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De Bethune’s watchmaking lab unveils DW5 Tourbillon Season 1 work of art

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De Bethune is continuing its skunkworks lab experiments, which have already brought us Dream Watches 1 to 4, with a fifth horological creation in the form of an arrowhead-shaped piece made from titanium and sapphire known as the DW5 Tourbillon ‘Season 1’.

The radical case shape, measuring 58mm in length, 47mm wide and 17mm at its highest point, is actually a second De Bethune watch of its type, following on from the Dream Watch 4, which was a more closed watch showing only the moonphase, hour and minute disks under a polished metal hood.

Both the Dream Watches 4 and 5 could not look more futuristic, which is exactly what De Bethune’s master watchmaker and founder Denis Flageollet set out to achieve with the watches.

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Timepieces from independent watchmakers like De Bethune — now majority-owned by WatchBox — are rapidly rising in value because they are seen more as works of art than timekeepers today.

This makes the experimentation in the Dream Watches all the more relevant to today’s market, which is looking for uniqueness and rarity.

Only 10 of the DW5 Tourbillon ‘Season 1’ will be made.

De Bethune has been a pioneer in the use of sapphire as a sculptural material for its watches including, back in 2008, creating sapphire crystal hands encircled by blued titanium for its DB26QP and the sapphire bridge of the DB28 Steel Wheel movement.

The DW5 case calls on all of these skills. Rather than carving it from a single block of sapphire Mr Flageollet made a blued titanium skeleton with seven different sapphire inserts – each crafted with unique curves and proportions.

The shapes guide the eye towards the digital display of hours and minutes, visible through a hand-cut cabochon-shaped crystal.

On the back of the watch, the sapphire crystal creates the illusion of a magnifying glass that presents the DB2149 calibre and its tourbillon in all its glory.

It is on sale in the United States for $520,000, including tax.

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