The Milky Way is estimated to contain somewhere in the range of 100-400 billion stars, and an estimated 100 billion planets. Swiss luxury watchmaker De Bethune’s DB25L Milky Way interpretation of the beauty and massiveness of the galaxy that we inhabit is on a much more measurable scale, but to high-end watch aficionados, it is no less arresting in its ambition.
The De Bethune DB25L Milky Way is cast in platinum with 66 baguette-cut diamonds in the bezel, contrasting the richly heat-blued titanium dial where the representation of a small fraction of our galaxy’s many stars have been both pinned by hand, and laser-engraved in gold leaf. The end result is a spectacular, albeit considerably pared-down celestial map that neatly complements the watch’s spherical moon phase indicator at 12:00.
If you’ve seen De Bethune’s “Kind of Blue” Tourbillon that we recently went hands-on with here, you already know that absolutely nobody does blue quite like De Bethune. Those incredible hand-finishing techniques return with the De Bethune DB25L Milky Way, which deploys the same heat-blued, and mirror-polished titanium to spectacular effect – though this time, only for the dial. It’s a fitting backdrop for the galaxy – a dynamic, iridescent night sky that takes on markedly different hues depending on the viewing angle. Set into that dial are twelve spherical white gold hour indices, and a three-dimensional moon phase indicator made from palladium and matching heat-blued stainless steel.
The diamonds in the caseband feel like an odd choice – though impressive, they distract from the otherwise cohesive design language by deviating from the astronomy theme. For collectors who happen to like both De Bethune and diamonds, though, this might be just what they are looking for. The time display is finished with polished rose gold pomme-shaped hands, which perfectly match the laser-engraved gold leaf “Milky Way” spanning the dial.
Adding to the attractiveness of the dial are the exquisite Breguet-style hands on. The hour and minute hands are made from gold, while the seconds hand is hand-polished blued steel. Speaking of that, the seconds hand is a jumping seconds hand. Paradoxically, the DB25T Zodiac Tourbillon includes a deadbeat motion. What is even more impressive is that the moments hand lands precisely on its marker every second – a sign of a well-calibrated and designed movement.If you believed the dial was amazing, wait until you find the movement. The DB25T Zodiac Tourbillon is fitted using the incredible Calibre DB2109, which comes with a high-speed tourbillon and, like I mentioned previously, central jumping or deadbeat seconds. More striking, however, is that the architecture of this motion. Throughout the case back, owners may respect the sci-fi spaceship-like bridge as well as the high-speed tourbillon. The tourbillon beats at 5 Hz and creates a complete rotation every 30 seconds. A useful 30-second indication around the tourbillon lets owners know precisely how fast it is spinning. Power reserve is 4 days or 96 hours.The Calibre DB2109 is also immaculately decorated, featuring nicely applied Côtes de Genève on the main bridges, hand beveled borders, and blued titanium bridges. The tourbillon is created from a mix of silicon and titanium, which makes it light and durable. It is made of 63 components, the lightest of which weighs less than 0.0001 grams. Perhaps more amazing is the heaviest tourbillon part is merely 0.0276 grams. This lack of weight is what enables the movement to reach a 4-day power reserve despite its fast heartbeat speed.
The Milky Way is a fitting canvas for De Bethune’s case and movement architecture, much of which seems to garner inspiration from Star Trek and beyond. And while the actual Milky Way has a diameter spanning between 100,000 and 180,000 light years, the De Bethune Frituur Replica DB25L Milky Way measures a much more wearable 44mm wide by 11mm thick.
It is powered by De Bethune’s DB2105v2 hand-cranked movement whose lengthy 6-day power reserve is enabled by a self-regulating twin-barrel mainspring. Look closely, and you’ll notice De Bethune’s signature white gold balance wheel with a silicone core. At any rate, the Milky Way’s generous reserve comes especially in handy, as its patented moonphase complication is accurate to within a single lunar day every 122 years.
Those looking to boldly go where no collector has gone before can add the H&m Rue De Bethune Horaire Replica DB25L Milky Way to their wrist for a price of 225,000 CHF when it becomes available later this year. debethune.ch