Celebrating 60 years of the Breitling Superocean

As Victor noted in a recent discussion he and I were having (talking about Baselworld releases), this really seems to be the year of the anniversary.  Quite a few brands are celebrating milestones for various watches, and Breitling is another one to join that particular party.  For me, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Breitling’s watches.  For most of 2their aviation watches (and particularly the chronographs) I simply find the dials to be way too busy, and just not all that good looking.  Then there’s the love side of the coin, where they have classic lines and clean looks, all in a well-sorted package.  That’s where the recently announced Breitling Superocean Héritage II line up falls for me.

For this release, there are two sizes (42mm and 46mm), three colors (black, blue, bronze), and a chronograph option as well (only in 46mm).  For me, the one that really just suits me down to the ground (to borrow a phrase from Karl Pilkington) is the Breitling Superocean Héritage II 42 – in blue, of course.

The original (left) and the new (right)

This, plainly put, is just a good-looking watch.  The 42mm steel case is a relatively compact one (for a diver) at 14.35mm thick, while still giving a good bit of wrist presence.  Then again, there is just something I (and I presume many of you) find attractive about a dive watch, particularly one with some classic lines to it.  Though, for a dive watch, this is one that definitely seems to be more for looks than functionality.

Yes, there is the 200m WR rating that the Breitling Superocean Héritage II carries, and there is also the fact that no modern diver would rely on a mechanical watch solely when they dive.  That said, we tend to expect a lot of lume on diver dials – but that is not the case on this Breitling.  All of the applied indices are polished (no lume fill).  This is why I think this is really more of a desk diver (still a good thing in my book, though Neal might disagree).  For nighttime (or underwater visibility), there are pips on the outer track at the hours, and the hands are lume-filled.  The marketing materials also call out the luminous pip on the bezel, so it’s unclear if any of the other markers on that lovely ceramic bezel glow or not (guessing not).

While there is a rubber strap option for the Breitling Superocean Héritage II line, I think that the mesh strap they’re offering really completes the look of the watch.  Aside from honing in on that original Superocean from 60 years ago, it just plain looks right with the watch.  Sure, rubber straps have their place, but I find that bracelets (when they’re available) are the more flexible option, going from conference room to cabana to cabin without an issue.

And, frankly, if you’re putting down the $4,700 that the Breitling Superocean Héritage II 42 commands, I would be expecting a bracelet, not a rubber strap.  Are there more affordable vintage-look divers out there with a date window?  Sure, there are, I won’t argue that.  When you’re getting into the realm of watches like the Breitling Superocean Héritage II 42, though, you’re searching for something else other than the best price.  You’re going for some of the cachet a brand carries, yeah, but you’re also going for the technical knowhow that lives on in that movement, and in what was assembled into the watch that is on your wrist.  While there are many a Breitling I would not give a second look to, I think the Breitling Superocean Héritage II line is deserving of all the looks.  breitling.com

Watch Overview
  • Brand & Model:  Breitling Superocean Héritage II 42
  • Price: $4,700
  • Who we think it might be for: You want a classic (heritage) look in your next desk diver
  • Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?  Price aside, yes, this is a particularly lovely watch
  • If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: Color match that date wheel!
  • What spoke to me the most about this watch: The overall look and feel of the watch, particularly in blue
Tech Specs from Breitling
  • Movement:  B20 automatic; 28,800 VPH; 70 hour power reserve; 28 jewels
  • Case:  42mm, steel; screw-down crown
  • Bezel:  unidirectional, ceramic insert
  • WR:  200m
  • Crystal:  sapphire with anti-reflective coating
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