At some point the question “Where do you dive?” became just as important as those other jet-set litmus tests: “Where do you ski?” (Correct answer: St Moritz) and “Where do you summer?” (Correct answer: St Tropez. Or the Hamptons, when we’re visiting Bobby.) Scuba diving, long the preserve of Jacques Cousteau and his pals, had now become a string for society types to add to their gilded bows.
This new plunging class was spread far and thick — St Barths, the Balearics, Greece. But they were united by the need for a good-looking yet reliable timepiece. Breitling’s Superocean, launched in 1957 for professional divers, soon found a fan club in the amateur scuba set of the 1960s and 1970s and has remained a handsome favourite ever since.
Perhaps that’s why, on its 60th birthday in 2017, Breitling reinvigorated the line for a new generation. The central innovation was built out of both practicality and optics. Breitling has brought in an eye-catching new stainless steel bezel with an incredibly tough ceramic ring that’s both scratch-proof and shock-resistant. Then there’s those idiosyncratic hands, a happy hangover from the Superocean’s mid-century youth. They also make it legible in the depths, helped, as you’d hope, by Breitling’s punchy luminescent markers.
Our favourite is the Superocean Héritage II B01 Chronograph 44. It’s decked out with the Breitling Manufacture Calibre 01 (one of the world’s most reliable mechanical watch movements) which is spied through a transparent sapphire caseback. It also holds a chunky power reserve of 70-plus hours. We like the deep blue dial, with its subtle intertwining of the rugged and the elegant, not to mention its three handsome panda subdials.
Discover more of our favourite dive watches.
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