It’s wild to think that we’ve existed in the same reality as De Bethune’s DB28 for 12 years now, though it is somewhat less surprising that the futuristic design is only becoming sleeker with age. Case in point; the De Bethune DB28XP Star Wheels.
While it shares the visual identity of the DB28, this DB28XP Star Wheels is a vastly stripped-back take on the model. It combines two evolutions of the DB28 into one slender and transparently stunning model: 2018’s Star Wheels, an open-worked take on the model, and 2020’s DB28XP, a sparse, 7.2mm thin version. Here then, we have a slimmed down and opened up watch, and the effect is startling. The open dial with its central biomorphic triangle motif echoes the open design of the oh-so-comfortable articulated lugs.
Like the DB28XP, this version is in highly polished titanium, a glistening spaceship under lights. With its open architecture, the Star Wheels version takes that interplay to warp speed, with a greater play of light, shadow and negative space that gives the watch a dynamic and contemporary feel. Contrast is provided thanks to open-worked barrels and ratchet wheels, blued titanium hands and ratcheted hour ring.
The DB28 is one of the true superstars of contemporary independent watchmaking. And this watch is further proof of the fact. a lesser design would not play so well in numerous iterations, but the strength of De Bethune’s technical watchmaking, combined with the fundamental integrity of the design, ensures that the DB28XP Star Wheels is as relevant and otherworldly as any DB28.
Movement: Calibre DB211v11, hand-wound, patented titanium balance, patented balance spring, silicon escape wheel and patented pare-chute shock absorption, 6 days power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, power reserve on rear
Case: 43mm x 7.2mm, polished grade 5 titanium, 30M water-resistance
Strap: Alligator strap with titanium pin buckle
Availability: Limited to 25 pieces