10:22:40

De Bethune
Demonstrates
Résonique High-
Frequency
Escapement
Breakthrough

Presented by:

Westime Stories
De Bethune
Hand Holding a Watch

On December 8, 2011, at 10 hours, 18 minutes and 6 seconds during the first public presentation, De Bethune demonstrated a 926Hz oscillator (6,667,200 vph) with an escapement turning at a rate of 2525.5 RPM.

Free of any balance-wheel, balance-spring or traditional escapement, and composed of a limited number of parts in motion, the silent mechanism conceived by De Bethune and named Résonique promised to achieve the highest level of accuracy, while eliminating the usual constraints such as lubrication, wear and resistance. Thus unhindered high frequency had become a physical reality within the De Bethune R&D labs, where fundamental research in the field of mechanical horology has reached unprecedented peaks of precision and frequency.

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Escapement
Innovations

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For the past several years, De Bethune has focused its research efforts on developing super-high-frequency escapements. The brand thus began equipping its watches with several 28,800 vph calibres and three 36,000 movements in tourbillon and chronograph versions. In a field mainly composed of mechanical watches oscillating between 2.5 and 5 Hz, the De Bethune experimental 72 000 vph silicon escapement presented in 2006, with self-compensating balance wheel and balance-spring, emphasized the fact that the balance-and-spring frequency maintained by a lever could barely hope to exceed 10 Hz due to reliability issues, and mostly because of the inevitable limitations of mechanical resistance, including natural wear over time.

High frequency has thus been proven and acknowledged to be a significant factor for the mechanical movement of a wristwatch, because the higher the frequency of its calibre, the less it will be sensitive to the inevitable shocks sustained by a watch when worn on the wrist. The 2006 watch and its lab clones demonstrated that increasing the frequency of the sprung balance beyond 5 Hz necessarily implies risks and premature wear of components – results that were incompatible with De Bethune’s self-imposed standards of quality and reliability.


Since the limits of the current system had been reached, it was clearly time to move on to a radical alternative solution that made it possible to achieve 10 to 100 times higher frequencies without disturbing the smooth running of the movement or damaging its components.

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Paving the way
for Résonique

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Based on the physical laws of mechanical resonance, De Bethune was paving the way for a new horological field and has been making its research and knowledge freely available to the watchmaking community. Their efforts involved engineers, watchmakers, and a physicist, all working to develop a next-gen escapement powered by non-mechanical forces. As of 2007, De Bethune launched studies on various types of “oscillating” resonators and escapements in order to move beyond the maximum 5 Hz frequency critical threshold defined by the De Bethune technical laboratory. After two years of studies conducted by engineers and the physicist Siddharta Berns from the De Bethune laboratory, working under the guidance of De Bethune co-founder Denis Flageollet, a new principle of mechanical horology was developed.

This discovery, named “Horological Résonique”, is based on the successful synchronization between an acoustic resonator and a magnetic-escapement rotor within a mechanical watch.


This high-frequency resonance system serves to store up the energy in order to maintain a high-powered time-measurement mechanism. Résonique, which represents a complete break with the traditional sprung balance, has generated a new process of reflection and has paved the way for a number of developments, multi-partner research projects, patent registrations, and many other confidential studies.

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De Bethune Watch

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De Bethune Watch

Modern-Day
Alchemists

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Launched in 2002 with the goal of observing tradition from a new angle, and fittingly named in tribute to a knight who was also a spirited inventor, De Bethune is a young brand but has already built an impressive heritage: 26 calibers developed in 15 years.


Its aesthetic signature is represented by the implementation of heat-blued titanium, based on a technique that has been used for steel and iron since the 16th century. This process also made it possible for the brand to produce watches with different shades of blue, such as blue steel hands on a blue titanium dial.

In 2004, two years after its foundation, De Bethune introduced an ingenious balance wheel that was made of platinum weights at the end of titanium crossbars. In its formative years, the brand pushed this exploration of mechanical oscillators ever further.


The De Bethune terminal curve made its debut in 2006, and it is manually assembled in the brand’s own manufacture located in L’Auberson, in the Jura mountain grassland of the Vaud canton in Switzerland. The De Bethune signature extends to movement decoration, especially with the Côtes De Bethune, which, unlike the Côtes de Genéve that are applied in one direction from one end of a component to the other, originate from the line of symmetry of a central movement component. This decoration twist also draws the eye towards the center of the movement. Capturing our fascination with the starry sky, the spherical moon phase of De Bethune, formed out of joined hemispheres of steel and palladium, is accurate to 122 years, while most moon-phase watches have an accuracy of only 32.5 weeks.

 

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The first chronograph from De Bethune debuted in 2006, and immediately made waves with its configuration of five centrally mounted hands on a single axis, two dedicated to time-telling, and three devoted to the chronograph function. Information is read off concentric counters, a spacially efficient and intuitive system in comparison to the traditional chronograph subdial format.

 

The 2015 DB28 Grand Sport, which is oriented towards the more active clientele, was the first De Bethune timepiece to be water resistant to 100m, with significant dues owed to the 2008 DB24 Super Sport, and the 2007 DB22 Power.


The 2014 DB28 Maxichrono and DB29 Maxichrono Tourbillon implemented an innovative clutch system that optimized each chronograph display with an energy-efficient, gear-engaging mechanism.

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On the management side, Denis Flageollet, co-founder and master watchmaker, remains the creative visionary at the helm, while Pierre Jacques, the brand’s CEO from 2011 to 2015, has returned with a group of shareholders in the fall of 2017, and is leading the company back to its winning ways.

 

De Bethune premiered its “Kind of Blue” sub-collection in 2016, taking its hallmark heat-blued titanium, which appeared in restrained amounts in previous watches, and making it the main visual identity of the timepiece. The DB28 Kind of Gold USA Limited Edition was launched as a special 10-piece edition to commemorate De Bethune’s presence at Watches & Wonders Miami, in February 2019.

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De Bethune Watches

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Bethune watches at
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