David Zanetta founded the independent watch brand De Bethune together with Denis Flageollet in 2002, but the watchmaker started collecting important timepieces as early as the 1970’s. His in-depth knowledge and passion for the art of watchmaking drove him to amass a collection of extraordinary and one-of-a-kind timepieces, which today are seen in museums and in the collections of the world’s most prolific private collectors. Haute Time caught up with the man himself at SIHH last month to talk about his ability to create watches without any brand obligation in terms of style and mechanics.
HT: What is De Bethune’s focus for their first SIHH?
At this fair, we have focused on two main pieces: one is the World Time (DB25 World Traveller) with a different conception from the tradition, with special mechanics and with rotating indication of sun and moon / day and night, and the other one is a variation on the DB28, created on the basis of a study between sound and colour. (This watch is named ‘Kind of Blue’, as a reference to the seminal Miles Davis album).
Even in very antique cultures, they had knowledge of the relationship between sound and colour. In fact, many major artists, even in recent history, with Kandinsky as one of the last painter to study this concept, have been focussed on this relation between the vibration of energies. I found it extremely interesting to explore these findings on a physical watch.
Today, a watch is something totally useless, it’s out of time and so it needs to be something else, as close as possible to a work of art to give the owner a different sensation and satisfaction, because today nobody needs a watch to read time.
HT: How do you conjure up the ideas to make these unique watches?
First of all, I never think. I ask inside me for an idea… I just open the door and I find the idea already standing there. So, it’s enough for me to pick it up and transform the idea into reality through my technicians and the other skilled people who are working for me. It’s as simple as that.
HT: What’s your next watch concept?
I really don’t know. I have not yet put this interrogation to myself at this moment of time.
Photo Credit: Haute Time. For more information, please visit the official De Bethune website. Follow Haute Time on Instagram to catch all of the new releases as they happen.