When thinking about Breitling, aviation immediately comes to mind – and not only because of the wings in its logo. Even before releasing the Navitimer in the early 1950s, the company had offered essential navigation tools to pilots, and was used in places such as the cockpits of the British RAF. On another hand though, Breitling’s contribution to diving watches is often forgotten, and unfairly so. But by looking deeply at the detailed history of the reliable fake Breitling SuperOcean, a pioneering line of watches which introduced no less than the first known reverse panda dial chronograph and a fascinating “slow counter” mechanism, someone is looking to right this wrong.
The two first references of the SuperOcean are now auction highlights, with one reference 807 fetching 65,000 CHF at the thematic auction Start-Stop-Reset from Phillips (more than twice its high estimate). Launched in 1957, the SuperOcean extended Breitling’s reach beyond the skies, matching the blossoming demand for diving watches that had led Blancpain and Rolex to create the Fifty Fathoms and the Submariner just a few years before. Their current success can also be explained by their unique look that neither my friend Phil nor I can resist. After all, try to find the same long and pointy indexes on any accurate replica watch other than the SuperOcean, which was incidentally the first chronograph to ever offer a reverse panda dial.
As a Frenchman, there is another thing I truly love about vintage popular Breitling copy watches sales: they sometimes come with a second signature from one of their French retailers from the time, either Uti or Lip. This is the case for the SuperOcean presented in detail in the article found here; to be fair, even with a basic dial, the reference 2005 is a pretty amazing watch. Launched in the 1960s, the ref. 2005 went for a less extreme look than its predecessors, and offered a degree of legibility than many other chronographs would envy. Yes, despite appearances, it is actually a chronograph, with a single minute hand to measure the duration of a dive – since seconds are not crucial to figure out your air reserve underwater, there is no seconds counter.
The genius of this watch boils down to its indicator at six o’clock, which shows whether the chronograph is engaged or not. You get a yellow dot when the chronograph is on, and a black one when it is inactive. High-end replica Breitling heavily modified the Venus 188 movement so that it would offer this “slow counter” and only measure the elapsed minutes in the clearest way possible for its users, for which it was a matter of life and death.