Dive watches look great and are highly functional, but how many of them actually get used for diving? Probably very few, especially since digital dive computers have largely taken the place of mechanical timepieces for most divers. Dive watches need a rebrand, and that’s exactly what Breitling has done with its expansive new Superocean collection. The Breitling Superocean watches draw on the distinctive design of the brand’s SuperOcean Slow Motion from the ’60s and ’70s, but now with modern features and plenty of color. And Breitling is clear about how these watches should be used: They’re not strictly for diving. Think of them as all-purpose, beach-friendly watches suitable for swimming, surfing, and (of course) wearing on land. You don’t need to have your scuba certification to appreciate these timepieces.
The Breitling Superocean collection traces its roots to the original SuperOcean watch, which was developed in the 1960s as a tool for the new sport of scuba diving. It was a unique watch because it focused squarely on its mission: Breitling’s designers deleted traditional watch features—like small indices and even the seconds hand—that wouldn’t help divers underwater. It had a high-contrast minutes scale; large indices for good legibility; and used a minutes-based chronograph, which slowly tracked around the dial, making a full rotation every hour. This earned it the “Slow Motion” nickname.
The new Breitling Superocean watches draw on similar aesthetic hallmarks and combine them with modern features geared toward everyday wearability. First off, there’s a lot of variety. The watches are available in four case sizes (46, 44, 42, and 36 mm), and there are three different case materials available: steel, steel-gold, and bronze. The 42mm and 44mm bronze models utilize a special alloy that resists corrosion (a key feature for anything designed to interact with saltwater) but will still develop a patina the more you wear it—a beloved aspect of bronze timepieces.
You can also choose from a wide range of dial colors, including blue, black, forest green, and orange. All of the models in the new collection feature contrasting minute tracks on the dials—like the original Slow Motion watches—and the indices and hands are coated in Super-LumiNova for excellent visibility. The minute had wears a distinctive square shape, while the seconds hand has a small circle—a reference to the circular chronograph status window on the original SuperOcean watches.
Most of the new watches have unidirectional bezels, but the 46mm models have a bidirectional bezel with a lock—a unique feature not found on most divers. Finally, the watches come paired with adjustable rubber straps or an adjustable three-row metal bracelet, which allows you to style them up for dressy occasions or opt for a sportier look when you’re headed to the beach. With their varied colors, case sizes, and case metals, the Breitling Superocean watches offer something for just about every watch (and water sports) enthusiast.
Breitling is serious about making inroads beyond the scuba diving world. To that end, the brand is offering a special-edition Superocean watch designed in partnership with pro surfer Kelly Slater. It’s limited to just 1,000 units, and features the boldest color scheme of them all: A bright orange dial paired with a black bezel and a forest green rubber strap. According to Slater, the color scheme is inspired by a bright orange watch his dad used to wear while surfing.
No matter which Breitling Superocean you choose, you’ll get a durable, high-performance timepiece. Each one is water resistant to 300 meters, and they’re built to resist shock, sand, and saltwater, so you don’t have to worry about it holding up through a long day in the ocean. They’re powered by Breitling’s automatic Caliber 17 movement, which comes with a two-year warranty and a 38-hour power reserve for accurate timekeeping.
Ready to paddle out? So are these watches.[Starting at $4,600; breitling.com]
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