Breitling has had a truly strong showing this year. Just look at the Breitling Top Time Limited Edition released a few weeks back, and you can see that they really have the vintage-inspired aesthetic nailed down. With the new Breitling Superocean Heritage ’57 Capsule Collection, Breitling has taken the Superocean into some gnarly waves with a throwback design tailor-made for the beach or The Beach Boys.
With this watch, Breitling Superocean Heritage ’57 has maintained the general design from the existing Heritage Superocean line, but infused some real 1950s and ’60s heritage into it. One of the first things that popped out to me was the concave bezel. This may sound crazy, but it almost gives off a 50s B-movie flying saucer vibe and adds a real flair to the retro design. On top of that is the completely re-designed marker set on the dial. Gone are the sticks and small lume pips. Here, rather, we have some very groovy overlaid stick and lume-filled circular markers at 12, three, six, and nine o’clock. The hash marks on the minute track have been elongated which I think really brings the whole design together. Always a sucker for typography, the numerals have also been given a more throwback styling, including the much-beloved flat four.
Something that a lot of brands do when looking to the past for inspiration is rely too heavily on exactitude of execution. What I mean is that many times, the reproductions will utilize the same materials as their inspiration, which can prove to be a hindrance in modern application. Breitling has managed to combine vintage design and style with modern mechanics and materials. There is no clearer example of this than on the bezel. The concave design is in true vintage form, but it is made in ceramic which makes it robust and scratch-resistant for today’s world.
One of the more welcome design choices on this watch is the lack of a date window. I have nothing against them personally, but when it comes to dive watches, there is a certain symmetry that shines on a no-date watch. The watch comes in a black dial or blue dial variant, both in steel with an either blue or black ceramic bezel. There is also a black dial version done in two-tone steel and red gold. While these are not limited editions, or numbered, they are only offered for a limited time and in a limited volume.
But wait, there’s more. Breitling Superocean Heritage ’57 is also releasing a special limited edition variant of the watch. This version will have a black dial, steel case, and oh so much more. The hour markers on this LE are done in a rainbow graduation and, unlike the other pieces in the collection, this watch will be limited to a number of 250 watches (with a special caseback engraving) and will be a boutique exclusive.
Each of these watches is equipped with the Breitling Caliber 10 movement which is a modified version of the ETA 2892, and each has chronometer certification, as is expected from the brand. The watches are paired on either leather straps or the Superocean signature mesh bracelet. For the Superocean Heritage ’57 Capsule LE, you will be able to separately purchase special Outerknown ECONYL
yarn NATO straps in a variety of color combinations.
These watches may be limited in one sense or another, but they really show a recognition, on the part of the brand, of what consumers are looking for in a no-nonsense dive watch with vintage appeal, built like a modern watch. The rainbow graduations on the limited edition may seem like a lot, and they probably are, but what’s wrong with having a little fun? In a world where dive watches, bezels, and dials have become quite homogenous, Breitling has delivered a very unique offering. The watches themselves have nailed the mid-century design motif, and in doing so, are quite compelling in more ways than one.