Watch personalisation is nothing new and is as old as the art of watchmaking itself. From fully bespoke independent commissions to case back inscriptions or even a unique strap, watch collectors like to put their own stamp on a watch. Early watchmakers relied on patrons to commission pieces as a means to funding their endeavours and in recent times, brands such as Project X and Bamford Watch Department have been the go-to guys to make your most outlandish watch dreams come true. Now De Bethune is going one step further with watch personalisation by offering clients novel way of making sure that their watch is perfectly tailor made to the life the timepiece will lead.
The “Sensoriel Chronometry Project” is De Bethune’s new offer to those acquiring a new DB28GS Grande Bleu. Customers will be given the opportunity to wear a test watch for a two-week period, during which the watch will gather key information on how and where the watch will be worn. According to the brand, around two million pieces of information per hour will be recorded by the sensors in the test watch, that will then be fully analysed by the De Bethune Chronometry Workshop. The wearer will have no more taxing duties than to wear the watch in the manner that they imagine the actual timepiece will be worn and keep on top of the charging of the watch using a USB cable.
The test watch will monitor movements, positions, shocks, ambient temperature, hygrometry and atmospheric pressure. Denis Flageollet, Master Watchmaker and co-founder of De Bethune, and his team have developed a robotic arm in an atmospheric chamber that will receive all the date and recreate the movements and therefore allow the watchmakers to adjust the customer’s watch to exactly the requirements for its life ahead. This is an industry first and can be used throughout a watch’s lifespan if the customer requests an adjustment.
This is a new project and, due to the scale of the company, will be offered to a few clients initially with plans to ramp up the service in the coming months and years. There is also an interesting strand to this story that, understanding watch collectors as much as I do, will certainly be something to keep an eye on; the test watches. Do you remember in the early days of Hublot, those “Service Watch” dialled Hublots that clients received when taking their watches in for maintenance? They pretty quickly became hot collectibles. I’m pretty sure the De Bethune testing watches will become one of the most coveted pieces amongst De Bethune fans. Collectors are collectors, right?