De Bethune Introduces the DB28xs Starry Seas

A scaled-down DB28.

The latest version of De Bethune’s signature watch shrinks the case and ups the level of dial decoration. The DB28xs Starry Seas has a compact case of just 38.7 mm and an eye-catching dial finished a wave pattern and inlaid white gold stars in typical De Bethune style.

Initial thoughts

Originally a large watch with a case of 43 mm, the DB28 nonetheless became the brand’s trademark watch thanks to its distinctive styling and hinged lugs. So a more wearable version of the DB28 will certainly have is audience. In fact, the case of 38.7 mm is more than manageable, it is almost small by the standards of highly contemporary independent watchmaking. 

With the reduced case, however, the DB28xs might have lost some of the presence that made the original DB28 interesting, although that will have to be judged in the metal.

Besides the case, the other novel feature of the watch is the wave pattern on the dial that’s complemented by inlaid gold stars, which is meant to evoke the night sky reflected on water. The wave pattern is new for De Bethune, adding some originality to this variant of the DB28.

While the dial is beautiful – De Bethune’s blued titanium dials usually are – and the case remains appealing even on a smaller scale, I would have hoped that the brand did something more inventive, rather than create variants of existing designs and movements.   

Apart from the dial and case, the DB28xs is largely identical to its larger siblings, including utilising the same DB2005 movement. And it is priced almost the same as the US$95,000 DB28XP, one size up in the DB28 collection.


According to De Bethune, the Starry Seas dial was inspired by the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, which is about the acceptance of flaws and impermanence. De Bethune does not explain exactly how wabi-sabi translates into the watch, but it is presumably the hand-finished nature of the dial.

Continuing with the distinctive De Bethune style, the Starry Seas features a polished, heat-blued titanium dial finished with a wave-like pattern. De Bethune says the pattern was achieved with a “random guilloché” technique, a first in watchmaking. Although it doesn’t detail what that entails, it is presumably a hand-operated straight-line engine used to create seemingly random lines. 

White gold spheres of varying sizes are meticulously embedded on the dials to represent stars

Like other models in the collection, the case has open-worked lugs hinged at the centre of the case band. It case measures 38.7 mm in diameter and 7.4 mm high, making it much thinner and smaller than the DB28XP.

The DB28xs is timepiece is powered by the DB2005 found in several other DB28 models. Like most De Bethune movements, it has a delta-shaped barrel bridge as the centrepiece, along with innovations like a silicon escape wheel and a titanium balance wheel with white gold weights.

Key facts and price

De Bethune DB28xs Starry Seas
Ref. DB28XsTIS3

Diameter: 38.7 mm
Height: 7.4 mm
Material: Titanium
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: DB2005
Functions: Hours and minutes
Winding: Hand-wound
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: Six days

Strap: Alligator with pin buckle

Availability: Now from De Bethune and its authorised retailers 
US$90,000, or CHF77,000 (excluding taxes)

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Correction May 26, 2023: The DB28XP retails for US$95,000, and not US$83,500 as stated in an earlier version of the article.

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