Breitling recently redesigned its sporty sea watch, the Breitling SuperOcean. The new line continues the minimalist design of the original SuperOcean Slow Motion from the 1960s and 1970s while incorporating contemporary features and a vibrant colour scheme.
Scuba diving was just becoming popular in the 1960s, thanks to the exploits of ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau. Breitling wanted to not only offer the best tool watch for the task, but also to give it a sense of style since timing in diving was everything and was almost exclusively measured in minutes.
Breitling’s designers stripped this early SuperOcean of any extraneous elements that wouldn’t help divers perform tasks underwater. The critical minutes scale was given a dial ring with a high contrast pattern. Subtle indexes were replaced with large, luminescent batons for easier reading. Breitling also made the boldest decision by getting rid of the seconds hand because divers… didn’t really need it. A revolutionary minutes-based chronograph known as the “Slow Motion” that took an hour to complete a full rotation of the dial was introduced in its place.
In 2022, Breitling unveiled a new Superocean that conforms to the Slow Motion’s simplified tool-watch philosophy. A keen eye will recognise several design nods to the original even though the collection has been updated to meet the demands of contemporary wearers (the seconds hand was now a necessity).
The collection was unveiled to media, retailers, and influencers at the Wheels & Waves surf and motorcycle festival in Biarritz. The event came after a day of sea-themed activities, including surprise appearances by European surf and screen personalities. Surfers Andrew Cotton, Jérémy Florès, and Natxo Gonzalez were present, along with French actor Guillaume Canet and Spanish actor lvaro Morte.
“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.”Georges Kern, Breitling CEO
The collection’s vibrant dials are matched with three different case metals: bronze, steel-gold, and four sizes (46, 44, 42, and 36 mm). Despite having excellent corrosion resistance, the special alloy used in the 44 and 42 mm bronze versions will eventually develop a subtle patina that will make the watch even more distinctive. The two strap options, a sporty rubber strap and a new three-row metal bracelet, both have folding clasps that enable micro-adjustments of up to 15 mm for simple wear over rash guards and dive suits.
The new Superocean has broad hands and indexes coated in Super-LumiNova® for exceptional readability underwater and is water-resistant to 300 m (1000 ft). The ceramic bezel on it is scratch-proof and will never fade or wear out. The bezel is bidirectional with a patented lock on the 46 mm and unidirectional on most sizes for safety. Additionally, this watch is resistant to saltwater, sand, and shock. The Breitling Caliber 17 automatic movement has a two-year warranty and a roughly 38-hour power reserve.
Both the minute scale and the Slow Motion’s distinctive square minute hand have returned. The “dot,” a circular window at 6 o’clock that changed colour depending on whether the minutes-based chronograph was active, paused, or off, will also be remembered by fans. A circle near the second hand’s tip in the new Superocean nods to this beloved element.
The Breitling Surfer Squad, consisting of Kelly Slater, Stephanie Gilmore, and Sally Fitzgibbons, returns as the faces of the new Superocean collection. The watch collection includes the limited-edition Superocean Automatic 42 Kelly Slater, which was co-designed with the surf champion and is limited to 1,000 pieces. It has an eye-catching orange dial and a military-green rubber strap. The colour scheme was inspired by a watch that Slater’s father used to wear while surfing.
“I’ve been co-creating watches with Breitling for the past few years but this one, in particular, is very personal. It’s inspired by my late father, who had a watch with an orange face that he used to wear surfing for as long as I can remember. The green and orange together is a colour scheme I used to like for the airbrushes on my boards growing up. That combination has always stuck with me.”Kelly Slater
Photo credits: Breitling