Some brands are content to use meteorite dials on their watches with the bare minimum finish required to make them fit and allow these celestial pieces of art to stand on their own merit. Then there is De Bethune, that thermally heats one of the oldest meteorites to form a brilliantly whimsical milky way so that you literally wear the galaxy on your wrist. Let’s get into it.
Design & Watch Specifications
Grade 5 Titanium, 42mm x 10.3mm case with skeletonized lugs, thermally blued meteorite dial with a gold pattern of the Milky Way framed by silver-tone hours & minutes ring, 30m water resistant, double alligator strap
It has taken De Bethune almost 4 years to follow up on its GPHG award-winning DB25 Starry Varius Chronomètre Tourbillon but boy, it was worth the wait. The brand’s next endeavor, dubbed the DB25 Starry Varius Aérolite Tourbillon, is a wonderful entry that shows off what the brand is capable of while keeping within the confines of the restrained (by De Bethune’s standards) DB25 design.
The watch comes in a regular round case with cool-looking skeletonized lugs but let’s be honest, the dial steals the show. Meteorites are relatively common on watches today, even from microbrands, but the meteorite used in this watch is no common space rock. It comes from one of the oldest meteorites to hit the earth, the Muonionalusta, which is a testament to the brand’s love of space. This meteorite features an interesting Widmanstätten pattern, which is an interweaving large mesh pattern formed by iron-nickel crystals.
As if that was not enough though, the brand opted to thermally heat the dial so that it takes on a bluish-purplish tone that replicates the colors of the galaxy itself. How cool is that? But that is not all. The dial was also polished and then finished with hand-inserted 24k white gold pins and leaves in the pattern of the actual Milky Way. The icing on the cake? Owners will get to choose the position of the Milky Way on any fixed date, time, and place you wish.
With the dreamy nature of the meteorite dial, it is easy to forget that it is framed by a silver ring with Roman numeral hours and Arabic minutes track that adds functionality to the dial along with the hand-polished Breguet hands. Despite that, there is a part of me that wishes the brand went all in and made the meteorite dial the entire dial. Time reading would be hard but who would have cared when you could be enjoying the cosmos above?
Caliber DB2109V4, Delta-shaped blued titanium bridges, blued titanium balance wheel, 5Hz tourbillion & dead-beat seconds complication, 4-day power reserve
Flip the watch around and you would be greeted by De Bethune’s caliber DB2109V4, which frankly, could have been the dial itself. It is a movement that has carried multiple patents, but that is par for the course for the brand. Front and center are the iconic delta-shaped bridges that have thermally blued titanium bridges in the middle, the lowest of which houses the movement’s gold hi-beat tourbillon. Below the titanium bridges, we have the balance wheel that is also crafted in blued titanium with white gold inserts.
Collectively, the overall result is a joy to look at. If there is one nit-pick, it feels like a missed opportunity that the dual self-regulating barrels are not symmetrically positioned below the delta bridge, as that would have in my opinion made for an even more visually appealing case back.
Price & Availability
Price upon request, Not limited 5 piece production annually
A watch like this was never going to be affordable, and prices are upon request. It is not a limited release, but production is extremely small with only 5 pieces a year.
There is always something inspiring and whimsical about looking at the celestial heavens and that translates wonderfully to this watch. And then there is the amazing movement both in technical capabilities, design, and finish. I am almost willing to ignore the larger case on a dressy watch. Almost, because wouldn’t it have been even better if De Bethune left out the hour and minute ring, and shrunk the watch to 38mm? But I’m nitpicking again. This watch is truly a piece of art, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.