In 2021, is a GMT watch necessarily a travel watch? When was the last time you got on a plane? Whilst the travel world is slowly awakening from its enforced hibernation, I still know very few people who have managed to make any kind of international journey. And if you do travel, the multiple testing and potential quarantining make it a choice for only those that absolutely have to…and football fans.
Bearing all this in mind, it might initially seem like an unfortunate time to be launching a travel watch. De Bethune today unveils its new riff on the DB25, a GMT complication that is beautiful and useful in equal measure. Will we soon be taking to the skies and needing a travel watch? I’m sure those times will return at some point, but actually monitoring another time zone is arguably more important now than at any other time in history.
Recent events have forced almost all of us to work more globally on a day-to-day basis. Being aware of and operating within different time zones is now, for many of us, something we do on a daily basis and not just when we hop on a 747 and head to a new continent. In light of this, thank goodness there’s a new GMT watch on the market, because we all need them now!
The watch in question is the DB25, a well-known and well-loved presence in the watch community. The watch comprises a 42mm grade 5 titanium case, open worked lugs and a sapphire crew down case back. The dial has three concentric readings. Starting for the outermost, there is the main time that is read using the blued hands that one would use as local time. Next in is the home or reference time, that instead of reading using a second hour hand one reads via a floating microsphere that seemingly floats through its channel. The third reading on the dial is the date, which is the innermost scale and features a jumping date hand.
The microsphere that references home time is an ingenious invention that not only acts essentially as a 24-hour hand but also rotates to display day and night. It is one half blue and one half pink to represent the two phases of a day and gradually turns at 6am and 6pm to imitate sunrise and sunset. The centre of the dial represents both day and night, with a pink gold sun in the upper half and the night sky in the lower half, set in blued titanium. The night sky is highlighted by white gold pins that are set in the titanium dial.
This is the brand’s 29th movement and the irony of De Bethune developing the travel watch at such a time of global lock down isn’t lost on Denis Flageollet, Founder and Master Watchmaker of De Bethune. “What on earth was I thinking of in working on a new GMT travel watch while all the countries of the world were entering lockdown? I am pleased that it is now finished and that all the nomads of the planet can finally resume their journey, doubtless with a different view of our world.” Well, whether that journey is physically to a new time zone or via Zoom or Google Meet, this watch is arguably one of the most beautiful ways to keep your eyes on the time on both sides of the pond.
Movement: Calibre DB2507 hours, minutes, second time zone (GMT), day/night indicator and jumping date
Case and dial: 42mm grade 5 titanium case. Blued titanium and rose gold centre dial, silver-toned date ring, silver hour ring, rose gold minute ring, silver 24hr sub-dial.
Strap: Extra supple alligator leather strap with titanium pin buckle
Availability and Price: Available now; CHF 95,000