Sporty, elegant, and with a retro-cool aesthetic, Breitling Superocean Heritage watches are some of the most sought-after dive watches around. While most dive watches have a tool watch, utilitarian look to them, the Superocean Heritage has carved a niche for itself as the perfect dress-diver.
Today, there are two generations of the Superocean Heritage – the first introduced in 2007 and the second in 2017 – both inspired by the original Breitling Superocean diver from the 1950s.
Let’s take a look at the history of the Superocean Heritage and the differences between the Superocean Heritage I and Heritage II watches.
THE ORIGINAL BREITLING SUPEROCEAN OF 1957
Since its inception, Breitling has been known for its aviation focused watches. In the 1950s, when professional deep-sea diving and scientific exploration of the seas began to flourish, so did the popularity of dive watches. Omega broke its first diving record with the Seamaster, reaching depths of 62 meters; while Rolex debuted the Submariner in 1953, with a depth rating of 100 meters.
The original Breitling Superocean ref 1004 (photos: Breitling)
By 1957, Breitling was ready to put their dive watch stakes on the ground. They released the Superocean, which with a depth rating of 200 meters, beat out its contemporaries. The original Superocean watches of 1957 were composed of two designs. First was the elegant time-only diver suitable for daily wear (ref 1004), and the chronograph (ref 807) for the more seasoned diver who needs a watch for performance.
These two would pave the way for more advanced Superocean models – from automatic to deep-dive models.
BREITLING SUPEROCEAN HERITAGE I (2007)
In 2007, to commemorate the 50th year of the original Superocean, Breitling introduced the Superocean Heritage line.
Inspired by the 1950s dive watch, the Superocean Heritage features a steel bezel with minimal markers, a crown without crown guards, large sword hands and a braided “Milanese” bracelet. In fact, it was one of the first modern watches to revive the mesh steel bracelet, which continues to be an option within the Superocean line today.
Breitling Superocean Heritage I
The 1950s Breitling Flying ‘B’ logo and ‘Superocean’ script were also both revived in the Superocean Heritage – both adding to the affectionate nods to the brand’s original diver.
The Superocean Heritage is available in 38mm and 46mm sizes, with time only and chronograph options. They are also powered by the Caliber 17, based on the ETA 2824-2 movement.
BREITLING SUPEROCEAN HERITAGE II (2017)
Breitling Superocean Heritage II
For the 60th anniversary of the Superocean in 2017, Breitling introduced the Superocean Heritage II, which superseded the first generation Superocean Heritage line.
It presented a few upgrades. First is the shock- and scratch-resistant ceramic bezel with a more matte finish, which gave the watch a more modern look. The bezel was also given a Super-LumiNova luminant-filled pip at 12 o’clock on the rotating bezel.
Breitling Superocean Heritage II
Inside the self-winding chronometer, which is water-resistant up to 200 meters, is the Calibre B20 movement. This movement was co-designed with the Tudor watch brand. Based on the Tudor caliber MT5612, which was first introduced by Tudor in the Pelagos, it’s designed for hard use and boasts of a 70-hour power reserve.
One of the easiest ways to distinguish between the Superocean Heritage I and II is to look at the hour and minute hands. On the Superocean Heritage II, the hour hand is bisected; and the minute hand sports a more dramatic tapering.
The second generation Superocean Heritage now consists of some 30 different models, sized from 42 to 46mm, and with a range of metals and colors. The first generation meanwhile, continues to be sought-after, and is available in the pre-owned market.
The Superocean Heritage collection, in its entirety, has been a great success for Breitling, and is one of the best heritage-inspired dive watches around.