Strolling into the Breitling boutique at what I’ll call the “fancy mall,” where there’s been a very welcome invasion of brand boutiques in addition to the reliable local luxury AD, I didn’t have any particular model in mind. I had a free day and planned to hit all the boutiques to see what I could see. I tried on the enormous emergency and the new Avengers, and then I was drawn to a quartet of small colorful watches off to the store’s left, just ahead of the lounge chairs and whiskey. I hadn’t read up on the Breitling Superocean Heritage ’57 Highlands models released late last year so wasn’t expecting something as small as they are. A quick ask of the salesperson, and I was shooting and getting a feel for this new take on the brand’s Superocean Heritage.
The Breitling Superocean Heritage ’57 Highlands is available in four colors, evident in the dial and the matching ceramic bezel insert: beige, green, mustard, and blue (kudos to Breitling for not trying to be at all cute with the color naming). Once I realized I was shooting for a review, I decided to focus on the mustard dial, largely because I was so taken by the mesh strap. First, though, the case itself. At 38mm, the stainless steel cases offer the smallest package in the Superocean line, a full 4mm narrower than previous ’57 models, the first of which were introduced in 2020. For Breitling, 38mm is downright dainty, and that’s furthered by the quoted 9.9mm thickness and 42mm lug-to-lug. It all comes together in a slender-lugged, curved silhouette that sat easily on my wrist and should do the same on most. The models get a domed sapphire crystal and a pull-out crown, with 100m water resistance.
The thickness is what really surprised me. On the wrist, the watch wears slim, but that’s an accomplishment with the stadium bezel that serves as the Heritage ’57 line’s signature element and is offered here in 18k rose gold. (By the way, this is my kind of two-tone: just the head, not the band.) Stadium bezels do nothing to mitigate themselves like ordinary sloped bezels, which drape the case rather than make it more pronounced. Perhaps understanding this, Breitling has made the bi-directional bezel rather slim, with a cupped underside and knurling that make it easier to grip than if it were one of those traditional sloped bezels. The lumed triangle gives a reference for zero and hopefully we can all count by fives, but the lack of any numbering limits its utility relative to more purposeful bezels.
I mentioned that what drew me to the mustard-dialed display model was the mesh bracelet. In my opinion, no one does mesh quite like Breitling. The thick, substantial mesh on the Superocean Heritage II is so impressive and comfortable it makes you wonder why other brands bother. But something like that would’ve overwhelmed the Heritage ’57 models, including the new Highlands watches, so Breitling did us one better by pairing it with a fitted, tapering 18mm mesh strap with beads and a tighter weave. The butterfly closure may irk some, but the bracelet has a number of removable links for getting as near to the perfect size as possible. As with almost any mesh bracelet, it’s soft and comfortable thanks to its articulation. To hammer home the Highlands theme, Breitling has paired each model with a color-coordinated “tweed-inspired” strap on a deployant clasp. The tweed-inspired material, made from silk and wool, is soft, and the straps are much more pliant than ones made of actual tweed that I’ve encountered, which are frequently stiff due to the backing leather.
The dial of the Highlands features a beaming sunburst finish on all four colors. The mustard, which now that I think of it is really more of a butterscotch, is particularly vibrant. The dateless layout remains nearly identical to the larger ’57 models, with oversized applied indices and the massive arrow hour hand and sword-style minutes. To match the rose gold of the bezel, the indices and hands (as well as the bezel hashes) are rendered in rose gold as well. The only difference in these dials seems to have been made to accommodate the reduced size: Gone is the small 15-minute numbering along the minute track. While I focused on the mustard dial here, I wanted to mention the brown dial, which was somewhat enigmatic. At times, it shines in its true earth tone, but other times it seemed sapped of energy and disappointingly muted.
The movement in the Breitling Superocean Heritage ’57 Highlands watches is perhaps the least exciting part of the watches. Far from one of the brand’s in-house calibers, the Highlands models get the Breilting 10, a rebranded ETA 2892A2. Offering 42 hours of power at 28,800 vph, the 2892 isn’t just a slim 2824. It’s got a sturdier rotor construction, allowing for better shock absorption and almost always has stepped-up finishing (though you can’t see that through the solid caseback). Simply put, the 2892 is a better movement and produced to a higher standard beyond just being thinner.
Breitling says the four colors of the Highlands models are earth tones, which doesn’t usually include blue, but if we’re talking about Earth (the planet) and not earth (the ground), we can give it a pass. What can be said is that these smaller watches open the Heritage ’57 line up to an entirely new set of consumers, at a price that’s consistent with the rest of the line. The Breitling Superocean Heritage ’57 Highlands is priced at USD 6,250. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.