De Bethune Debuts the DB28xs Starry Seas, a Smaller Version of their Signature Design with a Beautiful Ocean Inspired Dial

The De Bethune DB28 is an absolutely insane watch. As I found out for myself in Geneva earlier this year, the watch’s large proportions play tricks on you: it’s enormous to the eye, but incredibly light on the wrist thanks to the titanium case construction and airy design with those patented hollowed out, articulating lugs. Even though this watch is the ultimate example of “It actually wears a lot smaller…” I think it’s understandable that collectors would call for a version that’s actually smaller, and that’s what De Bethune has delivered with the new DB28xs Starry Seas. This is essentially a scaled down version of the DB28 that incorporates a fantastic and first of its kind dial that applies guilloche in an entirely new way. 


The centerpiece here is certainly the dial, which is made from heat blued titanium, taking on the dramatic bright blue shade that has become a De Bethune hallmark of sorts. The decoration is what De Bethune refers to as “random guilloche,” and they say this is the first time this technique has been used in a watch dial design. The cumulative effect is a dial that looks like ocean waves in motion, and it’s been accented with small white gold “stars” to create the impression of the night sky being reflected off the surface of a body of water. It’s a natural extension of other “Starry” De Bethune references, which typically depict a night sky view.

The case will be familiar to those who know the DB28 (the lucky few). It’s the same eye-catching design, but downsized to 38.7mm wide and just 7.4mm thick. The calling card of the DB28sx case remains the hinged, hollow lugs, which are designed to conform snugly and precisely to the wrist for increased wearing comfort. On the standard sized DB28, they have the effect of making a watch that is visually quite large wear like a “normal” watch, and one can imagine that on the more conservatively sized DB28xs case those lugs will have an even greater impact on the wearing experience.

De Bethune is a special brand, and more and more has become one of the first two or three that come to mind when I think about the top tier high end independent watchmakers of today. They have one foot firmly in the avant-garde, but what makes them special is the way they incorporate traditional, classical watchmaking styles and techniques into more brazen designs. In the case of the DB28xs, we see that clearly in the use of guilloche on the dial (in an unexpected way) but also in the simple handset and hour track at the dial’s perimeter. It’s just the right mix of subdued and completely strange.

The DB28xs has a retail price of $90,000. More here.

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.