While the star of the show for Breitling at Baselworld 2019 was the Navitimer 1959 Re-Edition (for obvious reasons, explained in our review here), there was more than just this limited edition in the showcases. In fact, Breitling also revisited its core collection, in particular, modern dive watches. The brand presented a revised version of its robust entry-level, non-vintage-inspired Superocean. And here is our take on it, with a closer look at the 2019 Breitling Superocean Automatic 44.
An upgraded Superocean collection
Saying that Breitling is a pilots’ watch brand would be selling it short. The brand has a long tradition of instrument watches and if the Navitimer best represents what the brand has achieved, other collections shouldn’t be overlooked. During the 1950s, the brand developed a range of dive watches under the name “Superocean”, a line-up that is still today a huge part of Breitling’s portfolio. Most of you will be thinking of the Superocean Heritage, a vintage-inspired piece powered by a Tudor-based automatic movement (or some chronograph calibres too). Yet, there is another member in the family, a more modern and more accessible dive watch, a robust piece that has been updated and upgraded this year.
The Breitling Superocean (without Heritage) has been in the collection for years already and is one of the brand’s best-loved and most successful watch families. It represents the modern, instrument tool-watch of the brand. Yet, since Kern and his team took over in 2017, this collection remained untouched – and quite frankly, it needed a facelift. Indeed, the dials of the previous Superocean II were not the most modern or the most attractive you can think of. The layout was busy with a double 24-hour hour scale, multiple lines of text and large Arabic numerals. The old dial has gone and is replaced by a sleeker, more modern design – see below for a comparison between the 2019 Superocean Automatic 44 and the old Superocean II 44.
The idea of Breitling’s new team was to offer a dive watch for every wrist. And so, the 2019 Superocean Automatic collection comprises 5 models, including a robust 46mm edition in black DLC (in black or blue) and a talking piece with a hefty 48mm case. The core collection includes three classic watches in 36mm, 42mm and 44mm (the one presented here), which share the same design, a steel case and the same automatic Calibre 17. The same visual treatment has been applied to the dial of these three dimensions with different colours available, depending on the models. To understand what has been done, we took the example of the Breitling Superocean Automatic 44, the watch that probably best represents the collection.
The 2019 Breitling Superocean Automatic 44
This new 2019 Superocean Automatic should be viewed as an update, not an entirely new watch. The evolutions only touch on the design of the dials and bezel, as the case and mechanics remain identical. However, this “simple evolution” drastically changes the watch.
The main idea with this 2019 version was to offer a cleaner, less busy dial with more refinement, better legibility and more coherence with the rest of the collections. For this reason, the Breitling Superocean Automatic 44 relies on a much more simple dial, with applied trapezoidal markers all around – with the exception of the 6-9-12 indexes, which are treated with Arabic numerals. All of them are filled with Super-LumiNova. Also, the internal hour track with 13-to-24 markers has gone, as well as the painted Arabic numerals and one line of text at 6 o’clock. Altogether, the dial is much more pleasant visually and more refined – but also better in terms of functionality, as the indications are clearer.
Several other details have changed too, such as the resized hands with an updated shape, the redesigned inner flange with enhanced legibility and a more discreet date window. Finally, all the dials are now matte with a lightly grained finish. The seconds hand features an oversized red arrow at its tip. All the elements have somehow been kept but entirely redesigned, reshaped and redimensioned for a more coherent and attractive look.
Available in black or blue, with a matching bezel insert, the 2019 Breitling Superocean Automatic 44, however, retains its case and specifications. The 44mm stainless steel case is well protected with prominent crown guards, a solid bezel in steel with raised numerals and a more than plenty 1,000m water-resistance – note that each model in the collection has different levels of water-resistance, depending on its diameter: 200m for the 36mm, 500m for the 42mm, 1000m for the 44mm, 2000m for the 46mm and surprisingly, only 300m for the 48mm.
On this Superocean Automatic 44, like the rest of the collection, the caseback is plain steel and hides an outsourced movement, the Breitling Calibre 17, based on the 2824 architecture. It has, however, been precisely adjusted to meet with the COSC standard, and is chronometer-certified. This movement beats at 28,800 vibrations per hours and has a 38-hour power reserve.
The Breitling Superocean Automatic 44 will be available on the classic Diver Pro II rubber strap with a steel pin buckle (folding clasp on request) as well as with a 3-link brushed stainless steel bracelet.
While the visual update clearly benefits the collection, the price is the same as previous models. The Breitling Superocean Automatic 44 will be available from EUR 3,400 on a rubber strap and EUR 3,850 on a steel bracelet. More details at breitling.com.