Brief History of the First Breitling SuperOcean Watches
What do Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms, Rolex’s Submariner, and Omega’s Seamaster 300 have in common? All three of these iconic dive watches came out in the 1950s, which is not surprising given the growing popularity of scuba diving during that decade. Not to be left behind, Breitling released a pair of Superocean watches in 1957, also built for underwater exploration. The two inaugural Superocean watches were the manual-wound Superocean chronograph ref. 807 and the automatic time-only Superocean ref. 1004.
The Breitling Superocean Heritage II Chronograph 46 is a tribute to the first Superocean Chronograph from 1957[/caption] Both versions sported large-for-the-era 38mm cases topped with rotating concave black bezels marked with 5-minute intervals to track underwater immersion times. Not just bold in style but also robust in design, the maiden Superocean watches boasted a water resistance of 200 meters. Typical of the dive watch style, Breitling equipped the 1950’s Superocean watches with black dials with plenty of luminescent accents for optimal legibility in marine conditions. The center hands were particularly striking with an arrow-tipped hour hand and a sword-shaped minute hand. Plus, the watches came with steel mesh bracelets that could withstand prolonged exposure to water, salt, and sun.
The Breitling Superocean Heritage II Chronograph 46
In 2017, Breitling released the new Superocean Heritage II collection to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the company’s first dive watch. The design inspirations of the modern versions are undeniably taken from the original 1950’s Superocean models, yet revamped for a contemporary audience. The Superocean Heritage II Chronograph 46 is one of the models available within the new vintage-inspired Breitling collection. The Superocean Heritage II Chronograph comes with a generous 46mm case in stainless steel, which maintains the same 200-meter water resistance of the vintage Breitling ref. 807. Naturally, as a chronograph model, there’s the duo of pushers flanking the winding crown used to start, stop, and reset the stopwatch feature of the timepiece.
There are various colors options of the Breitling Superocean Heritage II Chronograph 46[/caption] Sitting on top of the case is a unidirectional 120-click rotating bezel crafted in ultra-modern ceramic--offered in black, blue, or bronze. Modern-day dive watches almost always have bezels that only go in one direction to prevent inadvertently underestimating how much time is spent underwater. And tough ceramic is a coveted material on current luxury sports watches due to its resistance to scratching, fading, and shocks. There are several dial options available within the Breitling Superocean Heritage II Chronograph 46 collection. Regardless of the color, there's an ample amount of lume-coated details on the dial including the center hands that echo the ones found on the first Breitling Superocean chronograph. However, on the modern Superocean Heritage II Chronograph 46, the dial layout is different to the vintage model it pays tribute to.
Breitling Superocean Heritage II Chronograph 46[/caption] For instance, there are three subdials positioned at 6, 9, and 12 o’clock to display the 12-hour counter, running seconds, and 30-minute counter. Furthermore, there’s the addition of the date window at 3 o’clock. Driving the Breitling Superocean Heritage II Chronograph 46 is the COSC-certified Breitling 13 automatic movement with a 42-hour power reserve. Finally, another great design detail that draws from the past is the option of the striking stainless steel Milanese bracelet. However, there are other bracelet options such as rubber straps and leather bands. The bracelet fastens securely onto the wrist thanks to the deployant safety clasp.
Breitling Superocean Heritage II Chronograph 46 with bronze bezel and dial[/caption] The next time you browse through Breitling’s collection of watches, remember that along with the bevy of aviator models, there are some fantastic dive watches too. And the Superocean Heritage II Chronograph is a shining example that blends the past with the present.