Breitling has done a lot of work in the last year to revamp their chronograph lines, introducing new Navitimers, Top Times, and derivations thereof on a fairly consistent basis over the past several months. As a brand, they’re largely known for a handful of classic chronograph references, so this strategy makes a lot of sense. But their latest release is a good reminder that they can still make a pretty solid diver as well. The Superocean is their flagship dive watch, and Breitling has just unveiled an entirely revamped collection of the diver that pays due respect to the line’s roots in the 60s.
The idea behind these new Superoceans seems to be to add color wherever possible, and give customers a ton of variety when it comes to case size. The new watches are loosely based on the Super Ocean “Slow Motion,” so named for its lack of a seconds hand (in its place divers made use of a minutes-based chronograph which took an hour to move around the dial). The new Superoceans do, in fact, have a running seconds hand, but otherwise the aesthetic of Breitling’s 60s and 70s Superoceans is largely left intact. The watches feature crisp contrast between the dial interior and an outer minute track, making legibility at a glance about as straightforward as possible. It’s a simple, tried and true format that doesn’t exactly break any new ground, but that’s obviously not really what these watches are about. There’s a saying about things that aren’t broken not needing to be fixed that would seem to apply here.
The real story with the new Superocean collection is the variety. There are a total of four case sizes, three metals, and dials in white, orange, turquoise, black, blue, and green. The 46mm stainless steel case is the largest and feels like a watch from that recent period in Breitling’s history that many enthusiasts would rather forget, but is still very much a part of the brand. The big diver comes in simple black or blue dial variants, each with a matching ceramic bezel that is paired with a locking mechanism to keep it secure.
Next in line is a 44mm case in stainless steel, with dials in black, blue, turquoise, and green. These watches forego the locking bezel for a traditional ratcheting bezel, but it’s still in a color matched ceramic. The green and blue variants are available with color matched rubber straps, while the turquoise dial features a black strap (they can all be paired with bracelets, as well). There’s also a 44mm case in bronze, with a brown dial and matching brown rubber strap.
The 42mm Superocean is probably going to be the most sensible option for the widest group of collectors. Dials in this case size are offered in black, blue, and white. The white watch is an outlier in the collection in that it doesn’t have a minute scale that contrasts with the interior dial, but it does have applied hour markers that are set off with a blue outline. There’s a bronze offering in this size as well, here with a green dial. The 42mm size is also where gold makes its mark in the Superocean line, with a black dialed variant with classic gilt accents and an 18 carat red gold bezel and crown. Additionally, there’s an orange dialed variant in this size which is a limited edition made in partnership with surfer Kelly Slater.
Lastly, we have the 36mm Superocean. Here we have dial options in white, turquoise, and orange. These watches are notably lighter in tone thanks to the bezel insert, which is still ceramic but appears to be color matched to the case metal. It gives these smallest Superoceans a very different look.
All of the new Superoceans run on the Breitling Cailber 17 movement, which is their modified ETA 2824. Water resistance is 300 meters across the entire lineup, and as you’d expect each watch has a modern feature set that includes sapphire glass, a screw down crown, and what appears to be plenty of lume on the hands and chunky hour markers. The case thickness varies, with the larger 46mm watch coming in at 13.22mm thick, and the 42mm watches at 12.56 (the 44mm case is only slightly thicker than the 42mm, at 12.62mm). Prices, as you’d expect, have quite a range as well, going from $4,600 for the 36mm variants up to $6,700 for the version with gold accents.
Even in this climate of watch releases that occur on regular monthly intervals, it’s fairly unusual to get an entire new collection like this in one fell swoop. It would seem to indicate that Breitling has a certain amount of confidence in this version of the Superocean, and wants to get it on the wrists of as many collectors as possible right away. It’s a fairly dizzying array of options, so if you’re even a little bit inclined toward this style of retro diver, there’s probably something here that holds some appeal. For more information, head on over to the Breitling website.