Breitling has not taken a backwards step during the global Coronavirus Pandemic.
Yes, it had to close it production facilities (now 50% re-opened) and distribution ground to a halt, but the brand has stuck with its programme of launching limited editions, full collections and, this week, a fresh “capsule collection” of Superocean Heritage 57 models.
The core collection in blue, black and gold is an evolution of the Superocean Heritage line, with subtle changes designed to appeal to the watch’s existing fans.
But there was a much more radical approach to the Superocean Heritage 57, which Breitling CEO Georges Kern describes as a capsule collection; a term common in fashion for lines with lower production runs and shorter shelf lives.
“The difference between capsule collection and limited edition is that it is a little wider. There are more pieces and they live for around six months. We do not want to overwhelm our core collections,” Mr Kern explained.
The capsule collection is something else entirely, with brightly-coloured hour makers and striking fabric straps.
Bloggers immediately called them Rainbow dials.
In an Instagram Live conversation this week with The Watches of Switzerland Group CEO Brian Duffy, Mr Kern said he had been shocked by the positive reaction to the rainbow watches when they were launched online.
“The biggest surprise has been the Rainbow. I love it but it is so special it might have been too segmented. We sold everything within a few hours,” he revealed.
Its radical style could become a completely new platform for Breitling, and a new edition of the Superocean Heritage 57 could be made to support front line healthcare workers.
It was only after the watch’s launch that Mr Kern started hearing that the rainbow has become a symbol of support for NHS workers in the UK, which got him thinking that a Rainbow for healthcare workers would work.
“We are considering doing a second model with a blue colourway. We might think of making a model in that colour to support medical staff doing an amazing job in the UK and elsewhere,” Mr Kern said.