Breitling is very likely a brand that needs no introduction for most of us. While I can’t say I’m intimately familiar with all of the lineup, I have a passing knowledge of the brand. And it has stayed passing, because I have not found watches in their lineup that have appealed to be previously. While I appreciate the aviation heritage, the dials have often felt too cluttered for a landlubber like me. That is, until I came across the Breitling Transocean 38.
This new Transocean is an extension of the same storied line that has been in production for over 55 years now. The original was intended as a travel companion for overseas, long-haul flying. While this latest can certainly serve in that capacity as well, I think the Transocean 38 really hearkens back to a simpler time -both for watches and for aviation.
While there is nothing in the PR materials that would suggest this to be a vintage (or heritage) model, it definitely has that feel to it. For starters, take the case diameter. While the 38mm polished steel case works in today’s world as a sort of unisex sizing, to my eye it goes directly back to the smaller watches of fifty-plus years ago. Then, within that case, you’ve got a matte black dial, on top of which are set stick-style applied indices, a crisp white subseconds dial (which I appreciate that it is not outlined), and what appear to be luminous (and nicely sized) stick hands for the main time.
If that all weren’t enough for the throwback feeling, we have the original Breitling B, in gold, topping the dial. If things stopped there, we’d have a simple look back into the Breitling catalog. Mixing things up a bit are some very modern touches. First and foremost, there is the large date display just below the B, which is a rather uncommon position, but I like the stance it gives the dial. Keeping things modern as well is the 100m WR and sapphire crystal, which both serve to protect the COSC-rated Breitling Caliber 16 movement.
Last, but not least, there’s the matter of the mesh bracelet that is available. On one hand, it does call to mind the mesh bracelets of the 60s, but I would imagine that it imparts a very solid feel to the wrist that is very modern thing. Of course, you could also opt for the other leather strap, if you want to lighten things up a bit.
All in all, this is the first Breitling that I can say I honestly sat up and took a close notice of. There is a great mix of styling here for many people (including a mix of dials, including some MOP options), and it’s a classic style that I just plain like. The Breitling Transocean 38 is available now for a price of $5,800. breitling.com
- Brand & Model: Breitling Transocean 38
- Price: $5,800
- Who we think it might be for: This is for the person who likes the Breitling story, but would be looking for something a bit less complex than their standard fare
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: Absolutely, budget notwithstanding
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: Let’s play around with the dial color a bit – perhaps a royal blue
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: Just how understated it seems within the scope of the Breitling offerings
Tech Specs from Breitling
- Movement: Breitling Caliber 16, officially chronometer-certified by the COSC,
selfwinding, high-frequency (28,800 vibrations per hour), 30 jewels. Large-aperture
- Case: steel. Water-resistant to 100 m (330 ft). Convex sapphire crystal, glareproofed on both sides. Diameter: 38 mm.
- Dials: Pearl, Pearl Diamond, black, Mercury silver.
- Strap/Bracelets: leather/Ocean Classic or Air Racer.