DeBethune Introduces the DB27 Titan Hawk
It’s hard to believe DeBethune turned 10 this year. In just a decade the brand, a combination of the design skills of David Zanetta and the technical virtuosity of Denis Flageollet, has done virtually the impossible for an independent. They do it all in-house, from movement to hands to balance wheels. And, they’ve achieved 10 individual calibres, and fourteen patents and innovations along the way. No rest for the wicked.
This year DeBethune graces us with the Titan Hawk, a calendar watch as sleek as the bird of prey it’s named after. The first piece in the new, lower-priced DB27 series, the watch is powered by the entirely new self-winding caliber S233, a modular movement named for the specific gravity of silicon. Flageollet took a modular approach in order to be able to add on complications down the line.
On view through the dome in the case back, you see the silicon and white gold annular balance wheel finished of with a terminal curve. The curves of the case make it seem like you’re looking under the hood of an in-line engine.
Even at the lower price-point of $37,000CHF DeBethune still comes through by providing the technological innovation the company built its reputation on. In addition to the balance wheel, the Titan Hawk incorporates the self-regulating twin barrel, triple parechute shock-absorbing system and those lugs, those fantastic floating lugs with pivoting system in grade-5 titanium, to hug any sized wrist.
Perhaps $37,000CHF doesn’t seem reasonable, as DeBethune advertises it as their lowest priced model, but compared to others it’s about a third of the cost. For an independent with an original in-house movement, the dollar amount isn’t unreasonable. For example, the Marin 1, equipped with Peter Speake-Marin’s first in-house movement, starts at $34,000.
Flageollet built the motor of the DB27, but Zanetta was responsible for the chassis and he is one hell of a stickler when it comes to his designs. He works on them until he deems them perfect. Look out if you want to change anything including the proportions, like making a smaller case when customers request one. DeBethune did it with the DB10 but Zanetta wasn’t too happy because it wasn’t “pure” anymore.
Think of Zanetta like a fussy chef. Change one part of a recipe and the creation is a total bust and he wants to cancel the dinner party. You can’t deny the results though. The DB28, originally made for a Rothschild —yeah, that one from the banking family—won the top prize Aiguille d’Or Grand Prix at the 11th Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix.
The Titan Hawk showcases Zanetta’s exacting aesthetic. The well-proportioned 43mm grade-5 titanium case features a mirror polishing that just makes it sing. A signature of DeBethune, the flamed blued hands, pop out from the sparkly silver-toned grained dial. The chapter ring with rounded and raised numerals resembles a life preserver, giving depth to the dial. I like the unusual triangular-shaped calendar pointer to indicate the date on a concentric ring, which seems an unusual design flourish when DeBethune usually gives function to every detail.
The DB27 hits all the right notes allowing admirers to buy in at a more reasonable if not economical level.
Original article can be viewed at http://www.watchmatchmaker.com/1_mens_watches/debethune-introduces-the-db27-titan-hawk.html