June 30, 2022
As a brand, Breitling is arguably best known for its chronograph watches. However, the famous Swiss manufacturer also has a long history of producing dive watches that dates all the way back to 1957. The Superocean is Breitling‘s collection of purpose-built divers, and the latest addition to the lineup is an entire range of new models in various different sizes, colors, and materials that draw their aesthetic inspiration from the cult-favorite Breitling Superocean Slow Motion diver’s chronograph that was produced during the 1960s and 1970s. While the original model was very much purpose-built for scuba diving, the new range of Breitling Superocean Automatic watches takes the bold and distinct aesthetic of the vintage Slow Motion model and reimagines it in a pared-down form that is perfectly suited for everything from diving and snorkeling to lounging at the beach and enjoying poolside cocktails.
The new range of Breitling Superocean Automatic watches is available in 36mm, 42mm, 44mm, and 46mm case sizes, while material options include stainless steel, two-tone (steel with 18k red gold), and a special bronze alloy available for the 42mm and 44mm models that Breitling states is highly corrosion-resistant while still being capable of developing a unique and subtle patina. As they are part of the greater Superocean collection, all of the new models feature rotating timing bezels fitted with scratch and fade resistant ceramic inserts. The 36mm, 42mm, and 44mm models receive standard unidirectional rotating bezels, while the 46mm version is fitted with a bi-directional bezel that includes a patented locking mechanism. On all of the new Breitling Superocean Automatic watches, a domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment protects the dial, while a solid screw-down caseback and screw-down winding crown help to provide them with an ample 300 meters of water resistance.
Available in a variety of different colors depending on the case size of the watch, the dial of the new Breitling Superocean Automatic is where the vintage Slow Motion influence becomes immediately apparent. Just like the original model, the dial is surrounded by a high-contrast ring that contains the minutes track, while the dial surface itself is finished with chunky square and rectangular-shaped hour markers. The original Slow Motion’s distinctive square-shaped minute hand also makes a return, and the seconds hand receives a colored circular tip that serves as a subtle nod to “the dot” — a circular window that appeared on the dial of the original Breitling Slow Motion model that displayed different colors depending on whether the chronograph was running, paused, or stopped. Additionally, just as you would expect from a proper dive watch, the new Superocean’s broad set of hands and blocky hour markers are finished with Super-LumiNova for a bright-glowing display in the dark.
The single greatest difference between the vintage Breitling Slow Motion model and the new Superocean Automatic watches is in regards to their functionality. The original version was a chronograph, which had been modified to feature a single centrally-mounted chronograph hand that measured minutes rather than seconds (hence its “Slow Motion” nickname), while the latest additions to the Superocean lineup are traditional three-handed watches. Regardless of case size or metal choice, all of the new Breitling Superocean Automatic models are powered by the Caliber 17 movement, which is the brand’s version of the reliable and ubiquitous ETA 2824-2. Like most movements that use this well-known ETA design, the Breitling Caliber 17 runs at a frequency of 28,800vph and offers users a fairly standard 38-hour power reserve. With that in mind, while the Breitling Cal. 17 is used to power a number of different models from the brand’s current production range, the verison fitted to the new Superocean Automatic watches is a no-date variant, as all of the new models offer a symmetrical time-only display.
When it comes to dial colors and strap options, the new Breitling Superocean Automatic watches are offered in a variety of different colorways and with the option of either a rubber strap or a three-link metal bracelet. Both strap and bracelet options feature fold-over clasps that offer 15mm of micro-adjustment to allow them to fit over the sleeves of rash guards and wetsuits. With that in mind, not all options are available for every different case size and material option. For example, dial colors include black, blue, green, turquoise, brown, silver, white, and orange. However, you will only find the orange dial fitted to the smallest 36mm model, and also on a 1,000-piece limited-edition version of the 42mm Superocean Automatic, which was produced in collaboration with professional surfer Kelly Slater and fitted with a green rubber strap as a tribute to a watch that his late father frequently wore while he was growing up and learning how to surf. Similarly, the bronze models are exclusively offered on rubber straps, while the two-tone version is only produced in 42mm and with the option of a black dial and bezel.
While much of Breitling’s heritage pertains to pilot’s watches and the world of aviation, its Superocean collection of dive watches has existed since 1957, and it offers a rich variety of distinct designs that Breitling has increasingly been calling upon for inspiration in recent years. The new Breitling Superocean Automatic watches take the unique aesthetic of the original Slow Motion dive chronograph and reimagine it in a practical and highly-versatile form with enough colors, materials, and case sizes to fit everyone’s individual tastes and preferences. Retail prices for the new Breitling Superocean Automatic watches range from $4,600 to $6,700 USD depending on case size, materials, and strap/bracelet options, with the two-tone and bronze models being the only versions that come in above the $5k mark. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.