Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review

Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review

Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

A funny thing happened while I was in the midst of the drawn out process of reviewing Breitling's "original" (modern) Superocean Heritage watch - Breitling decided to release a brand new model with the Breitling Superocean Heritage II that debuted at Baselworld 2017. The Breitling Superocean Heritage II is actually a few different models comprised of various styles of the 42mm-wide three-hand model, the 46mm-wide three-hand model, and the 46mm-wide chronograph. This article is meant to compare and contrast the first generation Breitling Superocean Heritage I with the replacement "next generation" Superocean Heritage II. An interesting change about the watch - which I will discuss more below - is that for the three-hand models Breitling is now using Tudor movements - imagine that.

Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews
The new Superocean Heritage
Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews
The outgoing Breitling Superocean Heritage

Changes to the Superocean Heritage II over the I are subtle but important. What Breitling really did is address the "aging" of the Superocean Heritage, which was about materials and parts over design. The Superocean Heritage was and continues to be a solid money-maker for Breitling, being one of its most popular and attractive models. The Superocean name is derived from a historic diving watch of the same name released about 70 years ago by Breitling, whose look was "revived" in the Superocean Heritage. As a "vintage-inspired" diving watch, the Superocean Heritage lived alongside more "modern" (in design) diving watches from Breitling such as the (non "Heritage") Superocean. Since we have photos of both the Generation I and Generation II in this review, the fastest way to identify them is by looking at the hour and minute hand. If the hour hand is bisected and the minute hand sports a more dramatic tapering, it's the Generation II.

While it is increasingly common for luxury watch brands to follow "The Rolex Way" of updating existing models over and over again as time goes on, the practice is more rare than you might be led to believe. Though, in recent years brands have seen value in sticking to "pillar" products and continually refining them over time in order to make them appealing to new customers as well as to encourage existing customers to upgrade. That is really only something you can do with a good core design. Breitling has more or less followed this strategy, but in a very different way, While they certainly have their share of pillar models, there are instances when new generation versions of existing names aren't necessarily improved previous versions. Sometimes they are merely "different," without a clear reason why.

Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews
Generation I
Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews
Generation II

The 2017 Superocean Heritage II is much more clear in its purpose - and that is not to re-imagine the look of the Superocean Heritage collection, but rather to make it more modern. Some of the design decisions might be controversial, but for the most part, the Superocean Heritage II is everything we loved about the Superocean Heritage I, with some more modern materials and in the case of the three-hand version, a new movement.

Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews
Generation I
Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews
Generation I

A very important question to ask yourself is whether or not you should get a good deal on a previous generation Superocean Heritage I or pony up for the brand new Superocean Heritage II. Is one a solid upgrade over the other, or are both models appealing in their own way? In fact, a very good argument could be made that while the Superocean Heritage II has some clear improvements over the first generation model, depending on your taste (and ability to find a deal), the previous generation Superocean Heritage watch might be just as good if not better for your needs.

Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews
Generation II

Breitling makes a very solid-feeling watch, which in my opinion starts with the case. The brand is particularly good at serving up well-polished heavy blocks of steel. While a lot of modern dive watches offer complicated cases with contrast finishing and other interesting design elements, the Superocean Heritage is all about appearing like a retro tank. The 42mm-wide or 46mm-wide steel case is entirely polished (with a great finishing) and water resistant to 200m. With that said, it feels like it could take a lot more of a beating. The vintage-inspired design eschews a lot of modern things you might expect to see in a diving watch (such as crown guards). So, the elegance and attractive design of the Superocean Heritage made up for its lack of being a totally "pro" diving instrument.

Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews
Generation II
Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews
Generation II

The Superocean Heritage II is a bit more "pro worthy" but you can see that the design decisions come at the expense of aesthetics. So let's first talk about how the unidirectional rotating bezel of the Superocean Heritage II differs from that of the original model. This is one of two major visible ways the Superocean Heritage I and II models all differ from one another. In doing the video part of the review for the Superocean Heritage 46, I mentioned that the most "age showing" part of the watch in terms of its product lifespan was the anodized aluminum / or coated steel (I'm not sure the specific metal used) bezel insert. Ceramic bezels are far more preferred and valued these days simply because they have colors which will last forever, and because they are extremely scratch resistant. With the Superocean Heritage II Breitling correctly upgraded the bezel from a metal version to a ceramic one - and it comes in black, brown, and blue.

Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews
Generation I
Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews
Generation II

The ceramic bezel doesn't look exactly the same, and the metal one, with its very simple markers was a bit more elegant looking. The Superocean Heritage II's ceramic bezel is very similar, but has a bit more of a matte finish (to be expected) and now a Super-LumiNova luminant-filled pip at 12 o'clock on the rotating bezel. This ups the functional cred of the Superocean Heritage II, but it does take a bit away from the quasi-minimalist yet masculine design that made the original Superocean Heritage so lovely and charming.

Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews
Generation II
Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews
Generation II

In pictures the lume pip on the bezel is barely noticeable, and in person it is a bit more obvious. I wouldn't say that this feature is not welcome as it does add functionality, but the lume does take away a bit from the original appeal of the design - which never apologized for making some aesthetic decisions in lieu of functional considerations. What I really would have liked for Breitling to do is introduce a bezel that looked exactly the same as the original, in ceramic, with each of the markers on the bezel painted in white luminant. Thus, the entire bezel could have been lumed, but without visually changing the character of the overall watch.

Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews
Generation I
Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews
Generation II

Under the sapphire crystal is a dial on the Superocean Heritage II which is remarkably similar to that of the Superocean Heritage I. One change is that the date window is at 6 o'clock on both the 46mm-wide and 42mm-wide versions - previously the 42mm model had the date at the less desirable 3 o'clock hour marker that tended to screw with dial symmetry. The Superocean Heritage II changes the style of the text on the dial just a bit, though the text actually says the same thing. The sizing and other minor details are all that are changed.

Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews
Generation I
Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews
Generation II

The biggest dial change in the Superocean Heritage II over the I is the design of the hands. I really (really) liked the design of the Superocean Heritage I hands with the straight sword-like minute hand and the simple arrow-style hour hand. Breitling decided to mess with a good thing and produce new hands for the Superocean Heritage II, which are a bit more inspired by the hands on original Superocean dive watches from 1957. That means you still get a sword-style minute hand and an arrow-style hour hand - but now they are of a different design - and I'm on the fence about how I feel with them.

What do you think?
  • I want it! (72)
  • Thumbs up (36)
  • Interesting (21)
  • I love it! (14)
  • Classy (11)
  • I don’t want to start a Rolex flame fest (and yes the Tudor/Breitling B20 movement is not as nicely finished as a Rolex 3135) but I’d rather have Breitling Superocean Heritage over a Sub (or a Tudor dive watch). I think I’m burned out on the Submariner look (as its found on so many homage and replica watches).

    So it comes down to the fact that I find the Superocean Heritage to be a more attractive dive watch. But it still has too much text on it and I agree that if the lumed pip on the bezel was not so noticeable it would be that much better. Digging the brown and blue references. I have nothing against the generation I watch, but I’d go for the generation II.

    • TrevorXM

      “…I’m burned out on the Submariner look (as its found on so many homage and replica watches).”

      It’s been beaten to death so badly, I seem to register a blank even when I see a real Submariner in a shop window.

      • Gokart Mozart

        The Oyster design is not good enough to support a whole company on in my opinion.

        The lug design is an odd design and needed more curves. The way the lug and case middle sits in the middle means that there is a lot of the bottom case sitting on the wrist while the middle is too thin and sits of the wrist. The sports watches are a bit better as the case middle is thicker bit still have the same problem. And don’t get me started on the dial hands and indicies and text of modern Rolexs (ie the last 40 years)

        The 1950s probably had the sexiest curviest and best looking cases.

        If I can accidentally take a watch into the shower that is enough water resistance for me. If I fell into a pool, the water resistance of the watch is the least of my worries. Dive watches are not a priority for me but if I had too a vulcain for me.

  • Word Merchant

    As the internet didn’t want to know, my first fine watch – sometime in the early 90s – was a Breitling Chronomat fitted with the usual 7750 of that era, that rattled and wheezed its way along like a dyspeptic tramp with bronchitis, so I have a bit of a soft spot for the brand, whilst not currently being an owner.

    That fascinating slice of word merchant history aside, I do rather like this watch – and the cross pollination between Breitling and Tudor definitely makes Breitling a lot more interesting that it was. If I was to buy another Breitling (you never know), it would be this one first https://www.ablogtowatch.com/breitling-navitimer-rattrapante-watch/ but the Superocean would make a good weekend beater – particularly the white dial with rubber strap variant.

    Keep it up Breitling.

  • My favourite B automatic is the Superocean — though I prefer the gen 1 hours marker and everything else from gen 2.

  • wickets

    hour / minute hands on gen 1 are 1000000 times nicer than gen 2. That short minute hand spoils everything about the look of gen 2

  • Marius

    While I have never been a big fan of Breitling — the only model I really like is the Navitimer B01 — I have to admit that I find these watches quite handsome.

    Aesthetically, I appreciate the fact that Breitling opted for a design language that is sporty, yet elegant and classy at the same time. My main problem with timepieces such as the Tudor Pelagos or the Omega Planet Ocean is that they look too sporty. Breitling solves this problem by using a very refined design that transforms this watch into a very versatile timepiece — almost as versatile as the Rolex Submariner.

    From a technical perspective, the Tudor caliber is a very modern movement featuring a 70-hour power reserve, a silicon hairspring, as well as a free-sprung balance wheel. What I really didn`t like about this caliber is that it had a very, very pedestrian and spartan finish when used by Tudor. Yet, the iteration used by Breitling has a decent finish, so overall, the movement looks much better and quite acceptable. Also, this caliber is much more exclusive than your avarage ETA/Sellita.

    My only big problem with the Superocean is its price. I find the almost $5,000 price to be rather high, especially looking at the competition. For instance, a Tudor Pelagos has exactly the same price, yet features a full titanium case + bracelet, as well as 600m WR. Similarly, an Omega Planet Ocean is only slightly more expensive, yet features a more interesting & attractive co-axial caliber, and a 600m WR. In my opinion, the ideal price for this Breitling would be around $3,000-$3,500. As is, at almost $5,000, I find this watch to offer a rather unconvincing value offering.

    • Gokart Mozart

      Agree, it has a nicely restrained look for the 42 mm. (46 too big for that). Funnily enough although I don’t like bracelet watches I am quite partial to a milanese bracelet and would probably be my choice.

      Breitlings IMO look much better when they have the more restrained less sporty looks that give them a more refined air. The Transoceans ate nice too.

      Probably the gen 1 looks slightly better, but go for the tudor movement for the extra 1 day power reserve. Even though it is not a pretty movement a display back would be nice.

  • Ulysses31

    The new hands ruin it for me, i’m afraid. I loath hands that taper towards the centre of the dial – they just look imbalanced. The original hour hand with a single triangle of lume looked cleaner and neater than this new split version. Other than that it’s still one of the best-looking Breitlings there is, it’s just a shame that they decided to spoil what was already a great piece. The ceramic bezel upgrade is nice but not that consequential to me.

  • Michael James

    I almost purchased the Gen I version last fall, not knowing this new one was right around the corner. At the last minute, I changed my mind and purchased the all black Superocean 44Special, and am very happy with my decision so far. It’s a little big for my wrist but the retailer was correct in advising that the black “wears smaller”.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Yummy yummy yummy, i’ve got tingles in my tummy. Not normally a fan of this brand of watch but this is very unrestrained and quite beautiful from Breitling. Pretty subtle differences between the I & II which one would expect. This maybe slightly more than i would pay for this ( i like to pretend i could ) but i would pay a small premium for the Breitling name. Wouldn’t be my first choice on account i have nothing to match it , but i do love the brown look.
    In this instance i’m sticking to the mark I mainly because of the hands
    Blue and SS braclet.

  • SuperStrapper

    3 pages and no lume shot? FFS Ariel, it’s dive watch boilerplate! It would serve to assist a point I would want to make about the handset. I prefer the new hour hand, but would want the old minute hand. The bisected arrow of the hour hand has a nicer look to it, but these hands have really meaty frames to them and the lume shot will make them look pretty small I bet: comically so.

    Prefer the new bezel although the pip at 12 is kinda stanky. Aluminium inserts are biver killers, vintage vibes be damned. But if all of the ceramic voids could have just been filled with lume that would have been so much more rewarding. A ceramic bezel with some amazing black badger sourced inserts would be very cool (the sarpenava northern lights collaboration being among the coolest lumed watches ever as reference).

    MFW the 3 hander gets a movement upgrade but the chrono doesn’t get a b01 update. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9f7fe750635781afb819599c45235ed2dbbce94955c4930e52b768d930111402.jpg

    • Phil leavell

      Instead of buying this watch super I think we can both go on at least two rides a piece on the Lancaster

      • SuperStrapper

        I’ve been twice and would go again anytime. They fly it basically every day as part of its maintenance, so it’s not hard to get on it. I know a couple that were delivered to their wedding in it.

        • Phil leavell

          That truly must have been a wonderful experience. That is something I would love to do but not possible at the present moment hopefully later !
          I was supposed to go up in the glider this summer but unfortunately had to cancel that

  • Phil leavell

    Is it a ladies watch is it a men’s watch is it somewhere in between, ladyboys. Is it a dive watch is a dress watch. Is it a diver watch in a dress. Could it be just gender-neutral.
    All the sharing and hugging between brands is very confusing. Breitling / Tudor and kind of looks like an Omega.????
    Aluminum case a hand off a dive minute hand off a ? watch, do I like Lum or don’t I like Lum this one is kind of in the middle of luminescent choice
    I have tool watches and I have dress watch. I don’t have a Diver’s watch so would this be the next logical step before I buy a divers? It’s kind of expensive yet still cheap?
    It makes me wonder if I have a hard time making decisions or I’m just indecisive. Is there help for me. I asked you because my wife would say there is no help
    6??

    • Raymond Wilkie

      Oh do make you’r mind up Phil, procrastination is the thief of time ! 🙂

      • Phil leavell

        Should I stay or should I.,.,..,.

        .

        • Raymond Wilkie

          If you go there will be trouble and if you stay it will be double………
          The decision is yours.

          • Phil leavell

            But I’ll be there until the end of time.,.

  • TrevorXM

    A lot more convincing “premium watch” with the Tudor movement, I like the hands better now that they have some character, and it’s hard to imagine anybody wanting a scratchy aluminium bezel over a ceramic. Pricey is the only downside. But if you can get a deal somewhere?

  • DanW94

    A slick looking watch. I prefer the handset on the generation II model. What I like about this watch (the Gen I also) is the absence (except on the 5’s) of number and minute markers on the bezel. It adds to the overall crisp clean look. My favorite Breitling along with the Transocean Day Date.

    • Moonraker

      It does look cleaner. It would probably take you a second or two longer to read it if you needed to, but it has a nice look.

  • Pete L

    Never considered myself a particular fan of Breitling although have always hankered for a Chronomat GMT 44 – which is about as Breitling as you can get! For some reason this superocean is growing on me (particularly the blue bezel/white dial) as it is so clean, legible and simple. Great to see the movement partnership with Tudor too.

  • TheChuphta

    Nice review. Highly biased here, as I own the Gen I, but I prefer the older hands. The new hour hand’s stem seems a bit too long. That being said I do wish the older hand hands a more 3 dimensional feel (like the planet ocean hands). I also prefer the ease / cost of maintaining the ETA (it’s a chronometer so what more do ya really want?) as opposed to the new Tudor movement with its potentially unknown issues. Plus, to be perfectly frank, you can get the Gen I for under 3 grand all day gray market.

  • benjameshodges

    I really prefer the new hands although we’re talking about a thin strip of metal about 1mm in length. Don’t understand what people have against a lumr pip either? Think the brown version on the strap is what I’d get if I didn’t already own the Black Bay, Divers 65 and Aquatimer. Amazing that it sells so well as Breitling is not the first brand people think of when it comes to dive watches. Would say the 42mm sounds better on paper as the 46mm is better proportioned. I also like the more cambered bezel that creates a smooth dome with the sapphire crystal. Good review. Loving these 3 pagers.

  • Slymenstra Hymen

    Georges Kern hasn’t been there long enough for these changes to have been overseen by him so get ready for a whole new whirlwind of change in the near future

    *** not the artist formerly known as prince and most def not toshiro mifune pretending to be yojimbo or a cracker honky adopting yojimbo as a nomme d’plume also not ariel adams or his migratory foreskin, definitely not MC’s drippy ballsack

    • Yan Fin

      Mushrooms or good old alcohol?

      • Esteban

        Yes.

  • Yan Fin

    I would still prefer Tudor with the same movement over this Breitling. Tudor does not have Boscov’s logo.

  • ObjectOriented?

    Doesn’t this diminish the appeal of Tudor’s in-house movement if you can get Tudor movements in other brands? I’d be annoyed about this if owned the new Black Bay.

    • Word Merchant

      No.

  • Spangles

    If found at a good price, this is the only Breitling I would consider.

  • Sheez Gagoo

    I have to admit, these are beauties. But the bezel is to big. At least for me. I really like the movement. After the horrible Colt, overpriced 2824 stuff and the sale of the brand to a hedgefund (followed by a layoff of 30 people) this is at least…good news? I don’t know.

    • Penfold

      What’s wrong with the Colt? Just curious to hear your opinion.

      • Sheez Gagoo

        It`s a $300 Luminox sold for $2000.

  • JozefX

    Great looking watches, and a cool comparison. I too prefer the old hands and think the pip at 12 ruins the look slightly on the new one.

    Something I noticed in the article that I think is wrong is the movement on the old one. Ariel says it is ETA 2892-2, but everywhere I look, Calibre 17 that used in the old one, is listed as a derivative of ETA 2824-2.

    Another thing I believe is wrong, but can’t say for sure, is Ariel’s claim that the bezel on the old one is made of aluminum. Some sites that sell this watch like: https://www.jomashop.com/breitling-mens-watch-a1732124-ba61bkod.html
    claim that the bezel is made of black ion plated stainless steel. While this is not something I know how to verify for sure, I have held this watch, and have to say that to me, the bezel did look more like steel than aluminum. It would be interesting to hear about this if anyone knows more, as I’m not really aware of other watches that have stainless steel bezel.

  • spiceballs

    Agree that this is the nicest (but pricey) Breitling . Am also ambivalent about the new (Seiko-like hour?) hands and somewhat “clunky” bracelet (a necessity for me) but appreciate the new movement and, as an owner of a well-used alloy bezel dive watch, relish the upgraded ceramic bezel, lume pip an’all.

  • WMWM

    Really interested in getting one of these new models, especially white dial with black or blue bezel.

  • Mark1884

    A fan of the Superocean line. Wearing my 90’s Superocean Pro as I type this.
    Make mine white dial, blue bezel & Milanese bracelet.

  • Han Cnx

    Elephant in the room: There is a movable timing bezel, yet no minute indications on it, rendering it completely useless, and also instantly failing the ISO diver requirements. Therefore, this is a fashion diver, designed by people of a similar ilk as those working for Fossil et al. Boo & hiss! 🙂

    • Moonraker

      I believe the ISO only requires a pip or triangle or something signifying the starting point and then markers every five minutes. I don’t believe actual numbers are required. But you are right, I think the bezel makes it a little less functional.

      • Han Cnx

        I think it’s strongly implied though, when they write: “The presence of a time-preselecting device, for example a unidirectional
        rotating bezel or a digital display. Such a device shall be protected
        against inadvertent rotation or wrong manipulation. If it is a rotating
        bezel, it shall have a minute scale going up to 60 min. The markings
        indicating every 5 min shall be clearly indicated.”

        I don’t think the SuperOcean has a scale going up to 60 minutes. There are no minutes to speak of. The assumption is 5 minute marks but this makes it very difficult to read elapsed time.

  • Moonraker
  • Jlap58@aol.com

    Gotta weigh in here. My first post on any watch blog
    I just bought the Breitling Superocean Heritage ii 46mm. I bought the watch at an AD in Nassau. Disney cruise. I got the blue/blue with an aero blue strap with a tang buckle. I get back to the ship and realize I hate the tang buckle. To my good fortune , the boat had a Breitling boutique in the jewelry store. The salesman there took a blue aero strap with a deployment clasp off another watch. Took mine off and had to custom cut the new strap to my fit. Took half an hour. You don’t want to cut too much. I still wanted it big enough to use the micro adjustment in the closure mechanism. I paid $3400 for the watch out the door. The new strap was $350. So I’m i it for $3750 and have the setup that makes me smile.
    This watch is a beautiful. I’m hoping it’s the last one for my collection.
    6 months ago I bought the Tudor Heritage Black Bay with the new in-house movement. On a stainless bracelet and burgundy bezel. This one is aluminum. The Breitling is ceramic.
    So I have the best of both worlds. A 41mm stainless and a 46 mm gun blue beauty.
    When I read about the Breitling /Tudor movement exchange thing , it piqued my interest. I had to have both.
    So watch guys are OCD. Very picky. Lots of analysis. I just look at the watch as a whole. It had to feel right on my wrist. When I have a watch that I love , i can look at it on my wrist 20 times a day. If everytime I look at it , I get that “feeling”, I wear it. And it doesn’t go in a drawer or Ebay.
    Now. My other watches :
    2005 Rolex Submariner. Took off the oyster bracelet. Bought an Everest Horology black rubber strap. I love it
    2015. Omega Speedmaster with the new 9300 coaxial movement. Black face. Stainless. With black leather deployment clasp
    2016. Rolex Datejust ii. Stainless with white gold fluted bezel. Silver face. Baton markers
    Cartier Tank Solo XL. Stainless
    Panerai. Pam 0100. Luminor. Logo watch. I switch the straps a few times a month.
    I’m done buying