Review of “Super Ocean Automatic 42”, a versatile model that recreates the brand’s DNA in a modern way | Chronos Japanese Edition, a luxury watch magazine[webChronos]

Review of the new Breitling Superocean Automatic 42. This product is a 300m waterproof diver’s watch that inherits the “Superocean Slow Motion” design of the 1960s. Contrary to its unique design, this product, solidly and honestly made, was a deep symbol of the new Breitling.

Tsubasa Nojima: Articles and photos
Text and Photos by Tsubasa Nojima
The article was published on October 4, 2022

Breitling under a new system, renew the collection one after another

Breitling revamped its management system in 2017 and welcomed IWC CEO Georges Kern to the top. Since then, the company has recreated its product categories and expanded its collection accordingly.

The “Superocean Automatic 42” was reviewed this time. It is a model that follows the design of the “Super Ocean Slow Motion” that appeared in the 1960s. Although it features a unique design, it is extremely waterproof and easy to handle, making it a versatile model that can be worn in any scene. Equipped with a movement that has acquired a COSC certified chronometer, it has excellent accuracy.

In particular, the collection is divided into air, sea, land and professional categories, and each concept is explained. And for each category, we set a policy to have variations from elegant models to full sports watches.

In 2018, we immediately announced the “Navitimer 8”, which eliminated the rotary slide rule, the “Navitimer” with three hands, and the new “Premier” collection, and in 2020, it will remind from the 1984 model, the classic “Chronomat” was added. It has also just been recalled that the standard “Navitimer” with a chronograph has been updated in 2022.

These are just a few of them, but what many of the new collections have in common is that they are inspired by archive pieces spun out of Breitling’s long history. And the “Superocean Automatic 42” reviewed this time is no exception.

New “Superocean” inherits the design of the 1960s

Breitling’s diver’s watch collection, the “Superocean”, falls under the “ocean” category. The current “Superocean” is large, with a rubber molded bezel and a water resistance of 500m, the “Suerocean Automatic” and another new “Superocean Automatic” from 2022, which will be reviewed this time. The “Superocean Heritage” and the “Superocean Heritage ’57” with a screw-down crown and a bi-directional rotating bezel are available.

Moreover, there are variations in size, colouring, materials, etc., but when lined up in this way, the same category covers everything from full diver’s watches for professional use to elegant diver style models that I understand.

Superocean Automatic 42

Breitling “Superocean automatic 42”
Self-winding (Cal.B17). 26 stones. 28,800 vibrations per hour. Power reserve about 38 hours. SS (diameter 42mm, thickness 12.5mm). 300m water resistant. 572,000 yen (tax included).

The subject of the review “Superocean Automatic 42” follows the “Superocean Slow Motion” design published in the 1960s. The original is a chronograph diver’s watch with a 60-minute counter in the middle. The main design features are the large square pointer attached to the minute counter hand and the small scale with black printing on a white background.

Not only does it have a chronograph as an essential function for measuring elapsed time in a diver’s watch, but it also has a minute counter in the middle to improve visibility underwater. Admittedly, many chronographs have a 30-minute totalizer subdial, so when it points to 15, it’s hard to tell right away if it’s 15 minutes or 45 minutes. And above all, the internal dial makes the hands and the scale itself smaller. The name “slow movement” derives from the way the minute counter hand rotates slowly over 60 minutes, and was probably named because it was unique even at the time.

However, the current “Superocean Automatic 42” model is a three-hand model without a chronograph mechanism. Therefore, the typical square pointer for the minute hand is used for the time display. The wide minute scale also inherits the original design. A sleek case with ceramic bezel guard and crown give it a modern look, but the DNA of Breitling’s heritage pieces is in the details.

Luxurious details shine in the compact exterior

Now let’s move on to the review. The first thing I thought when I picked up this product was that it felt smaller than the case diameter of 42mm. One reason for this is that the length from the top tip of the lug to the bottom tip (the so-called vertical length of the case) is 47.7mm, which is relatively short.

As a reference, the 500m waterproof “Super Ocean Automatic 42” that has been in the line for a long time has a length of 50.6mm, which is a difference of about 3mm. Additionally, the wide flange that doubles as a minute scale makes the dial itself look smaller, which probably contributes to its compact appearance. Sports watches are generally designed to keep enough clearance between hands to prevent them from interfering with each other and stopping operation when subjected to impact. The characteristic mortar-shaped flange also has the effect of making the clearance look smaller, giving the entire watch a sense of focus.

Superocean Automatic 42 Dial

A wide flange eliminates the distance between the dial and the windshield. The three-dimensional index coated with Super-LumiNova shines in the light and exhibits excellent visibility regardless of day or night. The numbers on the ceramic bezel are deeply engraved and make a sharp impression.

Even when viewed from the side, the impression of compactness does not change. By distributing the volume to the bezel and center case in a balanced manner, we have created a design that does not feel bulky. However, given that it is a diver’s watch with a water resistance of 300m, the case thickness of 12.5mm is not thick at all in terms of number.

The finish of the case is based on satin and the edges are glossy. This technique is often used to give practical watches a three-dimensional effect. The way the chamfer connects to the crown guard, along with the slim lugs, makes it even feel elegant.

The dial is a glossy black colour. Surrounding it are 12 square indexes, generously coated with Super-LumiNova. The 3, 6, and 9 o’clock indices are slightly longer, and the 12 o’clock index is trapezoidal, so you won’t have to worry about misreading it even in the dark.

Additionally, this work is an undated specification. Whether or not there is a date is a matter of personal preference, but in addition to the symmetrical design, it is easy to use as soon as you set the time even when the watch is stopped. . In particular, the Cal.B 17 to be installed has a power reserve of around 38 hours. A few years ago, the length could be said to be standard, but these days, when the wave of long power reserves has reached the low price range, it must be said that it is relatively short. If you use it every day, there will be no problem, but for collectors who use multiple watches, the non-date, which is less troublesome to start using, is a welcome point.

The unidirectional rotating bezel is fitted with a ceramic insert. The numbers and markers on the bezel are deeply engraved. This gives a three dimensional look and enhances the appearance of luxury. Of course, the material’s excellent scratch resistance and weather resistance are also practical advantages. This bezel can be finely set with 120 clicks per rotation. The actual turning feel is very light, and you can match it exactly where you aim.

The strap is made of rubber. Both sides have a fabric-like pattern, and the width of the lug is 22mm, while the side of the clasp is narrowed to 18mm, giving it a clean impression. A folding clasp is attached, and the strap itself is physically cut to fit around the user’s arm before being attached to the clasp. The cut part cannot be returned, but the length can be fine-tuned after cutting by using the clasp mechanism.

breitling clasp

The rubber strap has a one-push type tri-fold clasp. The carefully beveled push buttons show consideration for the user. Polished central area with logo. There is a concern that small scratches will become more noticeable during use, but it is also one of the details that makes this product look elegant.

The clasp is a single-push triple-fold type. Many sports watches have a double locking mechanism on the clasp, but this one does not. With the fixed type, the clasp may open when you bend your wrist due to deterioration over time, but with the push type, it is unlikely to open naturally. The emphasis seems to have been placed on ease of donning and removal rather than double locking security.

The fine adjustment mechanism is hidden inside the clasp. By pulling or pushing the strap while pressing the grooved lever, the length can be adjusted up to 15mm. With this adjustment range, there is a high possibility that a recovery will work even if your body shape or physical condition changes, or if you break the strap too much. However, when it comes to cutting the strap, it is safest to ask a professional at the store.

Also, when I look at the strap, I notice that the gap between the strap and the case has been reduced. To be precise, the strap is released by making the middle case slightly recessed. It’s a small part, but it’s an important detail to give a sense of tension to the whole. Even with a narrow gap, the strap can be moved smoothly due to the high processing precision.

Superocean Automatic 42 Bow Can

The gap between the case and the rubber strap is quite tight. There are brands and models that use a rubber strap that is integrally molded into an arc ring shape, but when it comes to the strap’s range of motion, the straight type strap is the winner.

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