Breitling’s recent releases have stuck to a familiar and effective formula – watches rooted in the brand’s heritage but updated to distinguish them as modern and original, exemplified by the redesigned Chronomat and Navitimer.
Now the brand has taken the covers off the Superocean Automatic, a dive watch inspired by the SuperOcean Slow Motion chronograph of the 1960s. While it borrows the original’s two-tone dial and massive, oblong markers, the new Superocean is a clean, time-only watch with no complications and of course a modern construction that includes a ceramic bezel insert as well as quick-adjustment clasp.
I’ve always liked past versions of Superocean with bright-coloured dials because they were quite different from other dive watches without being overly fancy. By the same token, I like the latest version as the redesigned dial makes it stand out even more, once again without trying to do too much.
In fact, the Superocean is arguably all about design. Being ETA powered, it is less competitive against offerings from similarly-priced offerings from likes of Tudor (which relies on more sophisticated Kenissi movements), so the Superocean has to excel in terms of look and feel. And it manages to do so with the combination of an extra-wide chapter ring around a “mini” dial, a bold and handsome design that is unlike most of its peers.
Aside from the overall design, the dial also appears to be nicely detailed. Though simply shaped, the hour markers have polished facets along their edges, giving the dial a more upscale look.
As is usual for Breitling, the case has broad, sturdy lugs with sharp downward angle, which gives the watch a solid heft expected of a robust instrument. That said, the polished bezel and its glossy ceramic insert do lend the Superocean a bit of bling that’s inevitable for Breitling and also commonly used to dress up dive watches at this price point.
But as mentioned earlier, the only downside of the Superocean is the Calibre 17 within. It’s actually an ETA 2824, a solid, reliable movement but one that’s dated and short on running time, with a power reserve of just under 40 hours.
The new Superocean would have been a lot more compelling if it was equipped with the B20, an automatic calibre made by Kenissi and found in the Superocean Heritage II. But unfortunately that upgrade would have raised the price substantially. As it is, the Superocean is relatively affordable and fairly priced.
Something for everyone
The new Superocean is actually a broad range of watches in a variety of dial colours to go with four different case sizes from 36 mm to 46 mm that are available in various materials, including bronze as well as two-tone steel and gold.
While most versions of the Superocean are large in terms of dimensions, they should wear smaller (though there’s no way to hide the substantial case thickness). That’s because of the small dial surround by the wide minute ring, which creates a tighter focal point and results in the impression of a smaller watch.
The smallest version is 36 mm, which despite its compact size has the same specs as its larger siblings. It’s has 300 m of water resistance and a COSC-certified movement. This makes it perhaps the most notable version of the entire collection, since dive watches with such specs are rarely offered in this size.
At the other end of the scale is the 46 mm model. It’s the only version with a case different from the others: the left flank of the case has a “vented”, raised area to mirror the crown guards on the right. As a result, the case appears to have “ears”, which makes it look even more massive, which will surely appeal to enthusiasts who like big watches.
And in between are the 42 mm and 44 mm versions, which are identical in terms of design save for the dial colours.
The orange dial with a black ceramic bezel, for example, is a limited edition that’s only available in 42 mm, while the gradient brown dial is only available with the 44 mm bronze case.
Key facts and price
Breitling Superocean Automatic 36, 42, 44, and 46
Diameter: 36 mm, 42 mm, 44 mm, 0r 46 mm
Height: 12.21 mm, 12.56 mm, or 12.62 mm, or 13.22 mm
Material: Steel, bronze, or steel and 18k red gold
Water resistance: 300 m
Movement: Caliber 17 (ETA 2824-2)
Functions: Hours, minutes, and seconds
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 38 hours
Strap: Rubber strap or steel bracelet
Availability: From Breitling’s online store, boutiques and authorised retailers
Price: Unavailable at press time
For more information, visit Breitling.com
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