breitling superocean heritage 44

Afunny thing happened while I was in the midst of the drawn out process of reviewing Breitling’s “original” (modern) Superocean Heritage watch – Breitling decided to release a brand new model with the Breitling Superocean Heritage II that debuted at Baselworld 2017. The Breitling Superocean Heritage II is actually a few different models comprised of various styles of the 42mm-wide three-hand model, the 46mm-wide three-hand model, and the 46mm-wide chronograph. This article is meant to compare and contrast the first generation Breitling Superocean Heritage I with the replacement “next generation” Superocean Heritage II. An interesting change about the watch – which I will discuss more below – is that for the three-hand models Breitling is now using Tudor movements – imagine that.Changes to the Superocean Heritage II over the I are subtle but important. What Breitling really did is address the “aging” of the Superocean Heritage, which was about materials and parts over design. The Superocean Heritage was and continues to be a solid money-maker for Breitling, being one of its most popular and attractive models. The Superocean name is derived from a historic diving watch of the same name released about 70 years ago by Breitling, whose look was “revived” in the Superocean Heritage. As a “vintage-inspired” diving watch, the Superocean Heritage lived alongside more “modern” (in design) diving watches from Breitling such as the (non “Heritage”) Superocean. Since we have photos of both the Generation I and Generation II in this review, the fastest way to identify them is by looking at the hour and minute hand. If the hour hand is bisected and the minute hand sports a more dramatic tapering, it’s the Generation II.While it is increasingly common for luxury watch brands to follow “The Rolex Way” of updating existing models over and over again as time goes on, the practice is more rare than you might be led to believe. Though, in recent years brands have seen value in sticking to “pillar” products and continually refining them over time in order to make them appealing to new customers as well as to encourage existing customers to upgrade. That is really only something you can do with a good core design. Breitling has more or less followed this strategy, but in a very different way, While they certainly have their share of pillar models, there are instances when new generation versions of existing names aren’t necessarily improved previous versions. Sometimes they are merely “different,” without a clear reason why.The 2017 Superocean Heritage II is much more clear in its purpose – and that is not to re-imagine the look of the Superocean Heritage collection, but rather to make it more modern. Some of the design decisions might be controversial, but for the most part, the Superocean Heritage II is everything we loved about the Superocean Heritage I, with some more modern materials and in the case of the three-hand version, a new movement.A very important question to ask yourself is whether or not you should get a good deal on a previous generation Superocean Heritage I or pony up for the brand new Superocean Heritage II. Is one a solid upgrade over the other, or are both models appealing in their own way? In fact, a very good argument could be made that while the Superocean Heritage II has some clear improvements over the first generation model, depending on your taste (and ability to find a deal), the previous generation Superocean Heritage watch might be just as good if not better for your needs.Breitling makes a very solid-feeling watch, which in my opinion starts with the case. The brand is particularly good at serving up well-polished heavy blocks of steel. While a lot of modern dive watches offer complicated cases with contrast finishing and other interesting design elements, the Superocean Heritage is all about appearing like a retro tank. The 42mm-wide or 46mm-wide steel case is entirely polished (with a great finishing) and water resistant to 200m. With that said, it feels like it could take a lot more of a beating. The vintage-inspired design eschews a lot of modern things you might expect to see in a diving watch (such as crown guards). So, the elegance and attractive design of the Superocean Heritage made up for its lack of being a totally “pro” diving instrument.The Superocean Heritage II is a bit more “pro worthy” but you can see that the design decisions come at the expense of aesthetics. So let’s first talk about how the unidirectional rotating bezel of the Superocean Heritage II differs from that of the original model. This is one of two major visible ways the Superocean Heritage I and II models all differ from one another. In doing the video part of the review for the Superocean Heritage 46, I mentioned that the most “age showing” part of the watch in terms of its product lifespan was the anodized aluminum / or coated steel (I’m not sure the specific metal used) bezel insert. Ceramic bezels are far more preferred and valued these days simply because they have colors which will last forever, and because they are extremely scratch resistant. With the Superocean Heritage II Breitling correctly upgraded the bezel from a metal version to a ceramic one – and it comes in black, brown, and blue.The ceramic bezel doesn’t look exactly the same, and the metal one, with its very simple markers was a bit more elegant looking. The Superocean Heritage II’s ceramic bezel is very similar, but has a bit more of a matte finish (to be expected) and now a Super-LumiNova luminant-filled pip at 12 o’clock on the rotating bezel. This ups the functional cred of the Superocean Heritage II, but it does take a bit away from the quasi-minimalist yet masculine design that made the original Superocean Heritage so lovely and charming.In pictures the lume pip on the bezel is barely noticeable, and in person it is a bit more obvious. I wouldn’t say that this feature is not welcome as it does add functionality, but the lume does take away a bit from the original appeal of the design – which never apologized for making some aesthetic decisions in lieu of functional considerations. What I really would have liked for Breitling to do is introduce a bezel that looked exactly the same as the original, in ceramic, with each of the markers on the bezel painted in white luminant. Thus, the entire bezel could have been lumed, but without visually changing the character of the overall watch.Under the sapphire crystal is a dial on the Superocean Heritage II which is remarkably similar to that of the Superocean Heritage I. One change is that the date window is at 6 o’clock on both the 46mm-wide and 42mm-wide versions – previously the 42mm model had the date at the less desirable 3 o’clock hour marker that tended to screw with dial symmetry. The Superocean Heritage II changes the style of the text on the dial just a bit, though the text actually says the same thing. The sizing and other minor details are all that are changed. The biggest dial change in the Superocean Heritage II over the I is the design of the hands. I really (really) liked the design of the Superocean Heritage I hands with the straight sword-like minute hand and the simple arrow-style hour hand. Breitling decided to mess with a good thing and produce new hands for the Superocean Heritage II, which are a bit more inspired by the hands on original Superocean dive watches from 1957. That means you still get a sword-style minute hand and an arrow-style hour hand – but now they are of a different design – and I’m on the fence about how I feel with them.For perfectly good reasons, an ambassador announcement rarely elicits more than an eye roll in the watch world, but when a brand partnership is done right, and for the right reasons, everyone stands to get something out of it – including watch fans. Thankfully, Breitling’s recently assembled “Surfer Squad” is surprisingly shaping up to fall in the latter camp, at least in my book, with the debut of the new Superocean Heritage II Chronograph 44 Outerknown edition watch. Now, bear in mind this isn’t an entirely new watch – it just adds a new dial and a sustainable twist to the existing in-house Superocean II we covered during Baselworld this year, in the form of a recycled nylon ‘Econyl’ NATO strap thanks to a neat tie-in with the ocean preservation initiative of Breitling Squad member Kelly Slater.Granted, it’s not the first time we’ve seen a strap built with recycled materials in the watch space. Oris released a Diver Sixty Five earlier this year (to coincide with a beach cleanup initiative) that came on a strap woven from an exclusive new material called r-Radyarn, made from post-consumer recycled polymers. But the journey to this Breitling-Outerknown watch and this special new strap goes through Breitling’s new ‘Surfer Squad’ – a trio of brand ambassadors introduced by new CEO Georges Kern in the early months of his tenure at Breitling, which includes the likes of Australian surfers Stephanie Gilmore and Sally Fitzgibbons; but it’s the inclusion of 11-time World Surf League Champion Kelly Slater that has yielded this collaboration.See, Slater co-founded Outerknown back in 2015 along with prolific menswear designer John Moore, and together, the two have created a menswear brand committed to ocean protection while using as many environmentally mindful manufacturing alternatives as possible – including recycled fishing nets and old nylon surplus to create products like flannel shirts, Levi’s jackets, and board shorts. So it should come as little surprise that a watch collaboration with an apparel brand committed to sustainable manufacture would yield not only some kind of nod towards protection of natural resources but watch-specific accessories as well – and so here we are.Before we get too deep into the watch itself, it’s interesting to see a brand move away from the traditional avenues of nautical partnerships (sailing, professional divers, etc.), and into the World Surf League – arguably uncharted territory for many Swiss watch brands, with only TAG Heuer springing to mind from recent years as a major brand tipping ints toe into the world of surfing. Beyond the Outerknown collaboration, Breitling (along with Outerknown) is now supporting the Ocean Conservancy, and the brand’s “triathlon squad” just announced a partnership with Qhubeka – a South African charity that provides bicycles to impoverished communities. All three endeavors are admittedly a small philanthropical piece of a larger pie, but one where genuinely good intent appears to be at the heart of Breitling’s new ambassador structure.As mentioned, the Superocean II Outerknown builds on the variant introduced earlier this year, by adding a scratch-resistant black DLC coated stainless steel case and a dark blue sun-ray dial – both colors that are expressed in the striped nylon strap, branded with Outerknown’s “OK” logo above the 12:00 side of the case. During a short wear period, our David (who shot these images at the launch event in London) found the recycled nylon strap itself to be surprisingly soft to the touch, and a welcome contrast to many of the overly stiff, thin, and abrasive NATO straps that seem to be en vogue as of late (looking at you, Tudor). But perhaps the best detail of the strap itself is that nothing about it gives away the fact that it’s recycled – it’s quite simply a comfortable, well-made, forward-thinking alternative with zero downsides that we’d love to see more of in the future. It is only once you take a real up-close look at it that you see the plasticky material that resembles the tough fishing nets are made from. It doesn’t look any worse than your regular woven NATO – and, if anything, it feels softer and nicer to touch and wear.On paper, the watch itself bears all the same metrics of the current SOII: a 44mm stainless steel case, fitted with a Valjoux/ETA 7750 based chronograph movement with a day/date aperture at 3:00. Breitling has been pretty good with minimizing case thickness on these 7750-equipped pieces (that’s a famously thick base caliber), although this one will sit that much higher on the wrist with the strap running underneath it. The real test of this setup is how the recycled strap is able to support such a large, heavy watch head and we found the fabric softness conducive to a snug, comfortable fit that proved more than enough for comfortable wear — even though the watch did “flip” a bit side to side and did not sit perfectly flat on the wrist. Those who like to wear watches on NATO straps will know (and will not mind) this.Nearly three-quarters of a million tons of fishing nets and gear are abandoned in the ocean every year, some of which is up-cycled into cheap bracelets, sunglasses, skateboards, and other eco-friendly toys and home products, but this is the first time that we’ve seen recycled nets spun into a watch strap – particularly one from a luxury watch brand. It might be a simple innovation, but it’s a long-overdue one – and in an industry filled with passive, feel-good ‘slacktivism’ as the standard for doing good, it’s great to see larger mouthpieces like Breitling and others starting to brand these types of initiatives in a meaningful way. The new Superocean II Outerknown isn’t entirely a surprise – Breitling did hint on their collaboration page that specific products sharing Outerknown’s mission would be on tap for release by the end of the year, but here’s to hoping there’s more in the pipeline. Anyone taking bets on Breitling being the first Swiss watch manufacturer to create a watch from reclaimed alloys? Learn more about pricing in your area for the new Breitling Superocean Heritage II Outerknown edition