For thousands of years, man has been trying to express the fragile beauty of the heavens in material form. A source of endless fascination, and a canvas for both spiritual and artistic endeavour, the infinity of its enigmatic immensity is not easily tamed, as those who have sought to capture it have found. How can so much subtlety, life and complexity ever be apprehended? For, from the finely curved lines of ancient celestial goddesses to the shameless gazes of our satellites, the Milky Way is a vibrant reflection of humankind and of its progress through time.
Following the example set by nature, the De Bethune Manufacture's craftsmen have used an artful combination of elements and materials to encapsulate in gold and glass a few drops of the essence of the skies. Dexterous fingers have shaped a titanium mirror and, through the flames, an experienced eye has brought forth its infinite chromatic richness. This unique blue oxide structure plays host to the captive stars. First, small white gold spheres set one by one by hand stand out from the deep sky blue. Then, their abundance is revealed under the fiery dart of the laser. Draped in a fine layer of pure gold leaf, they shine and sparkle, casting out subtle golden glints of colour. Finally, a blued steel and platinum spherical moon-phase stands guard majestically over this Elysium. Mesmerised by so much life, unable to turn away, one surrenders to it, leaving behind a small part of one’s soul as the price for redemption. This reciprocity, close to love, is the very essence of De Bethune creations, where an emotional and infinite connection is created between the object and its owner, exuding a beauty that will endure over time.
And yet, it is precisely time that inhabits this proud platinum case with hollowed lugs. Centuries of knowledge and experience stand alongside the most contemporary of materials and innovations in an alliance where the spirit of the great master watchmakers of the past is reborn each second. Here, the respiration of a balance spring on its silicon core echoes the age-old transformation of energy into units of time. There, the steel case back of its mechanical body, polished to a mirror shine, celebrates a forgotten knowledge once reserved solely for the emperors of China. Emerging from this fusion of past and present is the future of mechanical time, that of twenty-first century watchmaking. However, also underlining the outstanding mastery of the De Bethune Manufacture artists and the unique challenge they face in their work, is its apparent simplicity, like that of starry nights. For, in their quest for perfection and the absolute, the essential reigns supreme and the best always triumphs over pointless complexities. Even the dazzling diamonds encircling it show modesty and restraint beside the celestial clouds of gold on its dial. So, whenever life's frenzy takes over and monopolises our time, as we reflect upon its relentless onward march, we may suddenly need to lose ourselves momentarily in contemplation of one of its most sublime representations, and to reach for the stars.