesthetic extremes. Clad in deep, dark colours, the case is inlaid with a subtle, organic pattern that’s hard to describe.

The distinctive colours and pattern were conceived by Clara Martin, who won the 2019 prize in the annual contest sponsored by De Bethune that’s open to masters students at the University of Art and Design Lausanne, better known by its French acronym ECAL. Ms Martin’s vision was realised by De Bethune cofounder Denis Flageollet, a talented watchmaker and self-taught metallurgist, as well as Michèle Rothen, the brand’s go-to engraver.

Denis Flageollet and Clara Martin

Initial thoughts

De Bethune’s styling is avant-garde and extremely attractive, one of the reasons that sets the watchmaker apart from competition. But the DW5 case still manages to stand out from the brand’s catalogue – it’s that unusual – as it is an artistic object first and a timepiece second.

Described as an exotic seashell, the fluid, three-dimensional case is a gorgeous, which means it can be even more excellent if paired with the right material and colour.

The DW5 Empreinte no doubt has an effective formula. The deep black background is highlighted with glowing blue, giving it a mysterious look that evokes extraterrestrial spacecraft found in sci-fi comics and movies – it’s truly a dream watch.

But like all other De Bethune watches, the mechanics of DW5 Empreinte is serious, backing up the artistic expression of time telling and making it a bona fide high-end watch. It’s equipped with a jumping hour and ultra-accurate spherical moonphase, as well as a five days power reserve – and, of course, a patented silicon balance assembly.

That said, priced at CHF210,000, the DW5 is expensive compared to the rest of De Bethune catalogue, at least from a mechanical standpoint. But the good design and the fact that it’s a piece unique has extra value too.

Glowing black

Clara Martin’s sponsored research is about “drawing light from black colour”, with the help of different textures, shapes, and highlights. Her work is inspired by French painter Pierre Soulages, who is best known for redirecting light on a black background. But in a broader sense, I find the works of both an extension of Rembrandt’s, a 17th-century Dutch painter that’s famous for depicting shining light in a dark room.

Clara sketching the treatment design for the case

The final product is no doubt a realisation of Clara’s research, as the DW5 Empreinte is predominantly black, but with a touch of shimmering blue around the sapphire window for time telling.

And it takes talent to realise the design. Most unusual is the multi-colour treatment of the titanium case, which is created through vacuum depositing different metal oxides on the surface, before being heat-treated to achieve a smoked effect.

Engraving the case with fine, organic pattern before being heat treated


Key facts and price

De Bethune Dream Watch 5 (DW5) Empreinte
Ref. DW5MA Empreinte

Diameter: 58 mm by 47 mm
Height: 16 mm
Material: Titanium
Water resistance: 30m

Movement: DB2144V2
Functions: Jumping hours, minutes, and spherical moon phase
Winding: Hand-wound
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: Five days

Strap: Leather with titanium pin buckle

Limited edition: Unique piece
Price: CHF210,000 (tax not included)

For more, visit Debethune.ch.


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Source Credit:  Content and images from SJX Watches by Sheng Lee.  Read the original article - https://watchesbysjx.com/2021/06/de-bethune-dw5-empreinte.html

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