Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review

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Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews
Generation II

Breitling actually debuted these new Superocean Heritage hands on the dial of the the quirky limited edition Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronoworks in 2016 (hands-on here). The hour hand arrow has a line that bisects it (seemingly for no purpose as the hands are already distinctive looking), and now the minute hand rather dramatically tapers. Again, this is more in line with the look of the actual heritage Superocean watch, but I think the modern Superocean Heritage I did the hands a bit better. Not only were the outgoing hands easier on the eyes in terms of simplicity, I felt that they were more proportionate to the overall look of the dial. Now the minute hand feels a bit too skinny most of the time except at the tip – and the odd angles at the base of the arrow hour hand remove from the original’s strength and character. The new hands are certainly more distinctive, and it is entirely possible that they will grow on me, but at first glance, this is the one part of the Superocean Heritage that I thought was a bit better on the first generation model.

Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews
Generation I
Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews
Generation II

The lack of a steel ring around the inner part of the rotating bezel further makes the Superocean Heritage II look different from the original model. This is not an improvement or upgrade, so much as it is a new look for the now modern classic in contemporary vintage-style sports watches. The lack of an inner steel ring means the color from the bezel can blend in with the dial a bit more easily, which makes the most impact on the black-dialed models of the Superocean Heritage II. This is also the case on the blue and brown versions, but on some Superocean Heritage II models Breitling offers contrasting bezels and dials with a silvery dial with a black bezel.

Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews
Generation II

The brown Superocean Heritage II is the new color tone which adds the trendy “chocolate” hue to the collection. There aren’t too many “brown divers” on the market at this point – so here is one for those who have been searching for this look. The blue model is also compelling, while the two-tone black bezel with silver dial has its charm. With that said, I continue to feel that the black-colored Superocean Heritage II will continue to be the top-selling model.

Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews
Generation II

When it comes to strap and bracelet choices, Breitling makes you think rather hard when deciding what to pair your Superocean Heritage I or II with. This was really the first modern luxury watch to popularize the mesh metal “Milanese” bracelet, which continues to be one of the options that comes with the Superocean Heritage II. I really wish Breitling could figure out a way to remove the gap between the case and where metal bracelet attaches to the lugs. While I could be wrong, I feel that some type of end-link system might be welcome here – at least for those of us who don’t always like the gaps between the strap/bracelet and the case.

Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews
Generation II
Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews
Generation II

Breitling also offers up at least one leather strap and a couple of rubber strap options for the Superocean Heritage II. One rubber strap mimics the look of the mesh metal. It looks cheesy until you put it on, and then it looks interesting. For me the most important part of choosing the right strap to go with the Superocean Heritage II is in considering your own lifestyle. If you are going to use it more with formal attire, the leather strap is a good choice. If you intend on being more outdoorsy and activity-oriented, then the rubber straps will serve you well. Those looking for the most outward lifestyle statement wanting a timepiece that will call attention should certainly consider the mesh metal steel bracelet – that comes on Breitling’s very nice folding deployant buckle.

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Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews
Generation II

A note on the case size – I keep mentioning that the Superocean Heritage II comes in a 42mm and 46mm-wide size. For 2017 in the Superocean Heritage II the difference between these two models is really just the size as for the most part the rest of the watch is the same. The prices are more or less the same as well. On my smaller wrists, the Superocean Heritage II 42mm is certainly a more “appropriate fit.” Though, I really like the boldness of the 46mm-wide model, even if it is technically too large for my wrist as the lugs extend past my wrist. So strictly speaking the 42mm-wide model is going to be more appropriate for more wrists, but I do encourage those who like larger watch designs to check out the 46mm-wide Superocean Heritage II.

Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews
Generation II

Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Finally we come to the matter of the movements. In reality this is among the least important elements of the watch when it comes to most of the ownership experience – but with watch lovers the movement does play a large role in making a purchase decision. The outgoing Breitling Superocean Heritage watches made use of Swiss ETA 2892-2 automatic movements for the three-hand models, and ETA Valjoux 7750 automatic chronograph movements for the chronograph models. The 7750 is still used for the Superocean Heritage II Chronograph – just as it was in the original Superocean Heritage Chronograph. What is different is the movement used in both the 42mm-wide and 46mm-wide Superocean Heritage II.

Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews
Generation II

For 2017 Tudor and Breitling engaged in the uncommon practice of being suppliers for one another. The move is actually smart, as it both reinforces the actual cooperative nature of the Swiss watch industry (which brands these days often like to ignore) and cross-promotes the brands to different audiences. More practically, Tudor and Breitling both have movement manufacturing facilities that in today’s slower sales environments are being under-utilized. By acting as suppliers for one another, they are able to make more efficient use of factory time (less down time), and also don’t have to produce new things which add to factory costs.

Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews
The Tudor Black Bay Chronograph with a Breitling B01 chronograph movement
Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews
Manufacture Caliber B20

For 2017, Breitling will supply Tudor with B01 chronograph movements – which are later modified by Tudor – to live in the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Chronograph. Tudor will supply its caliber MT5612 automatic movements that Breitling re-brands as the caliber B20 for the three-hand Superocean Heritage II. The MT5612 is arguably a decent upgrade over the otherwise stable ETA 2892. The MT5612 operates at 4Hz (28,800 bph) – the same at the ETA – but has a lower power reserve of 70 hours. More so, it uses a silicon balance spring and has some enhanced ability for micro-adjustment by a watchmaker. Both the ETA and Tudor-movement equipped versions of the Breitling Superocean Heritage are COSC Chronometer certified.

Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews
Generation II
Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews
Generation II

While the Breitling Superocean Heritage II is doubtlessly a well-made watch, depending on where you are coming from you’ll see it as expensive or a bargain. Those accustomed to spending around $10,000 on watches will see the $4,000 – $6,000 price of the Superocean Heritage II as refreshing. Those more accustomed to mechanical steel sports watches in the $1,000 – $3,000 range might get a little sticker shock. Breitling only modestly increased the price of the Superocean Heritage II watches for 2017.

Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews
Manufacture Caliber B20

Is it an accident that both the Breitling watches and the Tudor ones that exchange movements have “Heritage” in the name? I chuckle when thinking about the branding discussions the brands had when deciding if all of this was a good idea. The brands aren’t exactly hiding the fact that they are now working together, but they also aren’t prominently discussing the fact either. They make the fact clear, but they really hide advertising that fact. I think more brands should participate in “skill exchanges” like this. This is one very good answer to the issue that many watch factories in Switzerland have to deal with, under-capacity – in that they serve the parts and manufacturing needs of other brands. This already happens quite a bit, but it is way too secretive and small for its own good. A healthy watch industry in 2020 will have more relationships like that which Tudor and Breitling are engaged in now in 2017 (which clearly started no later than early 2016). So consider these brands a little bit ahead of the curve when it comes to doing business in a modern luxury watch market environment.

Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews
Generation II
Breitling Superocean Heritage Generation I Versus II Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews
Generation II

As retro-style diving sports watches the Breitling Superocean Heritage I and II are not without loads of competition from many good watch brands. Of course, one obvious competitor is the Tudor Heritage Black Bay. The watches now more or less share a movement, and they are meant to evoke similar themes. With that said, despite all that the Tudor Heritage Black Bay and Breitling Superocean Heritage II have in common, they still seem to appeal to very distinct audiences or at least moods. It is interesting how design and branding can play such a large role in who wears a watch and why. I continue to really like the Superocean Heritage II and welcome the updates Breitling has given the 2017 models. While only time can tell if I will like the new hands as much as the old hands, I think Breitling managed to keep a good thing going, while effectively modernizing the offering.

The Breitling Superocean Heritage II in 42mm or 46mm (same price for each case size) is priced at $4,075 on a rubber Aero Classic strap, $4,375 on the Ocean Racer strap, $4,500 on a leather (or “leather rubber”) strap, and $4,700 on the steel bracelet. breitling.com

Necessary Data
>Brand: Breitling
>Model: Superocean Heritage Generation I & II
>Price: $4,075 – $4,700.
>Size: 42mm or 46mm wide.
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Lover of masculine watches wanting to combine a bold design with a vintage elegance in a high-end steel sports watch.
>Best characteristic of watch: Mostly beautiful design with relatively clean lines and a focus on legibility. Among the most timeless watches produced by Breitling. 2017 Superocean Heritage II models include a much-needed ceramic bezel.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Arguably expensive. Hands on 2017 Superocean Heritage II models will not suit all tastes.

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What do you think?
  • I want it! (25)
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