In 2017, Breitling introduced a very well received Superocean collection, which was based on a design originally released in 1957. The big news for the collection, other than the attractive redesign, was the movement found in the time-and-date model: caliber B20, a version of the Tudor caliber MT5612 which was provided to Breitling in exchange for Breitling Superocean Heritage II B01 Chronograph 44 movement (in the version used by Tudor, caliber MT5813). The Superocean Heritage II Chronograph from last year was powered by an ETA/Valjoux 7750. This year, however, the Superocean Heritage II comes with a major upgrade: the caliber Breitling 01.
If you’re a dyed-in-the-wool movement aficionado, this is pretty big news. There is, of course, not a damned thing wrong with the 7750. Designed by the legendary Edmond Capt in 1973, it was a tough, reliable runner right out of the gate – what they call a tracteur in Switzerland – and in the subsequent 45 years, has proven to be one of the most durable chronograph movements of all time.
That said, the basic design of the 7750 very much reflects its era, and the 01 is a thoroughly modern movement. Caliber B01 was the result of a five-year development process, during the course of which Breitling R&D took a long, careful look at the technically best-of-class chronograph movements out there, and when it was released in 2009 as the B01 (now updated to Breitling 01), it was widely regarded as a major technical win for Breitling.
The Breitling Superocean Heritage II B01 Chronograph 44 has a whole host of features to recommend it. There’s a 70 hour power reserve; it’s a column-wheel controlled, vertical clutch chronograph, with a patented system for auto-centering the reset-to zero hammers. The whole movement has been designed to be easy to service, and with hundreds of thousands in the feel, it’s proven itself in the environment that matters most: in daily use on the wrist. The use of the in-house Breitling 01 caliber in the Superocean II comes with a bit of an uptick in cost; sometimes that sort of thing is justified by invoking the nebulous notion of exclusivity but here, you’re getting a higher grade movement (at least, by the standards by which chronograph movements are usually judged). We have black, silver, and blue dials to choose from at launch and though the 44mm diameter won’t be for everyone, it’s a reasonable diameter for an ISO 6425-compliant chronograph diver’s watch.
Last year Breitling Superocean Heritage II B01 Chronograph 44 took a fresh look at their Superocean Heritage lineup upgrading the bezel with a ceramic insert, eliminating the metal ring around the minutes circle, and refreshing the handset design. This year, however, for Baselworld 2018 Breitling introduced the Breitling Superocean Heritage II B01 Chronograph 44, this time incorporating Breitling’s in-house B01 movement. The watch is available in three dial choices; black, blue, and silver. It boasts an impressive 70-hour power reserve and contrasting panda dials for the minute and hour counters as well as the ticking seconds.