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Breitling Superocean

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Breitling Aeromarine Superocean S/S A13341 W/ Box & Papers Breitling Aeromarine Superocean S/S A13341 W/ Box & Papers $3,899 US 32 2014

Superocean: Breitling's Underwater Watch

The Superocean is Breitling's diving watch. For the past 60 years, this series has proven that the Swiss manufacturer is not only the leading producer of pilot's watches, but also a top producer of high-quality diving watches.

Highlights

  • Reliable diving watch in production since 1957
  • Ranges in size from 36 to 46 mm
  • Waterproof to 2,000 m (200 bar)
  • Available as a chronograph and with a helium escape valve
  • Chronograph M2000: Stopwatch functions underwater

Developed for Professionals

Breitling premiered the Superocean in 1957, the same year Omega introduced the Seamaster 300. Blancpain and Rolex had released their Fifty Fathoms and Submariner models a few years earlier in 1953, setting the bar for new diving watch standards. The original Superocean was waterproof to 200 m, making it just as robust as its competitors. This was the first real golden age of diving watches. The series from this era left their mark on the industry and still do to this day.
However, Breitling couldn't reach a wide audience with their first Superocean. The watch was primarily targeted towards professional divers, both civil and military, as recreational diving was not yet widespread at the time.
The Superocean of the late 1950s with reference number 1004 was a three-hand minimalist watch. It had neither a date display, nor the traditional numbers. Instead, the hour indices were marked with lines. This minimalist approach was new for Breitling. After all, the manufacturer, established in 1884, was well known for adding complications to their watches. By 1934, Breitling had already introduced a chronograph with two push-pieces. This design quickly spread to other manufacturers. Breitling also created a chronograph version of the Superocean, which has reference number 807.
A thick layer of synthetic glass protected the first Superocean's black dial. With its luminous hands, screw-down crown, and a rotatable bezel to track dive time, it already had all the notable features of a diving watch.
The bezel featured metal, line-shaped five minute markers, with black spaces separating them. The bezel also noticeably tapered inwards. The first versions had bidirectionally rotatable bezels, but today they're unidirectional as per current standards. The bezels can only be turned counterclockwise so that the dive time may never be accidentally lengthened, only shortened.
Nowadays, synthetic glass has given way to scratch-resistant sapphire glass. There's also now more than just a single Superocean - there's an entire series, ranging from models that are waterproof to 200 m, to models that can go down to 2,000 m. The smallest version is 36 mm and the largest is 46 mm in diameter. Stainless steel is used for the case material, although some versions feature a black coating. The Superocean Chronograph is also offered in a bicolor version with a rose gold bezel. Breitling mainly uses mechanical calibers in this collection, though some models are powered by quartz movements.

Buying Advice

Are you looking for a high-quality, professional diving watch to meet your needs? The Superocean is a series that's been used for decades by professional divers.
The Superocean II 36 has a case diameter of 36 mm, making it perfect for women and men with thinner wrists. It's available in all white, with a white dial, bezel, and strap. It's waterproof to 200 m (20 bar). New, the Superocean II costs around 2,500 euros.
If you prefer a larger size, then you should consider the Superocean II 42. Its size gives away its name, as it has a 42-mm, polished stainless steel case. The Superocean II 42 is waterproof to 500 m, which equates to 50 bar. A new model is available for around 2,500 euros; thus, in terms of price, it's not too different from its smaller, unisex sibling.
The next size up, the Superocean II 44, also has a similar price. New, it costs about 100 euros more, coming in around 2,600 euros. However, it can be taken to two times the depth of the Superocean II 42; the Superocean II 44 is waterproof to 1,000 m (100 bar). It also features a helium escape valve, which prevents pressure from building up inside the watch. Starting at 20 bar of pressure or more, helium atoms can make their way into a diver's watch when the divers are going through decompression. When the divers gradually return to normal pressure levels, pressure can build up inside the watch, causing the glass to pop out. A helium escape valve prevents this from happening. The Superocean II 44 is available with a black or blue dial and matching bezel.
The Special is a variant of the Superocean 44 that is completely black - including its satin-brushed steel case. Only the scales, indices, and hands are white, while the tip of the second hand is red.
If you're looking for a diving watch with a timer function, then the Superocean Chronograph is a good choice. It's waterproof to 500 m (50 bar). Its 44-mm case is available in either satin-brushed or black-coated steel. Breitling also offers the chronograph with a rose gold bezel and hands.
The Steelfish is one variant of the Superocean chronograph. Stainless steel, a black dial, white subdials, and thick, light green luminous hands give the watch its markedly high-tech, sporty look. The chronographs in the Superocean series start between 3,000 and 3,500 euros.
Would you prefer to have a Breitling Superocean that you can take even deeper? The Chronograph M2000 gives away its depth limit in its name. This watch has no problem handling depths of 2,000 m (200 bar). No buyer will actually dive that deep, as those depths are reserved for special submarines. However, the watch's pressure resistance requires it to be especially robust, a factor that can also benefit you in your day-to-day life. The advantages of the M2000 don't end there, though: The patented push-pieces can be used underwater as well. Other chronograph manufacturers strongly advise against using the chronograph function underwater. With a 46-mm stainless steel case, the watch is one of the largest in the Superocean series. The price is around 3,500 euros for a new watch.
The vintage market for the Superocean series is rather small. If you're looking for a watch from the beginning of the series (reference number 1004; for chronographs, reference number 807), you'll have to hope you get lucky and find one. These watches are very rare, and a well-maintained version with a timer from the 1950s is worth over 10,000 euros.
Breitling's diving watch selection is not restricted to the Superocean series. The Avenger II Seawolf is waterproof to 3,000 m (300 bar). At a price of 2,500 euros for a new model, the Seawolf is an attractive option amongst the various deep-diving watches. However, there is one significant difference between the Superocean M2000 and the Seawolf: A quartz caliber powers the Superocean M2000, while a mechanical caliber powers the Seawolf.

Superocean Models: Maximum Depths

  • Superocean II 36: 200 m (20 bar)
  • Superocean II 42: 500 m (50 bar)
  • Superocean II 44: 1,000 m (100 bar)
  • Superocean Chronograph: 500 m (50 bar)
  • Superocean Chronograph M2000: 2,000 m (200 bar)

A Mix of Mechanical and Quartz Calibers

The automatic caliber Breitling 17 powers the Superocean II 36, 42, 44, and 44 Special. It vibrates at a frequency of 28,800 alternations per hour and has a 40-hour power reserve. The movement is based on the famous ETA 2824-2 caliber.
The chronographs in the collection, with the exception of the M2000, are powered by the Breitling 13, which is based on the Valjoux 7750 caliber. The M2000 is powered by the Breitling 73, a quartz movement. Thanks to its patented, magnetic push-piece system, the caliber can be taken to depths of 2,000 m. The battery requires replacement every 2-3 years.