I bought my SuperOcean Heritage Chronograph (SOHC) “Green” Edition on a bit of a whim. I had a watch to trade and simply went in to my local ADs to see what I could trade for. The SOHC immediately jumped out at me. I knew this was a rare opportunity to own something truly special.
I have always admired the SOH models ever since the announcement of the re-introduction back in 2007. I wanted the three handed version straight away and thought the mesh bracelet was gorgeous. Unfortunately, I was not in a position to scratch this horological itch at the time.
For those that are not aware the “Heritage” part of the title refers to the fact that the SuperOcean was originally released in 1957.
This was Breitling’s answer to the need for a high level water resistant watch for the quickly growing recreational diver’s market. The original SuperOcean was water resistant to 660 feet, which was very impressive for it’s day.
The new model carries over a lot of the virtues and design features of the original whilst bringing it up to date. This is why I love this type of re-release popular amongst watch brands at present. You can wallow in the nostalgic design of the original with up to date components and manufacturing. There are simple aesthetic touches that hint to it’s 40 year old ancestry. The gold applied B is a very nice touch. Plus the font used for “BREITLING” on the dial is an exact copy of the original. The attention to detail throughout is truly superb.
The above picture also highlights the applied markers. These are meticulously finished, as you would expect from Breitling, but personally I would have preferred them to be styled like the originals.
The hands of the new SOHC are a nice homage to the originals and are now perfectly polished to give a brilliant contrast against the matt black dial. In fact, I have read that some regard this dial as too busy. This is a subjective opinion but what cannot be denied is that the SOHC conveys a lot of information which is very easy to read. Again, my only criticism is that I would have preferred the two segment arrow head design of the original hour hand. The red tip of the chronograph hands is the only dash of colour on this otherwise monochromatic dial:
The SuperOcean Heritage Chronograph “Green” Edition, to give it it’s full nomenclature, is limited to only 1000 pieces. An exclusive ownership club indeed.
This version is distinguished from the standard SOHC by the wonderful British Racing Green Bezel. This is a subtle green, unlike other well known dive watches. In fact in low light it can look like the standard black. However, in most light conditions the wearer is rewarded with the nicest green bezel on the market.
The bezel is edged by a high frequency shallow tooth finish. This makes for easy handling of the bezel and gives it a very unique look which sits comfortably with the rest of the watches classic design features. For a watch with diving aspirations I would have liked to have seen the more useful single minute increments on the bezel between the arrow head and the 15 minute position, which is fairly standard for a dive watch these days. However, the original SOH did not have these markers so I can understand the decision to stay loyal to the 1960’s design.
The chronograph buttons and the crown are, yet again, beautifully finished copies of the originals:
Another wonderful re-issue was the mesh bracelet. I love mesh bracelets. They are being slowly and steadily incorporated into new watch designs by a lot of the brands that make dive watches. However, a few years ago they were very rare to see on new models. So, when I saw the new SuperOcean Heritage on one I thought it was simply perfect. The attraction for me isn’t just for the aesthetics either. This bracelet is the most comfortable that I have worn. Which is a great testimony, given that the new SOHC is 46mm in diameter, is 16.4mm thick and weighs 147.4 grams.
The bracelet is fastened using a very solid looking and feeling clasp, which has been polished to a wonderful lustre. The only downside to this is that it is an absolute magnet for surface scratches and swirlies. However, I have found that a gentle application of PolyWatch returns it to it’s mirror like finish.
Once things get dark the wearer can enjoy this wonderfully bright and long lasting lume:
To summarise, this is a wonderful tribute to a classic tool watch. It is that rare timepiece that can be easily worn in the most casual or dressed up situations. As with all Breitlings the quality of the fit and finish is exemplorary and the myriad of wonderfully thought out design elements contribute to a magnificent whole. The SOHC “Green” edition gives the owner that little bit of exclusivity. I totally acknowledge that the green bezel adds no functionality to the standard model. However, it does magnify the total indulgence of owning and wearing something that is truly special. Whether or not you like the “Green” bezel is always going to personal taste but I personally think it adds, rather than detracts, from the unique style of this classically designed utilitarian timepiece.
One final comment should be reserved for the accuracy of this timepiece. It is widely known that Breitling are the only manufacturer to submit all of their movements to the COSC before assembly. This alone should give any potential purchaser great peace of mind and should be considered a reflection of Breitling’s aspirations to create high end functional timepieces to the best of their abilities. Just recently I had my SOHC checked by an official Breitling technician at a Breitling hospitality event. In all positions it gave results no greater than 1 second gain per day. I wasn’t particularly surprised. It was simply further vindication of a great purchasing whim.
All words and pictures by Richard Atkins (unless otherwise stated). No reproduction of this article in part or whole is permitted unless authorised by the author.