MECHANICAL WATCHES OF THE YEAR: Breitling Superocean Héritage II 42

Breitling Superocean Héritage II 42

 Breitling first launched the Superocean professional diver’s watch in 1957, and used the 60th anniversary this year to bring a modern interpretation to the old classic.

The days of divers relying on the ingenuity and precision engineering of Swiss mechanical watchmakers to keep them alive in the deep may be over, but the expertise has never been more in demand in a world dominated by digital precision.

Side-by-side the 1957 and 2017 are remarkably similar, but on closer inspection you see how the combination of a new steel and ceramic bezel, offered in black, blue or bronze, work a little more seamlessly with the identically coloured watch faces. The dial has more detail with seconds shown at the quarter hours, and there is also an additional date aperture at 6 o’clock. The depth to which the watch will keep working, 200m below sea level, is also shown on the face.

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There are three configurations of the 2017 Superocean Héritage II: 42mm, 46mm and 46 mm chronograph. The movement is a modified Tudor Caliber MT5612 self-winding unit — given to Breitling as part of a development partnership that sees the two watchmakers pooling expertise and production of certain mechanical movements.

The collaboration is a smart move in today’s uncertain market, and may explain the keen price of the Superocean Héritage II, which is selling for between £3490 and £4620 for the chronograph.

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Emma Calder

The author Emma Calder