De Bethune Dream Watch 5
Watch & Bullion10 June 2019 | 2 min read
The De Bethune Dream Watch series has always been one less concerned with what should be done and more about what could be done. De Bethune is a relatively small independent Swiss watchmaker nestled comfortably in the Haute Horologie niche of the watch world. Founded in 2002 they have made a name for themselves through a combination of unique designs, avant-garde materials, and cutting edge silicon balance springs. The culmination of all those ingredients can be experienced nowhere more than in the Dream Watch 5, which throws all attempts at rationality right out of the window.
First of all, I would really like to point out that I struggle to call this piece simply a watch. Although the word is found in the name it doesn’t capture the essence of what this is all about: art. In fact De Bethune say so themselves in their own press release. Their focus was the miniaturization of the mechanisms inside the piece which they display through the purposefully small area given to the actual practice of telling the time. This is nevertheless done though in an interesting manner as it uses digital method to show time with a jumping hour complication. Additionally, the watch features a moon phase complication which functions through a small revolving coloured sphere right next to the hours similar in function to those used by Christiaan van der Klaauw.
While not chunky on the wrist I don’t think you necessarily notice much of that miniaturization while wearing it due to the design. This is due to the mind-boggling idea of a totally mirror polished titanium thing that most closely resembles a spaceship. It is positioned like it wants to fly straight up your arm with a red ruby on the crown that looks a bit like a jet flame. The underside manages to focus on the essentials. All we get is a small hole similar to that on the front that exposes the state of the art silicon hairspring.
The titanium version of this watch costs 150,000 CHF. There was though also a 500,000 CHF unique version made where the case is crafted out of a single meteorite which makes you wonder whether we live in the last days of Rome. The meteorite version further features the both fastest and lightest tourbillon in the world, vibrating at 5HZ and weighing only 0.18 gram. Excess doesn’t even begin to explain as to how you can price a watch so steeply, but somehow I still do not find myself being of the opinion that something like this shouldn’t exist. The work that went into this dream to make it into a reality speaks of a level of fanaticism that I consider truly respect inspiring.