Ever since their change of leadership I have been following the development of Breitling closely. For a brand that is considered rather dormant except for their classic Navitimer line, they have made a genuine effort to shake things up. No watch in my eyes is a clearer testament to this transformation than the brand new Breitling Superocean ’57 Heritage Limited Edition. The piece is clearly meant to be provocative, featuring a striking rainbow lume that while I still can’t decide on whether I personally like it or not, I already consider one of the most memorable releases of the year (maybe also for lack of competition).
So what is this watch? It is part of a new collection that pays homage to a vintage diver from the fifties that has already been the inspiration for many of their dive watches. This new range offers watches that visually lie much closer to the original than other dive watches Breitling has previously offered. In another act of fan service it also does away with the date window that purist have previously complained about being misplaced in these watches.
The resemblance is mostly visual, as technically speaking this is a picture perfect example of a desk-diver. With a bi-directional bezel, 100 meter water resistance, and questionable legibility, no serious diver will care to take this watch underwater. The only thing more stupid than actually wanting to use this watch as a diver, however, is expecting a watch with rainbow lume to be a serious diver.
So let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Fucking rainbow lume. I mean, what the hell were they thinking? Making a fun watch that ruffles some feathers? The audacity! Jokes aside, I appreciate them having some fun with this watch, and offering a rainbow watch for those on a tighter budget. And given this is a limited run of 250 pieces that will be sold exclusively through Breitling Boutiques I have no doubt that this watch will sell out fast, and make a select few rather happy.
There are some obvious drawbacks to this watch. First of all, relating to the lume, I personally dislike the lume choice for the hands. What was done here is the colours were matched so that on a press picture where the time is always ten past ten they will match to their corresponding hour marker. In practice, however, they will almost never be aligned in that way, meaning they won’t match, at which point I would have rather liked to see more opposite colours, like the red and blue or yellow and purple. Secondly, for what is a modified ETA movement with a 40-hour power reserve, it does not offer a lot of value, especially with the Rado Captain Cook as its direct competitor. And finally, I fear that the risk of novelty may wear off too fast with this watch to where it will sit in the safe more than on a wrist.
To sum things up, this Breitling makes for a fantastic summer watch. It is a watch that does not take itself too seriously, both in form and function. It offers something unprecedented in its price range, and I feel like it is a step in the right direction. Would I buy this watch myself? Hell no. Do I believe that this is a healthy phase in the necessary evolution that will revitalize the brand. Hell yeah!