The Breitling SuperOcean is not just a watch; it's an enduring symbol of innovation, style, and the adventurous spirit of diving. From its inception, the Breitling SuperOcean has captured the imagination of divers and watch enthusiasts alike, merging functionality with elegance in a way that few timepieces can. Let's dive into the history of this iconic watch and explore why it continues to make waves in the world of luxury timekeeping.
Table of Contents
- How did the Breitling SuperOcean come to be?
- What are the most popular Breitling SuperOcean models?
- What are the SuperOceans of today and are they a good investment?
How did the Breitling SuperOcean come to be?
Trends in watchmaking have shifted dramatically over the years. In the 1950s, a 34mm watch was considered large for a man, while today, it's more commonly seen as a women's size. Similarly, two-tone watches were all the rage in the 1990s but have since seen a decline in popularity. Despite these changing tastes, one constant has remained: the allure of the dive watch. Dive watches have consistently been among the most popular and best-selling models for many brands. They represent a blend of precision engineering and rugged functionality that appeals to both divers and desk divers alike. Recognizing this trend early on, Breitling was one of the first watchmakers to introduce a purpose-built dive watch: the SuperOcean.
Introduced in 1957, the SuperOcean was a response to the burgeoning demand for dive watches, coming only four years after the introduction of the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, the world's first dive watch. Breitling's entry into this market was not just timely but also innovative, incorporating the brand's DNA into a rugged, usable dive watch that quickly became a favorite among diving enthusiasts.
What are the most popular Breitling SuperOcean models?
1957 SuperOcean Ref. 1004
The Ref. 1004 was designed for the stylish gentleman who demands elegance even on the beach. With a 200m water resistance, the SuperOcean stood out for its breathtaking design and performance-oriented details. The use of oversized circular and triangular hour markers not only ensured maximum legibility but also gave the watch a unique and pioneering appearance. The avant-garde concave design of the rotating bezel and the slim profile of its 39mm stainless steel case ensured that the SuperOcean remained comfortable and flat on the wrist.
1957 SuperOcean Ref. 807
Aimed at the seasoned diver, the Ref. 807 combined performance with reliability in a sportier chronograph format. Like its sibling, it featured a 200m water resistance and a distinctive design that set it apart from other watches. Its legibility was enhanced by oversized markers, and its rotating bezel featured the same innovative concave design. The 39mm case was crafted to ensure comfort and a sleek profile on the wearer's wrist.
1965 The Slow-Motion SuperOcean Ref. 2005
The Ref. 2005 was a marvel of technical complexity and clean design. Launched in 1964, it featured no sub-dials and a bold 43mm case, prioritizing legibility above all. This model represented a significant evolution in the SuperOcean lineage, showcasing Breitling's commitment to innovation and the needs of professional divers.
1970 SuperOcean Chrono-Matic Ref.2105
The introduction of the caliber Chrono-Matic in 1969 marked a revolutionary step in watchmaking, with Breitling at the forefront. The Ref. 2105 was the brand's first SuperOcean to incorporate this automatic chronograph caliber, offering the convenience of an automatic watch without the need for daily winding. Its waterproof rotating bezel, vibrant hand-set, and the orange bezel insert reflected the dynamic design ethos of the 1970s.
1983 SuperOcean Deep-Sea Ref. 81190
With the Ref. 81190, Breitling pushed the boundaries of technical innovation and diving capability. This model boasted an impressive 1000m water resistance, catering to extreme divers thanks to its patented helium escapement valve. This feature protected the watch from pressure-related damage during decompression, solidifying the SuperOcean's reputation as a reliable tool for professional divers.
What are the SuperOceans of today and are they a good investment?
The SuperOcean has continued to evolve, celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2007 with the Heritage collection. This line paid homage to the original models while updating its design for modern tastes, featuring larger sizes, a variety of colors, and the choice between steel, leather, or rubber bracelets. The 2017 upgrade introduced even more diversity with a range of dial and bezel colors, bands, and collaborations, ensuring there was a SuperOcean for every preference.
Modern SuperOceans maintain the iconic design elements that made the original so beloved, with updated Arabic numerals and slimmer, more readable hands. Available in sizes ranging from 36mm to 46mm and featuring automatic movements with a 38-hour power reserve, the contemporary SuperOcean models are designed to meet the demands of today's divers and watch enthusiasts.
Innovations such as the ability to withstand depths of up to 2000 meters and the inclusion of helium valves highlight Breitling's ongoing commitment to excellence and innovation. Both new and vintage SuperOcean models are highly sought after by collectors, offering not just a piece of diving history but also a testament to Breitling's enduring legacy of quality and design. As such, the Breitling SuperOcean represents not just a wise investment in a timepiece but an investment in a legacy of adventure, precision, and style.