The movement used in both automatic Colt watches and the Superocean II 42 is the Breitling 17 which is a base ETA 2824-2 offering a standard power reserve of about 42 hours. One of the major differences between the entry-level and more expensive offerings from many brands we cover for Cost of Entry is that higher-end models often contain in-house or otherwise more premium movements than the common ETA options. The same is true for Breitling. Also, since the early 2000s, Breitling began submitting all of their movements (after finishing) for COSC certification as well, so that does add to the value proposition.
But speaking of value, Breitling does not lack competition in these very crowded segments. If high-end quartz is your thing, watches from Grand Seiko, such as the Grand Seiko SBGX093, also deserve a look. Even as Grand Seiko gets more popular, many people still don’t think about the fact that Seiko makes – yes, in-house – some of the most amazing quartz movements on the market. As part of the 9F quartz collection, the SBGX093 allows you another serious upgrade from your run-of-the-mill quartz movements with the classic Seiko styling (though not sporty or macho like Breitling, of course) which in this case, even ditches the much-maligned date window. By no means the cheapest of Seikos and a good 50% more than the quartz Breitling Colt Skyracer, the Grand Seiko SBGX093 has a price of $3,000.
For an automatic dive watch that stays within the price threshold we have set here, something like the Sinn U1 Diver Watch offers a lot of utility for the money and runs around $2,420. Also powered by the ETA 2824-2, the U1 ups the water resistance to a mighty 1,000m. Also with a 44mm case size, this Sinn features a stealthy, satin-brushed bezel paired with a simpler dial for those who found the Colt a bit too busy. You could also look at something like the TAG Heuer Aquaracer, but the Sinn is really something to behold especially if you are of fan of Bauhaus designs.
Breitling’s most iconic pieces being chronographs, these entry-level offerings perhaps do not offer the full “brand experience” in that sense, but they certainly offer a good taste of it. It’s funny, but when considering Breitling in this series, you end up with an interesting mix of timepieces. On one hand, you’ve got the Colt Skyracer which, if purely judging by cost, is by far the most affordable piece available in the Breitling catalog. At the same time, it’s a quartz piece that comes on a rubber strap but actually manages to carry the brand identity forward quite well. For most affordable automatic movement watches, the Colt Automatic is classic Breitling and the watch most likely to retain timeless looks and attitude with its steel case and bracelet cementing its masculine appeal. And then, you’ve got the Superocean II 42mm which brings a diver mentality for not much more than the Colt Automatic, essentially making it a matter of taste.
Breitling hasn’t necessarily made it easy for you to decide on this one and, for many, gray market pricing might have an influence on their decision, but for the purposes of this article, we have kept the pricing at standard retail: once again, the Breitling Colt Skyracer is priced at $2,000, the Breitling Colt Automatic and Breitling Colt 41 Automatic are $3,090, and the Breitling Superocean II 42 is $3,400. breitling.com