SuperOcean: Breitling's Underwater Watch
The SuperOcean diving watch has been part of Breitling's catalog for over 60 years. With water resistance to 2,000 m (6,562 ft), a helium escape valve, and chronometer-certified precision, these pieces appeal to divers of all levels.
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A Professional Diving Watch Since 1957
In 1957, Breitling introduced their first diving watch: the SuperOcean. Since then, it has evolved into a comprehensive collection and an integral part of the Swiss manufacturer's catalog.
One of the key features of any diving watch is its water resistance, and it is here that the SuperOcean excels. Top models like the SuperOcean Automatic 46 boast depth ratings of 200 bar, which is equal to the amount of pressure experienced 2,000 m (or 6,562 ft) below the waves. While other editions are "only" water-resistant to 300 m (30 bar, 984 ft), they make up for it with an inner soft iron case that protects the movement from magnetic fields. Breitling also produces timepieces with automatic helium escape valves for professional saturation divers. Regardless of which model you choose, it will come with a diving bezel and large luminous hands and indices.
The SuperOcean is available with a stainless steel or titanium case, some of which have a black PVD coating. The collection contains plenty of options for men and women alike. The smallest edition measures 36 mm in diameter, while the largest version clocks in at a massive 48 mm across.
Most SuperOceans get their power from automatic calibers based on movements from ETA, all of which have been chronometer-certified since 1999. However, some older models use quartz calibers. The collection has exclusively featured three-hand watches for several years now after a long run of chronographs. Fans looking for a stopwatch function in a current watch should take a closer look at the SuperOcean Heritage II and Avenger II collections.
Reasons to Buy a Breitling SuperOcean
- A reliable diving watch in production since 1957
- Ranges in size from 36 to 48 mm
- Water-resistance ranging from 200 m (20 bar, 656 ft) to 2,000 m (200 bar, 6,562 ft)
- Since 1999: Only COSC-certified calibers
- Chronograph M2000: Stopwatch functions underwater
Prices at a Glance: Breitling SuperOcean
|Model, reference number||Price (approx.)||Water resistance, size|
|SuperOcean, 2005||15,500 USD||200 m (20 bar, 656 ft), 42 mm|
|SuperOcean Chrono-Matic, 2105||8,500 USD||100 m (10 bar, 328 ft), 48 mm|
|SuperOcean Automatic 48, V17369161C1S1||5,000 USD||300 m (30 bar, 984 ft), 48 mm|
|SuperOcean M2000, A73310||4,400 USD||2,000 m (200 bar, 6,562 ft), 46 mm|
|SuperOcean II 44, A17392D7||3,900 USD||1,000 m (100 bar, 3,281 ft), 44 mm|
|SuperOcean Chronograph, A13340||3,300 USD||500 m (50 bar, 1,640 ft), 42 mm|
|SuperOcean Steelfish, A17390||2,900 USD||2,000 m (200 bar, 6,562 ft), 44 mm|
|SuperOcean Automatic 36, A17316D81C1S1||2,900 USD||200 m (20 bar, 656 ft), 36 mm|
|SuperOcean, A17040||1,900 USD||1,000 m (100 bar, 3,281 ft), 42 mm|
How much does a Breitling SuperOcean cost?
Thanks to its long history, the market for SuperOcean watches is vast – as are its prices. Three-hand timepieces from the 1980s and 90s are the most affordable and sell for as little as 1,900 USD. Watches from the early 2000s, such as the SuperOcean Steelfish, change hands for roughly 2,400 USD. If you're looking for a more recent SuperOcean, you can expect prices between 2,700 and 5,300 USD. Vintage models occupy the top of the price range. Those from the 1950s are especially rare and cost anywhere from 18,000 to 24,500 USD. Watches from the 1960s and 70s are more common but still demand between 12,000 and 15,000 USD.
Coveted Collector's Items: Vintage SuperOceans
Vintage SuperOcean models like the three-hand ref. 1004 and ref. 807 chronograph from the 1950s stand out with their distinctive aesthetic. Inward sloping bezels and thin 39-mm cases set these pieces apart from any of their competitors. Due to their rarity, examples in good condition regularly sell for between 18,000 and 24,500 USD.
Chronographs from the 60s, such as the ref. 2005 and ref. 2105, are somewhat more affordable. You can find these watches on Chrono24 for 15,500 and 8,500 USD, respectively. Both are unique in their own right. For example, the SuperOcean 2005 has a so-called "slow-motion" function that sees the central chronograph hand complete one full rotation per hour instead of every minute. This is especially useful for divers who need to track their dive times to the exact minute. Since there is no running seconds to tell you the chronograph is active, this model comes with a special indicator at 6 o'clock that serves that purpose. Black means the stopwatch is inactive, yellow indicates it's running, and black with a yellow dot signifies that it has been paused. Then there's the SuperOcean 2105, which features the famous Chrono-Matic caliber, one of the world's first automatic chronograph movements. Released in 1969, this caliber is the result of a cooperation between Breitling, Heuer, Hamilton, Büren, and Dubois Dépraz. Thus, you will also find it powering iconic timepieces like the Heuer Monaco and Carrera. Perhaps this timepiece's most notable detail is the orientation of its crown and push-pieces: The crown sits on the case's left at 9 o'clock opposite the push-pieces at 2 and 4. One of the ref. 2105's other characteristic features is a bright orange hand that stands out against the black and white dial.
Bezel Rider Tabs for a Better Grip
If you're not set on purchasing a vintage watch, collections from the early 1990s offer some exciting and affordable alternatives. These include models like the ref. A17040 with four prominent bezel rider tabs. These small protrusions at 3, 6, 9, and 12 o'clock make the bezel especially easy to grip. However, it's not just the rider tabs that make timepieces from this era special. Unlike most other watches, several small screws attach the bezel to the case, so it will never accidentally detach. These 42-mm diving watches are water-resistant to 1,000 m (100 bar, 3,281 ft) and feature the automatic caliber B17, which is a modified version of the ETA 2824-2. You can choose from versions with a black, blue, or bright orange dial. Prices depend on the exact model and its condition and fall between 1,800 and 2,500 USD.
Another option is the quartz-powered SuperOcean Deep Sea 81190. Instead of rider tabs, this watch features four screws that protrude slightly from the case. The dial design is also different, with wide arrow-shaped hour markers pointing toward the center at 6, 9, and 12 o'clock. Furthermore, Breitling pairs this timepiece with an integrated band. Like the previous model, the Deep Sea 81190 is water-resistant to 1,000 m (100 bar, 3,281 ft). However, it demands a slightly higher price tag of 2,800 USD.
Diving to 1,500 m With the Steelfish
In 2005, Breitling presented the SuperOcean Steelfish with the reference number A17360. The Steelfish sets itself apart from the rest of the series in two ways: It has a tidier dial and an improved water resistance of 1,500 m (150 bar, 4,921 ft). The Steelfish X-Plus (ref. A17390) followed only a year later. Its larger, 44-mm case can survive depths to 2,000 m (200 bar, 6,561 ft).
Expect to pay around 2,400 USD for a never-worn, 42-mm Steelfish. The larger X-Plus model will set you back about 2,900 USD.
The SuperOcean Since 2011
The SuperOcean 44 (ref. A17391) and SuperOcean 42 (ref. A17364) debuted in 2011 and are technologically identical to their predecessors. Their looks, however, are not. The dial has an updated design, and the bezel features Breitling's first use of molded rubber inserts. What's more, the small model has a contrasting red, blue, yellow, white, or orange ring running around the edge of its black dial. The only splash of color on the 44-mm edition comes from its yellow seconds hand. Prices for these timepieces float between 2,600 and 3,400 USD, depending on their condition.
Breitling launched the SuperOcean II in 2015. It is available in three sizes: 36, 42, and 44 mm. The three-hand watch gets its power from the caliber B17. This movement is based on the ETA 2824-2 and comes with a date display at 3 o'clock. As with the previous models, these watches have molded rubber bezel inserts. In addition to the size, you can choose from versions with a blue, black, or white dial and bezel, as well as timepieces on a stainless steel bracelet or rubber strap.
Plan to spend around 3,900 USD on a SuperOcean II 44 ref. A17392D7 with water resistance to 1,000 m (100 bar, 3,281 ft). The 42-mm version is water-resistant to 500 m (50 bar, 1,640 ft) and costs about 2,700 USD. The smallest variant has a 36-mm case that is water resistant to 200 m (20 bar, 656 ft). This model retails for roughly 2,400 USD.
The SuperOcean II received an update in 2019 and now goes by the name SuperOcean Automatic. The main changes are purely cosmetic and are most prominent on the dial. For example, large Arabic numerals at 6, 9, and 12 o'clock dominate the dial, while bar indices mark the other hours. Breitling has also added more color options to the series. The 36-mm watch is now available in an all-white edition. Then there's the SuperOcean Automatic 48, a completely new addition to the collection. Its 48-mm titanium case is water-resistant to 300 m (30 bar, 984 ft). The most obvious differences between this giant and its smaller counterparts are the lack of numerals on its dial and the locking mechanism on the left side of its case. This mechanism holds the bidirectional rotatable bezel in place so you can't adjust it accidentally.
Prices for a SuperOcean Automatic start around 3,000 USD for a smaller model and go up to about 5,300 USD for one of the larger timepieces.
The SuperOcean Chronograph
Until 2016, you could also find chronographs in the SuperOcean collection. Despite having a strong outward resemblance to the current standard editions, their technology is nothing like that of their sister models. On the one hand, their cases are only water-resistant to 500 m (50 bar, 1,640 ft). On the other, Breitling outfitted them with the Valjoux-7750-based caliber B13. This movement includes three subdials with an hour counter at 6, a small seconds at 9, and a minute counter at 12 o'clock. Prices for a SuperOcean Chronograph sit between 2,700 and 4,400 USD, depending on the model and its condition.
With a quartz movement and water resistance to 2,000 m (6,561 ft), the SuperOcean M2000 is the black sheep of the chronograph family. This model is easy to spot by the layout of its subdials. The hour and minute counters sit at 2 and 10 o'clock, respectively, while the small seconds dial has shifted to 6 o'clock. The date display has also moved to between 4 and 5 o'clock. Unlike the mechanical chronographs, the M2000's stopwatch function can be used underwater thanks to a set of patented magnetic push-pieces. Expect to pay anywhere from 3,300 to 4,400 USD for a well-maintained M2000.