As part of the “Land, Sea, Air” mission statement ushered in by second-year CEO Georges Kern, pilots-watch specialist Breitling expanded its historically inspired divers’ watch collection, the Superocean Heritage II, with the addition of chronograph models in 2018. The most noteworthy of these, unveiled at the Breitling Summit in London back in October, is a collaboration between Breitling and sustainable clothing brand Outerknown, co-founded by surfing legend (and, as part of its “Surfers’ Squad,” Breitling ambassador), Kelly Slater. What sets the new Breitling Superocean Heritage II Chronograph 44 apart from its peers? Read on.
The watch itself is not dissimilar from others in the Heritage II Chronograph family, with a 44-mm-diameter case in DLC-coated stainless steel and a unidirectional ratcheting bezel, made of scratch-proof, shock-resistant ceramic, to record dive times. Protected under a convex, doubly nonreflective coated sapphire crystal is the tricompax dial with the 12-9-6 subdial arrangement typical of Breitling chronographs outfitted with the Caliber 13 movement — here executed in sunburst blue with white accents and a matte gray vintage-style “Superocean” logo directly below the day-date window at 3 o’clock, itself directly below a historical Breitling “B” with a nickel-plated finish. Blue-light-emitting Super-LumiNova coats the hour and minute hands and the orientation dot at 12 o’clock on the bezel.
The first visual cue that this version of the watch is a special edition is the Outerknown “OK” engraving on the solid steel caseback, under which ticks the self-winding Breitling Caliber 13, built on an outsourced ETA 7750 base movement and featuring a COSC chronometer certification, an integrated chronograph function, a 28,800-vph frequency, and a 42-hour power reserve. The screw-locked crown and caseback help to ensure the Superocean’s professional-grade water resistance to 200 meters, or 660 feet.
However, the element that truly sets this model apart, and gives it its name, is the blue taffeta-colored NATO-style strap, woven from ECONYL yarn, a material produced from recycled nylon waste — one of the notable sources of which is discarded fishing nets from oceans around the world. ECONYL is used in clothing produced by Slater’s Outerknown brand, and the pattern used for the strap is based on the fabrics used for the clothing. The addition of this strap — which Kern indicates will likely be used on other Breitling watch models in the future — makes the Superocean Heritage II Chronograph 44 Outerknown the first Breitling watch with a strap made from recycled material, and gives it a connection to the sea that is far more than aesthetic.
“As strange as it sounds, the beach is, in effect, my office,” says Slater, a longtime advocate for fighting polluted oceans and beaches, who co-founded Outerknown partly as a means of working with the Ocean Conservancy to raise awareness of, and motivate others to address, the problems of marine waste. “I am confronted with pollution on a daily basis. I will do whatever I can to help keep the world’s beaches and oceans clean and I’m thrilled that with the Superocean Heritage II Chronograph 44 Outerknown model, Breitling is helping raise awareness of the problem and showing how individuals can help.”
The Breitling Superocean Heritage II Chronograph 44 Outerknown is priced at $7,100 and comes packaged in a color-coordinated carrying container made from recyclable materials.