Last year producer and talent scout Swizz Beatz challenged De Bethune to create a “totally different Dream Watch 5.” This week, De Bethune debuted its response to that challenge with a watch worthy of the futuristic Dream Series.
The new De Bethune Dream Watch 5 Tourbillon Season 1 is a spectacular deltoid-shaped, blued-titanium and sapphire wrist rocket regulated by a De Bethune high-velocity tourbillon.
The inventive Swiss company, lead by pioneering watchmaker Denis Flageollet, has built on its own Dream Watch legacy by refining its pointedly curved Dream Watch 5 case, first seen in 2014, into a skeletal sculpture that both showcases an open-set dial while also protecting it with two dramatic blued titanium bridges.
As De Bethune points out, there is nothing straight or flat about this latest Dream Watch 5 case, which is composed of seven different sapphire components ingeniously embedded into a polished blue titanium frame.
At the center, gripped by the watch’s titanium exoskeleton, is a three-dimensional orb that indicates the moon phases. Adjacent, and just below the blue bridges, the wearer eyes the hours and minutes directly through a hand-cut cabochon-shaped crystal.
The back of the watch (below) is almost as dramatic, especially since the ultra-clear sapphire back seems to magnifying the beauty of De Bethune’s mirror-polished DB2149 high-speed tourbillon caliber. The 30-second tourbillon oscillates at 36,000 vibrations/hour, set just beneath a slightly blued sapphire window. See specifications below for additional details about this expertly engineered, highly tuned movement.
De Bethune notes that to enhance the interior of the DW5 Episode 1, it collaborates with Swiss engraver Michèle Rothen, who has ‘retouched’ each surface with added micro-detail and greater dimension.
The De Bethune Dream Watch 5 Tourbillon Season 1 is a ten-piece limited edition.
Specifications: De Bethune Dream Watch 5 Tourbillon ‘Season 1’
(Reference DW5TSB, a ten-piece limited edition)
Functions: Hours, minutes, central spherical moon-phase indication, 30-minute indication on the ultra-light silicon and titanium De Bethune tourbillon cage (appearing on the back).
Movement: DB2149 hand-wound, three positions (for winding, spherical moon phase and time setting), titanium balance-wheel with white gold inserts, De Bethune balance-spring with flat terminal curve, silicon escape-wheel, spherical moon-phase display accurate to within one lunar day every 1,112 years, De Bethune ultra-light silicon and titanium 30-second tourbillon, 36,000 vibrations/hour.
Dial: Blued grade-5 titanium aperture frame.
Case: 58mm by 47mm by 17mm tapered hand-polished and blued grade- 5 titanium, open-worked with sapphire blue inserts and hand-engraved motifs, cabochon-cut blue sapphire crown.
Bracelet: Blue canvas/leather with an additional rubber strap, titanium clasp with polished and blued titanium pin buckle.
The patterned white dial on the latest model within Grand Seiko’s Elegance Collection is meant to evoke the beauty of freshly fallen winter snow outside its watchmaking studios in the wooded Shinshu region of central Japan. That particular scene is known as Shizuri-yuki, which refers to the moment when snow spills down from the branches of trees to create a shimmering cascade of light.
The new Grand Seiko Spring Drive SBGY008 could be considered the next in a series of Spring Drive debuts with dials meant to evoke the beauty of winter just outside the Grand Seiko studio.
You might recall the Grand Seiko Spring Drive SBGY007 we showed you earlier this year, with its hammered ice-blue dial that beautifully mimics a nearby frozen lake, a phenomenon called Omiwatari.
Grand Seiko cases this latest Elegance watch in a 38.5mm rose gold frame dotted along its sides with fifty-three hand set diamonds. Artisans nicely arranged the gems so that they gradually decrease in size from the center of the case to the end of the lugs, which appears to flow along the side of the case. This quite effectively generates the namesake Shizuri-yuki sparkle.
Grand Seiko then continues to evoke the winter scene on the dial with a wind-blown snow pattern. The scene is broken only by the very smooth Spring Drive seconds hand, and much more slowly as hour and minutes pass as indicated by matching, perfectly faceted gold hands.
This is a fairly thin watch, measuring 10.2mm in depth, thank to Grand Seiko’s own Spring Drive manual-wind caliber winding Caliber 9R31, which offers an impressive 72 hours. As a Spring Drive caliber, it also provides incredible precision with accuracy rated to ±1 second per day.
The Grand Seiko Spring Drive SBGY008 is sold on a brown leather strap and comes with an additional satin gold-colored leather strap (above). The watch will be available as a limited edition of sixty at Grand Seiko Boutiques and selected Grand Seiko retailers worldwide in January 2022, just as winter peaks in the northern hemisphere. Price: $38,000.
Specifications: Grand Seiko Spring Drive SBGY008
(Limited edition of 60)
Movement: Grand Seiko Spring Drive Caliber 9R31 Driving system, manual-winding, 72-hour power reserve, accuracy of ± 1 second per day (± 15 seconds per month), dual spring barrel.
Dial: White ‘snow’ pattern.
Case: 38.5mm by 10.2mm rose-gold case and clasp with 53 diamonds (.38 carat), dual-curved sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, see-through screw case back, water resistance to 30 meters, magnetic resistance to 4,800 A/m.
Strap: Crocodile with three-fold clasp with push-button release. Additional satin gold-colored leather strap.
Greubel Forsey today unveils a new GMT Earth sporting a contemporary blackened titanium case, a black dial and black bridges.
A limited edition of eleven pieces, the newly darkened GMT Earth is Greubel Forsey’s third and final interpretation of the groundbreaking watch. When it first appeared in 2011 it featured a partial view of its dial-set titanium globe, which displays time around the world. Seven years later, in 2018, Greubel Forsey set the orb within a clear sapphire frame, which allowed unobstructed views of the laser-engraved globe.
The GMT collection has expanded in the years since that debut and now also includes the GMT Sport, the GMT Quadruple Tourbillon and the GMT.
This latest and final GMT Earth, with its titanium case, is the lightest of the trio (at 117 grams) when compared to the earlier white gold and platinum-cased editions. Titanium also brings with it full non-magnetic and hypoallergenic properties.
The dial here is the darkest we’ve seen in the GMT collection. Underscoring its black theme, Greubel Forsey uses a black treatment to darken the globe, all the frosted bridges, the mainplate and the sectorial subdials. Even the natural rubber strap is black.
As a reminder, the GMT Earth features four primary displays on its dial side. These include the off-center hours, minutes and seconds display, the red-handed GMT indicator, the power reserve indicator (near the crown) and of course the globe.
Situated between 7 o’clock and 9 o’clock, the Earth, which rotates once every 24 hours, features an engraved sapphire ring around the equator that acts as a day/night indication. This means you can quickly determine which hemisphere is in the daytime and which is at night.
A peek through the side of the case reveals the globe’s equator. And of course a wearer can enjoy the whirling Tourbillon 24 Secondes, positioned just below the power reserve display, which contributes to the watch’s high level of precision. Price: CHF 590,000.
Specifications: Greubel Forsey GMT Earth
(Limited edition of 11 pieces)
Movement: Greubel Forsey GMT with Tourbillon inclined at a 25 angle 1 rotation in 24 seconds. 72-hour power reserve, 21,600-vph frequency
Case: 45.50mm by 16.18mm titanium with titanium plates, engraved, hand-finished with text, screwed to the caseband, three-dimensional, asymmetrical, synthetic sapphire crystal bezel, water resistant to 30 meters.
Dial: Multi-level hour-ring in synthetic sapphire, galvanic growth hour indexes, engraved and lacquered minutes and small seconds, power-reserve and GMT indicators in gold, engraved and lacquered, circular-grained with black treatment. Rotating globe with day-and-night UTC indicator in synthetic sapphire, engraved and lacquered. Indications: GMT, 2nd time zone, rotating globe with universal time and day-and-night, complete and global view from northern to southern hemisphere, universal time on 24 time zones, summer and winter time, cities observing summer time, hours and minutes, small seconds, power-reserve.
Strap: Rubber or hand-sewn alligator and titanium folding clasp, engraved with the GF logo.
Jaeger-LeCoultre recently added an exceptional Japanese-sourced miniature enamel painting to the caseback of a white gold Reverso, expanding the watchmaker’s artisanal and eclectic Reverso Tribute collection.
On the back of the new Reverso Tribute Enamel Hokusai Kirifuri Waterfall, a limited edition of ten pieces, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Rare Handcrafts artisans have reproduced a woodblock print of the Kirifuri Waterfall made by Katsushika Hokusai in the early 1830s.
To transfer the image, the artisans first needed to perfectly scale the image from its original woodblock size to fit the Reverso’s caseback. This required reproducing the image to a size one-tenth of the original. And if you look at the image, you’ll see that part of that challenge meant also miniaturizing a group of small human figures pictured at the base of the waterfall.
After more than seventy hours of work (per piece), the enamel artisans met that challenge.
On the Reverso’s flipside, artisans decorated the dial with a wavy guilloché pattern that nicely echoes the effect of moving water. Jaeger-LeCoultre reports that this was done by hand using a century-old lathe with a specially tooled cam. The artisan amplified the wavy effects with layers of translucent grand feu enamel in a soft shade of green that perfectly matches the painting on the reverse side.
The watchmaker adds that it takes five working hours to perfect the guilloché, followed by eight working hours for the layers of translucent green enamel.
The resulting rich green dial, paired with pristine enamel Kirifuri Waterfall painting on the caseback, combine to create yet another visual treat from Jaeger-LeCoultre.
Almost hidden beneath all this beauty is decades of Reverso dual-side case design and the robust manually wound Caliber 822, which powers a simple two-hand dial. All told, a stunning package.
After debuting its impressive Luna Magna earlier this year, Arnold & Son immediately started working on a high-carat version of the orb-set lunar phase watch.
You may recall that the premiere design features an eye-catching, extra-large 12mm spherical moon, with aventurine representing the moon’s ‘dark’ side with marble standing in for the illuminated side.
Where that first model was crafted using a 44mm rose gold case, this new model, the Luna Magna Ultimate I, bases its jeweled interpretation in a white gold case of the same size. Instead a time-only dial of white lacquer, this jeweled edition features a white opal subdial the 12 o’clock position.
To represent the vastness of space Arnold & Son replaces the premiere edition’s aventurine with ruthenium crystals. Arnold & Son explains that ruthenium is an extremely hard metal that belongs to the platinum group. The Swiss watchmaker’s artisans reshape the ruthenium crystals, place them into the faceplate and then blue the plate–all to stunning effect.
Arnold & Son frames the light-refracting dial with a hefty row of 112 baguette diamonds (weighing nearly six carats), which also trail onto the watch’s lugs for extra effect.
Finally, on this Luna Magna Arnold & Son creates a new moon. Rather than the marble and aventurine lunar orb we’ve seen previously, this model glows with a three-dimensional moon paved with blue sapphires and diamonds set atop the same-sized white gold orb.
Underneath the newly jeweled Luna Magna Ultimate I is Arnold & Son’s own manual-wind A&S1021 caliber. Designed to propel the lunar globe, the movement has an impressive 90-hour power reserve. And luckily, all of the eight owners of this watch will be able to view the movement through a sapphire caseback, which also offers a second lunar phase display with easy-to-read graduations for correcting the globe setting.
Price: CHF 169,000, or about $184,000. The Arnold & Son Luna Magna Ultimate I is a limited edition of eight pieces.
The Paul Forrest Heart’s Passion collection features a patented Magnificent Motion complication that causes the small heart motif on the pendant to “beat.” The high-carat kinetic jewelry incorporates a high-tech complication—much like the mechanical movement of a watch—inside a piece of jewelry.
Paul Forrest places an exclusive 145-piece movement, which is crafted in Fleurier, Switzerland, inside the case. The movement offers eight hours of power reserve and is wound by a small key that also serves as part of the pendant chain’s clasp. Paul Forrest refers to the one-way ratcheting winding system as the “key to your heart.”
It took nearly two years to develop this movement, which is built completely for Paul Forrest from the ground up.
“Many women are becoming increasingly aware of mechanical complications as seen on many high level watches in recent times,” says company founder and CEO Paul Forrest Hartzband, who is based in Connecticut. “Heart’s Passion is for women who appreciate beautiful and elegant jewelry, as well as its sophisticated inner life.”
There are currently two Heart’s Passion collections, Heart and Medallion, and each is presented in 18-karat white, rose or yellow gold embellished with various gemstone options including diamonds, rubies and sapphires. Pictured is model HR-01. Price: $46,000.
Specifications: Paul Forrest Heart’s Passion HR-01 (above)
Movement: Caliber PF-001, made in Fleurier, manual winding, eight-hour power reserve,145 total parts. Winding clasp in rose gold with fused titanium mechanical winding system.
Case: 18-karat rose gold, pendant set with 248 white brilliant-cut diamonds (2.406 carats), heart set with 27 pink brilliant-cut diamonds (0.351 carats), pavè dial set with 341 white brilliant-cut diamonds (0.962 Carats). Total carat weight: 3.719. Double curved sapphire crystal. Water resistant to 50 meters.
Creating a custom watch from colorful carbon composites.
By Steve Huyton
Over the last few years, I have developed a great working relationship with watchmaker Ben Birkett’s workshop, which is located in the Adelaide CBD (Central Business District) in South Australia.
Ben and I have collaborated on several projects. When I told him of a new concept called the ‘Inferno’ he was very excited to make it a reality.
One of the most exciting developments in modern watchmaking is the introduction of experimental materials. In my opinion forged carbon composites are at the forefront and have dominated the masculine market. Certainly, Hublot, Richard Mille and Roger Dubuis are the highest-profile brands using this material. However, there are also numerous small independents that have achieved very successful results.
In the last year, I created two watches, called the Kaleidoscopic and Volcanic, from multi-colored carbon. For the Inferno I wanted to fabricate the case from something even more unusual. The solution was a forged carbon composite interweaved with gold foil.
Due to the complicated manufacturing procedure, including molding and CNC (computer numerical control) machinery, it took several attempts to create the desired aesthetic. The final result was a subtle marbling type patterning that sparkles in the light.
This is the first time this unique and exciting material has ever been used in watchmaking. The crown cover, open-worked hands, dial and case back are also fabricated from this composite. Ultimately, this makes the timepiece exceptionally lightweight, especially considering the size. This watch has an extra-large diameter measuring 52mm (excluding the crown).
Originally, when I visualized the design of the Inferno it featured an unusual skeleton movement. Ultimately, I wanted a bright orange mechanism to create the aesthetic of fire. Fortunately, Frédéric Leuba offered to assist me in my plight. Frédéric is an industry veteran and has worked with many famous brands for a decade. Most people might be familiar with his micro brand called Muse Swiss Art Watches.
Watchmakers have been multiplying their automotive and motorsports collaborations in recent years. Here, we review a few prominent timekeeping/racing alliances.
By Y-Jean Mun-DelSalle
In this final installment of our series outlining automotive-wristwatch partnerships, we highlight Girard-Perregaux and Richard Mille.
Girard-Perregaux has signed a multi-year agreement as the official watch partner of British automotive manufacturer Aston Martin Lagonda and the Aston Martin Cognizant Formula 1 team. Both brands are commemorating milestones this year: founded in 1791, the Swiss watchmaker is one of the oldest fine watchmaking manufactures still in operation and celebrates its 230th anniversary, while Aston Martin marks its return to Formula 1 after a hiatus of over sixty years.
For the 2021 F1 season, Girard-Perregaux branding appears on Aston Martin F1 car rear-view mirrors and team uniforms. Girard-Perregaux’s and Aston Martin’s design teams have participated in high-level discussions on movements, esthetics, functionality, material usage and ergonomics.
Several limited-edition timepieces will be unveiled, the first of which was released last June.
Revisiting a Girard-Perregaux legend, the Tourbillon with Three Flying Bridges Aston Martin Edition is an 18-piece skeletonized high-end timekeeper with no dial or bezel. Three black PVD-treated titanium bridges appear to float between panes of sapphire crystal.
The lightweight, 79-component tourbillon cage weighs in at only 0.25 grams, thereby reducing energy consumption, while the micro-rotor’s vertical flank is etched with the Aston Martin name filled with white luminescence.
In a world first, Girard-Perregaux introduces an innovative material never used before in watchmaking on its calf leather strap: a central insert in rubber injected with white gold.
“Rarely do we work with others to reinterpret the Three Bridges, explains CEO Patrick Pruniaux. “However, on this occasion, we have made an exception, mindful of Aston Martin’s prowess for design.”
Later in 2021, a second timepiece will be launched, from another of the manufacture’s iconic collections. We can also expect to see Girard-Perregaux clocks in Aston Martin road cars.
Girard-Perregaux has a long history of collaborations with the automotive universe. During the mid-1990s, then owner and car enthusiast Luigi Macaluso began a ten-year partnership with Ferrari, and together they produced the highly-successful Ferrari watches.
“Girard-Perregaux has had strong ties to the automotive world in the past, which we were keen to reactivate in a stronger way,” notes Clémence Dubois, Girard-Perregaux’s chief marketing and product officer.
Calling its timepieces ‘racing machines on the wrist,’ Richard Mille is no stranger to the automotive world, with friends and partners like Jean Todt, Alain Prost, Felipe Massa, Sébastien Loeb and the Venturi Formula E team. The brand even owns an all-women LMP2 racing team.
After discussions for Richard Mille’s collaboration with both Ferrari’s racing and road car divisions were initiated last summer, this year it is partnering two F1 teams – Scuderia Ferrari and McLaren Racing – while continuing personal relationships with F1 drivers Fernando Alonso and Mick Schumacher.
The new multi-year tie-up extends from Formula 1, WEC endurance programs and Competizioni GT to the renowned Ferrari Challenge single-model championship for gentlemen drivers worldwide as well as for the Ferrari Driver Academy. Starting in 2022 Richard Mille will launch a series of watches bearing the famous Ferrari Prancing Horse logo, developed by Richard Mille’s team in Switzerland and Ferrari’s designers and engineers.
“Richard Mille has since its inception been viewed as the Formula 1 of watchmaking,” says Tim Malachard, Richard Mille’s marketing director. “The inspiration of materials and technology found in F1 being applied to produce extremely technical, ergonomic and light timepieces. It is also not a secret that those who like cars and motor racing are also fans of watches. Ferrari and Richard Mille share many common values, and many of our customers are owners of either brand, so another good reason to collaborate over the next few years.”
To mark its fifth year of partnership with McLaren Automotive, Richard Mille launched the RM 40-01 Automatic Tourbillon McLaren Speedtail last May in tribute to the fastest road-going car the British carmaker has ever built, with a top speed of 250 mph. The watch is available in a limited edition of 106 timepieces to match the exclusivity of the 106 Speedtail hypercars.
“There are many similarities between the way that Richard Mille and McLaren approach common design and engineering challenges, such as saving weight, reducing vibrational impact and minimizing resistance,” says Rob Melville, McLaren automotive’s design director.
The watch’s lines mimic the car’s teardrop shape – significantly wider at 12 o’clock than at 6 o’clock – and its bezel indentations evoke bonnet openings while its pushers recall air outlets behind the front wheels.
The watch also debuts numerous firsts in a Richard Mille-manufactured automatic tourbillon: in-house power reserve display, oversize date and function selector complications. Richard Mille’s casing department required an unprecedented 2,800 hours over eighteen months to perfect the contours of the titanium and Carbon TPT case, with the conception of five prototypes before the optimum shape was reached.
As the case tapers between the bezel and caseback, Richard Mille developed an innovative upper crystal glass featuring a “triple contour” to protect the movement.
Y-Jean Mun-DelSalle is a freelance journalist and editorial consultant who has lived on three different continents. She meets with inspirational individuals in pursuit of excellence: emerging and established artists, designers and craftsmen, engaging entrepreneurs and philanthropists, and the movers and shakers of the world today. She contributes regularly to regional and international titles such as Artsy, Asia Tatler, Design Anthology, Forbes, Portfolio, Robb Report, Shawati’ and Vogue, shining a spotlight in particular on art, architecture, design, horology and jewelry.
While all the previous six deeply artisanal Handwerkskunst models are horological works of both art and technique, this latest example may be the first to also revive (if only for this debut) a retired collection, the rectangular-cased Cabaret.
The limited-edition (of thirty pieces) watch is a special, possibly one-off version of a Cabaret that, in 2008, was the first mechanical wristwatch with tourbillon stop seconds.
The new Cabaret Tourbillon Handwerkskunst re-introduces (with updates) the still unusual rectangular-shaped movement A. Lange & Söhne used in earlier Cabaret Tourbillon models. But in addition to that already intriguing launch, the debut heightens the watch’s eye-appeal with an impressive applied enamel lozenge-patterned dial.
Each section of the dial has been separated with a decorated thin line, which also creates a dramatic three-dimensional aspect. Then A. Lange & Söhne coats the dial with a semi-transparent enamel layer that adds even more depth and showcases the dial’s metallic shades of grey. Price: 315,000 euros.
Here are the other debuts from A. Lange & Söhne for Summer 2021.
A.Lange & Söhne celebrates the twentieth anniversary of its famed Langematik Perpetual with two models, both with a blue dial. Look for it in both pink gold and white gold.
This is the watchmaker’s first self-winding watch with a perpetual calendar and the Lange outsize date. It features a zero reset mechanism and a primary corrector that simultaneously advances all calendar displays. Both models are made as limited editions of fifty pieces. Price: $91,800.
The fourth debut is a newly gold-cased Saxonia Thin with an arresting gold-flux-coated blue dial. The glittering manual-wind watch, a favorite (at least at iW) since its debut several years ago in white gold, measures 40mm by 6.2mm and really sparkles in any light to emulate a starry night sky. The secret: Thousands of copper oxide crystals embedded in the deep blue dial. In its all-new pink gold case, the watch comes in a limited edition of fifty watches. Technically, the watch offers the Cal. L093.1 movement with a superior 72 hours of power reserve. Price: $27,100.
Dial: 18-karat white gold, grey with hand-engraved lozenge pattern, semi-transparent enameling.
Functions: Time indicated in hours, minutes, and subsidiary seconds; one-minute tourbillon with stop seconds; Up/Down power-reserve indicator; large date.
Movement:Lange manufacture Caliber L042.1, manually wound, decorated and assembled twice by hand; precision-adjusted in five positions; three-quarter plate made of untreated German silver; tourbillon and intermediate wheel cocks engraved by hand.
Strap: Hand-stitched black leather with grey seam, deployant buckle in 950 platinum.
(Editor note: Benrus has discontinued selling this watch. “Unfortunately there was a question around the movement and its authenticity,” according to a Benrus publicist. “Out of an abundance of caution Benrus has removed this product and is conducting further research.”)
Mechanical alarm watches combine a truly useful timekeeping function with the collector’s love of automatic or manual-wind movements. This week the recently revived watchmaker Benrus, founded in New York in 1921, debuts a superb retro-inspired alarm watch that offers these enticements, but also adds another compelling component: a vintage movement.
Inside the Benrus Wrist Alarm you’ll find a fully rebuilt A. Schild manual-wind movement from the 1970s.Thus, inside the new Benrus Wrist Alarm you’ll find a fully rebuilt A. Schild 1931 manual-wind movement from the 1970s. Benrus is utilizing movements that were never used and have been carefully disassembled and fully serviced in Switzerland to assure they are operating as if they were new. More than 330,000 original AS 1931 movements were sold between 1970 and 1974, according to Benrus, which offers more details about the history of the original movement on its website.
The new 38mm steel Benrus Wrist Alarm allows the wearer to set the alarm hand as desired using the crown at the 2 o’clock position. After winding the alarm with the same crown, the user can expect a fairly loud buzz for about ten seconds at the chosen time.
The watch itself echoes the look of a Benrus alarm watch circa 1956. Within its steel case you’ll see an off-white linen patterned dial, applied polished stainless steel numerals and markers and domed sapphire crystal.
Benrus sets the Wrist Alarm with a dark blue genuine leather strap with deployant buckle. The watch is water resistant to 50 meters and has an enhanced 50-hour power reserve. Benrus will make 500 Wrist Alarms. Price: $1,295.
(Please see note at the top of this story regarding the availability of this watch.)