Come on pretty baby and surf with me. The new Breitling Superocean Heritage ’57 Limited Edition is a masterclass in bringing retro to life
More than a fortnight ago when reviewing the new Breitling Top Time Limited Edition ‘Zorro’ we had said that this was going to be Breitling’s year. The brand has just added a brand new capsule collection — along with new Navitimers and Chronomat collections, but more on that later — and boy are we excited. The new Breitling Superocean Heritage ’57 Limited Edition takes its design inspiration from the brand’s original Superocean from 1957 and so effortlessly manages to bring that era of the 1950s & 60s surfers into the present day. It has been released alongside black dial, blue dial and two-tone versions.
Yup, another dive watch
Some might ask, yet another dive watch, huh?! We would have to agree that it’s an overcrowded market and perhaps brands should refrain from releasing any new ones for a while.
That said, this one’s a bit different.
Not just another monochrome dive watch that looks like a Fifty Fathoms or Submariner clone, this new Breitling Superocean Heritage ’57 brings a dose of welcome colour to your wrist.
Full of retro charm, it does feel at home for its intended surfing use. As Breitling puts it, the new Limited Edition version is the “embodiment of pure Bohemian chic, and would be right at home somewhere between the Beat Generation and Woodstock.”
“We designed the Superocean Heritage ’57 Limited Edition as a watch for people who want something a little out of the ordinary – for people who want both a great watch and a little festival of colour on their wrists.”Breitling CEO Georges Kern
COVID-19 can take a hike
Due to the COVID-19 issue many watch brands have delayed their 2020 releases. But not Breitling.
Under Georges Kern leadership they are soldering on, and to what effect. The new Superocean Heritage ’57, especially the limited edition rainbow model is a joy to look at.
Breitling is indeed on fire. They have been releasing models after models, all we are sure will be a hit amongst collectors and watch enthusiasts alike. They started with the Navitimer B03 Chronograph Rattrapante 45, then came the AVI Ref 765 1953 Re-Edition, then the Premier Bentley Mulliner Limited Edition, followed by the Top Time Limited Edition ‘Zorro’.
The new watches have been released as a capsule collection, meaning they will be produced for a limited time only but are not numbered. Except the Limited Edition version which will be available in 250 pieces only.
A bit reminiscent of Rado’s Captain Cook Automatic, the standout design feature of these models is their concave bezel.
Presented in a much more striking format, the Superocean Heritage ’57 features this bidirectional concave stainless-steel bezel with an ultra-hard scratch-and shock-resistant ceramic bezel ring with a luminescent dot at 12’o clock.
“The Capsule Collections let us tell some of our brand’s most inspiring stories while we produce some remarkably unique watches for a limited amount of time. With the Superocean Heritage ’57 Capsule Collection, we’ve focused on the relaxed Southern California fun-in-the-sun culture that defined an era. The surfing itself in the 1950s and 1960s is at the heart of our storytelling here, but those times offered so much more: the great music, the amazing cars, and the almost spiritual connection to freedom found on endless sandy beaches and in the search for the perfect wave.”Breitling CEO Georges Kern
They are released in two dial options: black presented on a black vintage-inspired leather strap with a pin or folding buckle; or blue dial presented on a brown vintage-inspired leather strap with a pin or folding buckle. Both these versions are also available on an integrated Ocean Classic stainless-steel bracelet with a butterfly clasp.
An additional two-tone version featuring a bi-directional rotating bezel in 18k red gold with a black ceramic ring has also been announced. Featuring a black dial it comes on either a gold-brown vintage-inspired leather strap or an Ocean Classic stainless-steel bracelet with a butterfly clasp.
We are looking at the Limited Edition version. The basic specs are the same for the other versions barring the material or dial colour.
So looking at reference A103701A1B1A1 with stainless steel bracelet or A103701A1B1X1 (pin buckle) or A103701A1B1X2 (folding clasp).
The heart used — Breitling Calibre 10 — is a COSC-certified, self-winding movement featuring a bidirectionally acting ball-bearing rotor. The 25.6mmx3.6mm movement beats at the frequency of 4Hz (28’800 A/h) and offers an okay 42-hour power reserve.
It is cased inside a 42mm diameter and 9.99mm thick stainless steel case that offers a good 100m (10 ATM) water resistance owing to a non-screw-locked two gaskets crown. The watch also features a bidirectional stainless steel bezel with a black ceramic ring and a solid screwed caseback that features engraved ‘One of 250’.
The watch face shows the traditional functions of central hours, minutes and seconds.
The beautiful black sun-ray brushed dial with colourful accents is protected by a convex sapphire glass crystal with antireflective coating on both sides.
If you spot this by the beach, the coloured Super-LumiNova® luminescent hour markers and hour and minute hands will surely make you look twice. The main element of this dial is the use of colour. These splashes of colour mark the hours at 12, 3, 6, and 9’o clock in a rainbow graduation of yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet, red, and orange respectively.
In addition to looking very handsome, I think the dial also features exceptional legibility as the striking colours against the stark black background are simply a pleasure to read under any lighting condition.
The bold use of colours raises the retro bar and watches are fun and quirky.
The hour and minutes hands are orange and green respectively. This is a bit out there but what would have been really cool is if they changed and matched the colours of the rainbow hour markers as they swept on the dial. Imagine that!
In terms of criticism, the watch doesn’t leave much room for it, but we would have liked to see a couple of aspects executed a bit differently.
First, that simple seconds hand doesn’t do it for me. It’s just too plain on an otherwise funky dial. Maybe a lollipop hand in-filled with all seven colours might have worked better?
Second, this new trend of writing ‘One of xxx’ and not actually putting the limited number on the case-back is getting to be downright annoying. Many collectors buy watches based on special numbers and not including them is sort of robbing a watch enthusiast, and especially a collector, of an added charm to the watch.
Watch Ya Gonna Do About It
Suggestions aside, the new Breitling Superocean Heritage ’57 Limited Edition is a masterclass in bringing retro to life. It’s a colourful and playful watch with a bold wrist presence.
It is these colours which has made us fall in love with the Limited Edition version. And if like us you like colours, Breitling is giving the option of adding even more colour to the mix in the form of vibrant Outerknown ECONYL® yarn NATO straps in varying colours.
Legibility is key in watches, and dive watches are no different. The Breitling Superocean Heritage ’57 Limited Edition has that in heaps. The hour markers are applied, raised and sloped, with a gradient colour scheme within each marker. The dial is truly a joy to look at.
The watch is a daily wearable watch. In-fact we are pleasantly surprised at the slim thickness of the watch coming in at only 9.99mm. Not only will these bad boys look good at the beach, but for any business person who used to surf this will be a good throwback as it can also fit comfortably under the cuff. Pair it with board shorts or simply with blue jeans and white t-shirts, and you are cool all over again.
Coming in at only 6’290 AUD, anyone looking to own a piece of Breitling gets a whole lot of bang for their buck and rainbow for the wrist.
It’s almost as if The Beach Boys are singing to the watch: “Surfin’ is the only life, the only way for me; now come on pretty baby and surf with me”.
For more information on this watch and other Breitling watches, head to their website here.