Introduced to commemorate the 10th anniversary of De Bethune’s signature watch, the DB28XP is a pared-back, slimmer and more wearable take on the original model, though still instantly recognisable with its trademark pivoted lugs.
Now De Bethune unveils the most exotic variant of the watch to date, the DB28XP Meteorite. It retains many of the elements the brand is known for, but the highlight is a brilliantly blued meteorite dial.
Meteorite dials are common, even on inexpensive watches, but De Bethune’s meteorite is unlike any other in watchmaking. Though the material is just like any other meteorite, it has been heat-treated, creating a blue oxidisation that gives it a special blue sheen.
De Bethune is one of my favourite independent watchmakers – I love the Kind of Two Tourbillon from earlier in the year. Innovation is its raison d’etre, and the new DB28XP Meteorite exemplifies that, both technically and aesthetically. While heat-blued titanium is a De Bethune hallmark, heat-blued meteorite takes the look to a whole new level. The gold-studded “starry sky” dial captures the cosmos on the wrist.
Though the look is very different, the DB28XP Meteorite has all of the wearability of the standard model. It has sprung, pivoted lugs that allow it to cling to the wrist, while also being more compact than the original, full-size DB28.
The brand has previously utilised the blued meteorite in the Dream Watch 5 and Kind of Blue Meteorite – both spectacular, just like the new DB28XP. The DB28XP Meteorite is, however, substantially more affordable than De Bethune’s earlier timepieces featuring blued meteorite.
That said, it does cost substantially more than the base-model DB28, making it essentially an extra US$50,000 for the gold-and-meteorite dial. That’s a fair proposition as such things go, but it is a lot of money.
The DB28XP Meteorite is limited to just ten watches, which means that most will likely never get a chance to see one in the metal. And given how good the watch looks – it’s the coolest release I’ve seen this year – that’s a darn shame.
Forged in space
The blued dial of the DP28XP Meteorite is a slice of Muonionalusta, the world’s oldest known meteorite that landed in modern-day Scandinavia many millennia ago. It’s an iron meteorite, which means it’s mainly composed of iron and nickel. The crystalline structure of the material results in the distinctive Widmanstatten pattern, cross-hatched lines at a 60° angle.
The dial is first sliced, polished, etched in acid to bring out the pattern, and then heat blued. But in true De Bethune fashion, the dial is not merely about the material. Before it is blued, the dial is adorned with a tapestry of tiny white gold spheres – each manually riveted to the dial – creating a “starry sky” motif that’s something of a De Bethune favourite, being also found on watches like the DB25 Starry Varius. The sky motif can also be customised to depict a specific constellation or a view of the night sky from a particular location on Earth.
In another feat of thermal treatment, the zirconium case has been heated to create a black oxide layer on its surface, resulting in a sleek, minimalist case. This natural process contrasts with the deposition process used for most all-black cases.
Similarly, the hour ring – adorned with Arabic numerals in pink gold – is also in blackened zirconium, providing a pleasing contrast against the blued meteorite dial as well as the blued titanium minute track. Completing the out-of-this-world look are the spear-shaped, pink gold hands that are similar to those found on the DB28XP Starry Sky.
And as is tradition for De Bethune, an aperture at six o’clock prominently displays De Bethune’s proprietary balance wheel, made of blued titanium with white gold weights. The movement within is the manually-wound DB2115v7, which features a hairspring with a flat terminal curve, silicon escape wheel, and an impressive six days of power reserve.
Key facts and price
De Bethune DB28XP Meteorite
Diameter: 43 mm
Height: 7.2 mm
Water resistance: 30 m
Functions: Hours and minutes
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 6 days
Strap: Alligator with zirconium pin buckle
Limited edition: 10 pieces
Availability: From De Bethune and its authorised retailers
Price: US$138,000; 176,800 Singapore dollars
For more, visit Debethune.ch.
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