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Breitling Watches: Superocean vs. Superocean Heritage – What’s The Difference?

Paul Altieri

What is the difference between the Breitling Superocean and the Superocean Heritage? Both Breitling watches share similar monikers, but the Superocean Heritage is dedicated to honoring Breitling dive watches from the 1950s, while the Superocean continues to evolve and features a noticeably more contemporary aesthetic. Both models include classic dive watch amenities, such as a luminous display on the dial, a waterproof case, and a rotatable bezel. However, the Superocean Heritage keeps it simple with minimal markings on its bezel insert, while the Superocean often features more robust bezels decorated with 60-minute graduations.

This comparison review will take a brief look at the Breitling Superocean’s history and what sets both models apart. Are you wondering which model will suit your wrist the best? Both editions of the Superocean are available in various case sizes, movement functions, dial and bezel colors, and bracelet options to accommodate any lifestyle while bringing their own aesthetic to the brand’s catalog. Read on to learn more about the iconic diver that proved Breitling was more than just a manufacturer of pilot’s watches.

Breitling Superocean vs. Superocean Heritage Table of Contents

  1. About Breitling Superocean Dive Watches
  2. Breitling Superocean Watches – History and Models
    1. The Original Superocean Reference 2005
    2. Breitling Superocean Heritage
    3. Breitling Superocean Heritage II
  3. Which Breitling Superocean Should I Buy?

Breitling Superocean

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronograph

About Breitling Superocean Dive Watches

Breitling has been developing and producing precision watches since 1884. Its history in aviation is storied, having created one of the first pilot’s wristwatches with a chronograph movement. However, Breitling watches also have a strong reputation throughout the dive watch industry, with its most notable model, the Superocean beginning production in 1957 and the Superocean Heritage entering the market 50 years later in 2007.

The Superocean’s production run, which spans over half a century, has yielded numerous variations of the series that continue to evolve to include the latest in watch fashion and watchmaking technologies. The Superocean Heritage continues to evolve and maintains a design aesthetic that closely mirrors that of the very first model ever produced. When choosing between the two, what it really comes down to is personal taste. Do you prefer the look and feel of retro Breitling models, or does a modern timepiece speak to you more? Let’s take a closer look at some Breitling dive watches.

Breitling Superocean Dive Watch

Breitling Superocean Watches – History and Models

To better understand the Breitling Superocean collection, let’s take a closer look at its history. The Superocean hit the market in 1957 with the three-hand reference 1004 and the chronograph reference 807. Breitling’s foray into the world of dive watches came just after Rolex had released the iconic Submariner in 1953. Accompanied by the Breitling name and an impressive 200-meters of water resistance, the Superocean was a success. Its design took a minimalist approach with simple yet highly legible markers on the dial and bezel, along with bold and easy-to-read hands. This design ethos would be revived with the Superocean Heritage model that would come to the market 50 years later.

During its production run, the Superocean saw many notable upgrades, such as updates to its luminous material, the addition of a Helium Escape Valve, and depth ratings that promise water resistance up to 2,000 meters on certain models. Today, the collection also includes the Superocean II and it is available in 36mm, 42mm, 44mm, 46mm, and 48mm case sizes. Like many other Breitling watches, this impressive diver can also be had in a plethora of dial and bezel color options, metal finishes, and bracelet types, making it a varied and interesting watch to pursue and collect.

Breitling Superocean Heritage Black Dial

The Original Superocean Reference 2005

The Breitling Superocean 2005 was introduced in the 1960s and touted an innovative “slow-motion” feature. This function earns its name due to the chronograph hand circling the dial once per hour instead of once per minute. Given that the watch was specifically designed for diving, this unusual feature makes its chronograph function far more useful for measuring submersion times. This function was accompanied by an interesting disc indicator just above the 6-hour marker to allow users to distinguish when the chronograph was engaged.

The Superocean 2005 Execution 2 was released a few years later in 1971 and debuted a seconds register at the 9-hour marker and baton hour markers and broader hands. The “Yachting” bezel option was also introduced with this model and was offered alongside a classic diving bezel with a traditional 60-minute scale. Both 2005 editions were intriguing Superocean variants that showcased Breitling’s watchmaking prowess.

Breitling Superocean Heritage Blue Dial

Breitling Superocean Heritage

The Breitling Superocean collection saw many more noteworthy upgrades between 1971 and the introduction of the Superocean Heritage in 2007. However, this model is one of the most fascinating recent additions with its flawless 1950s-inspired design, date aperture on the dial, and classic mesh bracelet. Side-by-side, the original Superocean and the Superocean Heritage boast many similarities, including the bezel, which omits the numeral markers often seen on bezels offered from other brands, similar arrow hands, and a contrasting luminous display for a legible reading on land or in the ocean.

The Breitling Superocean Heritage is reminiscent of a time when luxury dive watches were simply professional timing tools but today, its striking design is also enjoyed by those who cared about making a statement on the wrist. This is compared to the current Superocean, which is still quite fashionable but is more of a purpose-built timing tool that emphasizes functionality rather than neo-vintage design.

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronograph Blue Dial

Breitling Superocean Heritage II

The Breitling Superocean Heritage II collection entered the market around the Superocean’s 60th anniversary in 2017. The second generation of the Superocean Heritage was produced with a 42mm, 44mm, or 46mm case size and offered users 200 meters of water resistance, just like the original 1950s model. Similarly, the Breitling Superocean Heritage II was also equipped with either a traditional three-hand movement or one with chronograph functionality. Cutting-edge technology, coupled with a nostalgic dive watch aesthetic, make both editions of the Breitling Superocean Heritage collection a joy to wear.

The Breitling Superocean Heritage II is also available on the secondary market with various bezel and dial colors, bracelet types, and case sizes, making it easy to find the perfect Superocean Heritage watch to suit your wrist. Conversely, the original Superocean embraces a much more contemporary style while still offering the same high-performance and water resistance that has defined the collection since the inaugural models of the 1950s.

Breitling Superocean Yellow Diver

Which Breitling Superocean Should I Buy?

Personal style will always play a big part in choosing between the Breitling Superocean and Superocean Heritage. The Superocean Heritage keeps it classy with a simple and vintage-inspired design, while the Superocean is noticeably more modern and utilitarian. However, another important factor to consider is your budget and the slightly different prices between Superocean and Superocean Heritage watches.

For as low as $3,600, you can invest in the Breitling Superocean at retail. On the secondary market, pre-owned prices start out as low as approximately $2,500. The Breitling Superocean Heritage offers a somewhat similar investment proposition, but prices are slightly higher. Current entry-level retail prices start out at $4,380 and pre-owned examples frequently trade hands around $4k. With that in mind, whether you opt for the modern Superocean or the vintage-inspired Superocean Heritage, both Breitling dive watches offer expert-level craftsmanship, chronometer-certified movements, and a rich history of underwater explorations that dates back to the early days of diving in the 1950s.

Breitling Superocean Stainless Steel Dive Watch

Paul Altieri
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