The Founder of Clerkenwell-based The Family Business tattoo parlour and highly sought-after inksman to the stars developed a passion for watches a decade ago
WHO: Mo Coppoletta, tattoo artist and designer
WATCH: De Bethune DB28
“I was always slightly into watches but not as deep as now. The real journey started about ten years ago, when I saw a report on SIHH on Italian television, and I thought maybe it was the right time for me to start developing a new hobby.
It was the designs most of all – and the passion to dig deeper and try to find out more about the watches than general knowledge would allow. I was very fond of the independent brands almost straight away. Some I never warmed up to at all, and others I really built a passion for. You can’t be passionate about every brand, they’re too different – it’s like liking all music.
It was about 2008 that I got to know De Bethune. I admired the way they could join design and technique, movements and aesthetics. I have watches that I absolutely love in my collection, and go crazy about, but emotionally, De Bethune is my strongest connection in the watch world.
This one here came about 2-3 years after the DB28 was launched. It’s a special one-off order – there is a version like that with a tourbillon, but this one doesn’t have one, and it has got the bridges with no rubies, flat bridges on the front. I already had one before – a DB25 Starry Sky, one of the first iterations of it when the dial is not so blue, and when I saw the combination here of zirconium and rose gold, I fell for it because of its sheer opulence. There are at least another ten watches I would like to get from De Bethune but this one came first.
I do wear it – but I rotate my watches quite a lot. I’m not saying it’s a special occasion watch, but the nature of it and the structure of it, it’s not a daily beater. And I’m obsessed with scratches and things, but at the same time it’s got to be worn.
The watch matches my style, without a shadow of a doubt. It’s pure no corners cut attitude. The watches are what they are; they are expensive but there’s no shortcut there. De Bethune assaults you with so much aesthetic fireworks that you forget – and the whole watch world forgets – how incredibly finished these watches are. It is at the level of the top end finishers in the world, like Dufour or Voutilainen.
Right now, I have to say the most exciting part of horology is the independent brands. I don’t own a Patek. I own one Rolex, to go diving in the sea. I’m not into that – or rather, the whole circus around it keeps me away from it. I’d rather go away and research and get a bespoke piece, something that’s really mine.”