Editor’s note: This Hands-on Review of the Breitling Superocean Automatic Collection has been photographed by our team with the assistance of the Breitling Sydney boutique. For our usual detailed hands-on reviews, please head to our dedicated reviews section here. This is NOT a sponsored post.
What Is It
After the release of the Breitling Navitimer B01 collection and the Breitling Top Time Triumph Series, 2022 sees Georges Kern & co. release the revamped SuperOcean Slow Motion — divers from the 1960s and 1970s — watches, now called the Breitling Superocean Automatic Collection.
Ranging from 6’290 AUD to 9’190 AUD and catering to pretty much everybody under the sun, the new Breitling Superocean Automatic come in:
- 13 dial colour/bezel colour variations
- 4 diameter options – 36mm, 42mm, 44mm and 46mm
- 2 types of rotating bezels – unidirectional for 36mm, 42mm and 44mm, while a bidirectional bezel with a patented locking mechanism for the 46mm diameter version
- 3 material options – stainless steel, two-tone (steel with 18k red gold), and a special bronze alloy (that the brand informs has excellent resistance to corrosion but will still develop a subtle patina over time)
- 2 strap options – rubber or a new three-row metal bracelet
It’s no secret that Georges Kern is revamping the entire catalogue, bringing in a more modern approach while still including subtle nods to Breitling’s rich heritage. Personally, I didn’t find anything amiss with the outgoing Superocean collection. But the new for 2022 Breitling Superocean Automatic Collection redesign in here to enthuse fresh life and vivid colours. Importantly, it also takes inspiration from Breitling’s original SuperOcean Slow Motion models but makes it more everyday usage friendly rather than simply being only meant for diving.
Where: Released this July at the Wheels & Waves surf-and-motorcycle festival in Biarritz. Available at the Breitling Boutique, 61 Market St, Sydney (02 9221 7177).
Who Is It For: Breitling fans. Dive watch fans. Anybody who appreciates a dose of colour in their watch collection. Says Breitling CEO Georges Kern: “There’s a certain sameness to the look of most dive watches, but the Slow Motion always stood out from the crowd. We’re so pleased to introduce our modern take on this classic, the all-new Superocean”.
All models of the Breitling Superocean Automatic Collection feature the same Breitling Calibre 17 which is essentially ETA 2824-2 (the equivalent of the most commonly used Sellita SW200-1). The Breitling Calibre 17 is an automatic-winding mechanical movement measuring 25.6mm x 4.6mm. The movement comprises 25 jewels, beats at the frequency of 4Hz (28’800 A/h), and provides a ~38-hour power reserve.
The Hands-on Experience
The sizing and wrist fit of the Breitling Superocean Automatic Collection is the major aspect I am impressed by. It’s hard to guess if the market really needs any more luxury dive watches, considering Tudor, Omega, Rolex have really cornered that market. But after trying the new Breitling ones on in person, I am willing to change my mind.
Usually 37mm to 40mm diameter with 47mm — maximum 50mm — lug-to-lug spacing is my sweet spot. Anything larger I tend to stay away from, though exceptions happen. And the Breitling Superocean Automatics are one beautiful exception in the offering.
To my surprise I found myself to be completely at ease wearing the 42mm and even the 44mm diameter watches from this new collection. The short angled and sloping lugs with fine horizontal brushing and slim polished profile make the case of the bigger sizes wear well. In-fact, these watches as a whole wear small, so should you be buying these online without physically trying them on, I would recommend going a size up compared to your usual preference.
The 36mm frankly wore like a 34 courtesy the case architecture, the 18mm lug interhorn spacing and the only 42.41mm lug-to-lug spacing. These should be a great unisex option, though seem to be more aimed at the female collector market.
Both the 42mm and 44mm versions worked well for me, considering the conservative lug-to-lug measurements of 47.76mm and 50.54mm respectively. The thickness is also on the slimmer side reading at 12.56mm and 12.62mm respectively.
To put this into perspective and comparing the 42mm Breitling Superocean Automatic, the Tudor BB58 measures a much smaller 39mm in diameter but with the same 12.5mm thickness and similar 47.2mm lug-to-lug spacing. So if you think of it, Breitling didn’t need to release a 40mm version.
The Tudor Black Bay 41mm steel models also feature larger readings than the Breitling Superocean Automatic 42mm, with 49.6mm lug-to-lug and 15.6mm thickness.
Simply put, the Tudor BB 41 is closer to the 44mm Breitling Superocean Automatic, while the BB58 to the 42mm Breitling Superocean Automatic.
Even the largest of them, the 46mm diameter version, reads 52.29mm lug-to-lug and 13.22mm in thickness. In comparison, the Tudor Black Bay Bronze with a much smaller 43mm diameter measures a larger 53mm lug-to-lug and a significantly greater 14.5mm thickness.
Come to think of it, based on the wearing experience, one of the best aspects of the Breitling Superocean Automatic Collection is that there are plenty of options for those with slim wrists (or those wanting different colours). The 42mm option is ideal for those like me, and unlike the Tudor BB58, one gets a much bigger real-estate of a dial (if you count the rehaut too).
On the wrist, the bezel rotation has a satisfying sound, and is also easy to rotate without lag. The crown again is easy to use and the stem feels solid.
Just like the Tudor offerings, there is a fair bit of text on the dial, and the appliqué hour markers have a blocky feel. Not only is the peripheral minute track sloped and slightly raised, the hour markers are substantially raised, together presenting a decent play of height and depth. The lettering also features a rather large font. On the whole, the dial is exceptionally legible.
Though for regular divers it could mean a bit confusing if looking at time lapsed at a glance considering the oversized rehaut. If we compare it to the original SuperOcean Slow Motion from 70s, the rehaut of those was thick as well, but the outer bezel was slimmer. There was a clear distinction. In the case of the new versions, the thickness is roughly the same. Also, conversely, the font on the bezel was much larger than that on the internal minute track, making it easier to distinguish. So from a diver’s perspective, the design could potentially require some improvements.
But as an everyday wearing watch, no doubt it is highly legible and very handsome. And the new Breitling Superocean Automatic Collection does look very different to established icons such as an Omega Seamaster 300M or a Rolex Submariner.
From certain perspectives, the Breitling Superocean Automatic is the love child of Sinn dive watches and Tudor’s Black Bay series, where somehow they went back in time and also managed to have a menage et trois with the SuperOcean Slow Motion watches from 60s and 70s. Maybe there was also an affair with Doxa and Zodiac watches considering the colours, but the jury’s still out on that. Say what you may, the Breitling Superocean Automatic do look very good in person.
The only fault I can find with the new Breitling Superocean Automatic Collection redesign is the movement; a 38-hour power reserve in 2022 simply ain’t great.
An outsourced movement when Breitling has the capabilities — they and Tudor share movements so to speak with the Breitling B20 and Tudor MT6712 being essentially the same — and just a 2-year warranty as a by-product of that is something to be improved upon. Lots of brands, and micro-brands, offer better movement specs at lower price points.
Though you also have to remember that not everyone is a watch nerd or a seasoned collector. For a lot of consumers out there the watch is still a Breitling. There is not a doubt it is handsome, well made, and wears very well on slim wrists. So for most, the low power reserve may not even be a consideration.
What I do like is that even though the Sellita SW200-1 / ETA 2824-2 movements allow the option of featuring a date complication — that too at any of the 3, 6, 9, or 12’o clock positions — I am kind of glad to note that the new Breitling Superocean Automatic watches do not feature a date aperture. There is enough design and balance asymmetry to the dial without forcing a date window and cluttering up the dial.
Another redeeming aspect here is that all versions of the Breitling Superocean Automatic feature COSC-certification, meaning that the timing tolerance should be a decent -4/+6 sec p/day. I do also like that these watches feature scratch-proof ceramic-inlayed bezel and are also shock-, sand-, and saltwater-resistant.
Where the watches lack in a modern movement, they make up with their incredible 300m (30 ATM) water resistance and straps featuring folding clasps that allow for micro-adjustments of up-to 15mm.
Besides the movement used, I reckon that the new Breitling Superocean Automatic Collection is a winner. While the burst of colour makes all of them collectible, my favorite out of the lot has got to be the the bronze-cased fume-dialled duo, the 44mm diameter ref. N17376201Q1S1 with a brown dial and 42mm diameter ref. N17375201L1S1 with a green degrade dial.
The fume dial is on trend, but it is the contrast between the shades of green and brown used against the bronze case and golden-bronze internal peripheral minute track that really sets these two versions apart from the rest of the collection. There is a certain ‘baller’ aspect to these, without the gaudiness of gold.
I am also partial to the Kelly Slater limited edition ref. A173751A1O1S1 available in numbers of 1000-pieces only. Co-designed by Kelly Slater, its “color scheme is inspired by a watch Slater’s dad used to wear surfing”.
On this version, the combination of a bright orange central main dial with a white rehaut framed by a black bezel and finished off by a green strap is almost too good to be missed. There are also other subtle touches of green on the dial that complement the theme nicely, with the Superocean text and the tip of the second’s hand both featuring a lighter green colour.
Last but not the least, personally, I also like the turquoise dial 44mm / 36mm versions that keep it on trend with the Tiffany-colour demand started by Rolex and Patek a few years ago.
The 46m Breitling Superocean Automatic is an oddball, one that could be the most polarising thanks to the bidirectional bezel with a patented security lock. Design wise, the lock at 9’o clock symmetrically mirrors the crown guards at 3, bringing to memory the vision of certain Patek watches. Dimensions wise, the watch also sits like a TAG Heuer Monaco-esque square, with 52.29mm lug-to-lug spacing and 52mm crown to security lock spacing.
That’s All Folks!
The new Breitling Superocean Automatic watches are a welcome addition to the dive watch scene. In person, on the wrist, they seem to gain momentum and entice you with their charm. They are also versatile enough to not be just ‘divers’, but can also be your daily beater catering to a multitude of activities one may partake during the course of the day.
They masterfully handpick design cues from yesterday, and package them inside a contemporary package. They colour me impressed with something for everyone.
To find out more about the new Breitling Superocean Automatic collection and other Breitling timepieces, please head to there website here. All images unless otherwise stated are ©WatchYaGonnaDoAboutIt.