DB Eight’s monopusher chronograph continues a long tradition of classic single-button chronographs, including the DB1 and DB8. In the early days of De Bethune, founders David Zanetta and Denis Flageollet were fond of saying that “to compose contemporary music, you have to have a perfect command of classical music.” This is why De Bethune began by creating classical watches based on the fundamental principles of classical watchmaking and by mastering all its subtleties. This is how all technical and artistic innovations are born.
Twenty years later, Denis Flageollet decided to intensify his research and revisit his classics with Claire Wolf, his right-hand person to whom he has been passing on his knowledge and codes for over 14 years. The DB Eight is an evolution in De Bethune’s exploration of the single-pusher chronograph. While the DB28 Maxichrono is De Bethune’s most technically unusual chronograph, the Maison’s very first watch featuring this function—the DB1—was a classic two-counter monopusher chronograph in the purest tradition of stylish 20th century chronographs.
In a quest to bring an idea launched 20 years ago to fruition, De Bethune has now poured all its technical and aesthetic expertise into releasing a chronograph on a par with its high demands. The DB Eight was born of a quest for elegance and a pure, subtly balanced design. Together, Denis Flageollet and Claire Wolf designed a supremely refined classic guilloché dial and developed a brand-new chronograph calibre by placing its counter at 6 o’clock so that it could be as large as possible in order to provide a highly readable 60-minute indication.
When the chronograph is reset to zero, the tail of the chronograph hand subtly covers that of the minutes counter in such a way that the hands are overlaid. A very symmetrical and distinguished result for a watch housing one of watchmaking’s most demanding mechanisms. This perfectly designed maxi dial, framed by a slender bezel and a delicate railway-type outer seconds track endows this 42 mm watch with both undeniable elegance and perfect legibility.
Beating inside is a new chronograph calibre: the 31st produced by De Bethune and its fourth monopusher chronograph base calibre after the DB1, DB8 and Maxichrono. Denis Flageollet and Claire Wolf chose to develop a classic column-wheel mechanism equipped with an instantaneous minutes counter, which is quite a technical feat for a singlepusher calibre with a 60-minute counter. The extreme thinness of the wheel’s teeth makes it a veritable technical challenge.
Although the calibre remains traditional, the technology of the functions is on the cutting edge of the knowledge acquired by the Manufacture. All the elements of the escapement and balance are based on the finest elements featured in De Bethune calibres, notably its patented balance-spring with flat terminal curve, titanium balance with white gold inertia-blocks, along with the silicon escape-wheel.
Demonstrating the greatest respect for the traditions of Manufacture De Bethune as well as the history of classical watchmaking, the DB Eight perfectly combines technical progress, state-of-the-art materials, refined design and a harmonious movement. Its pure design features all-titanium exterior elements including the case middle, case-back, bezel and hands. This results in an extremely pleasant light feel for the wearer and is highly unusual for a traditional watch.
It should be noted that this return to roots 20 years on was in some ways predictable, given that Denis Flageollet often wears an original platinum DB8. The aim was to perfect performance and intensify the experience for passionate owners. The new DB Eight is both an update of a beloved classic and a versatile new timepiece well suited to everyday wear: an expression of the pursuit of performance and beauty inherent in all De Bethune watchmaking.