If you are a Formula 1 fanatic, the name JPS (John Player Specials) should surely ring a bell. With a succession of victories – seven Constructors’ World Championship titles, six Drivers’ World Championship and so on, JPS is like a mechanical dream and is often cited as the most beautiful Formula 1 car ever built. 

As a nod to the bold ‘JPS’ spirit of the era, De Bethune has introduced a new version of its DB28GS ‘JPS’ sports watch – a fearsome and severe black paired with glorious gleaming gold.

The DB28GS ‘JPS’ is yet another testament to De Bethune’s expertise in working with the oxidation of titanium and its colour palette.  The signature De Bethune blue is now succeeded by a golden yellow colour, for which the creative process required new assembly techniques and texturing skills. Between polished and matt finishes, to dark grey and deep black, the golden accents you see here are in fact yellow titanium.

In 1978, the Lotus 78 JPS Mark III revolutionised the aerodynamics of competitive motoring with an all-new upturned aeroplane wing profile enabling it to leverage the suction effect. The car was truly ‘glued’ to the track. Similarly, Denis Flageollet and his team have worked towards improving the performance of the movement’s regulating organs by seeking to eliminate the suction effect that pushes it towards the mainplate.

Let’s simplify this. It is worth recalling that air is also a fluid, albeit an invisible one. A Swiss mathematician, Daniel Bernoulli, developed a principle stating that within the flow of a fluid, an acceleration occurs simultaneously with a decrease in pressure. This is what enables an aeroplane to fly. Its wings have two different profiles: on the curved side, the air goes faster (because it has to cover a greater distance); while on the other side, the air flows slower, with the difference in pressure creating the lift that allows the plane to fly.

The DB28 GS ‘JPS’ is black and gold, even in the dark

This is exactly what Denis Flageollet is trying to do with his balances: they pass so close to the mainplate that they tend to experience a suction effect. In the case of a race car, its upturned wing generates a negative lift that pushes the car towards the track, increasing the grip of its tyres and enabling it to go faster around corners. De Bethune’s balances have exactly the opposite effect, giving them an “aeroplane wing” effect and thus providing lift and lightness that almost allows them to “fly”.

While the suction effect is even more powerful with the acceleration of the car, the same occurs during the acceleration phase of the balance. Just as the F1 car takes advantage of the upturned wing to press the car to the ground when it accelerates, the benefit is just as effective in reverse for the balance, which uses the aeroplane wing process to avoid it being ‘pushed’ towards the mainplate.

Did you know that F1 engineers were among the first to work on DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon) anti-friction coatings to reduce the friction of metal parts in their engines and thus improve performance. Similarly, Denis Flageollet and his team have worked on the fantastic properties of DLC coating on hardened steel to improve the durability of watches’ black floating lugs and bezels. However, De Bethune uses DLC treatment only on ultra-hard tempered stainless steels such as those used in engines or for sharp surgical tools. By applying DLC to soft materials such as 316L stainless steel or titanium the material actually gets deformed by the impact of the coating and could get brittle. 

Another important attribute of a sports watch is its legibility and affinity to be suited to an active lifestyle. De Bethune has most certainly delivered. Keeping these facts in mind the movement was developed from the outset in such a way as to light up the dial and movement from the inside. A white light source is thus produced by an entirely mechanical means that work on a dynamo-inspired principle. 

The pusher at 6 o’clock that serves to provide light on demand

A pusher at 6 o’clock driven by the double-barrel serves to provide light on demand thanks to a gear train. By means of an original miniature dynamo, this gear train supplies the energy necessary to light up the face of the watch without affecting its operation and the energy necessary for the smooth running of its movement. This is a real challenge that is truly comparable to the highly technical operation of a minute repeater movement, in which the overall energy efficiency must be maximal and perfectly controlled.

A few seconds of light are more than enough to read the time, even at night. The DB28 GS ‘JPS’ is black and gold, even in the dark.

A master of ergonomy and comfort

Measuring 44 mm in diameter and water-resistant to 105 metres (10 ATM), the DB28GS ‘JPS’ is no exception to the De Bethune rule of wearer comfort. The combination of black zirconium and stainless steel, the softness of its hand-polished finish, the 12 o’clock position of its crown and ofcourse the patented floating lug system with their famous cone-shaped tips, comprising polished yellow grade 5 titanium inserts recalling the side of the case ensure that the DB28GS ‘JPS’ adapts particularly well to the size of any wrist.

Limited edition: 50 pièces

Price: 105’000.- CHF taxes excluded – (Approx INR 86,17,939)

Coming from a family of watch enthusiasts and pioneers, Kari, as fondly identified by the watch-community, has been a part of this mystical world of horology for almost two decades now. From watch magazines to books to Internationally acclaimed watch shows, Kari has founded, initiated and pioneered various such endeavours.

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