Breitling Superocean Heritage B20 Automatic 42 Review

by Chamath Gamage
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See how the Breitling Superocean Heritage stack up against other dive watches!

The year 1957 was an important one in Breitling’s history, as this was when the brand first released the Superocean collection. In fact, the decade of 1950 saw some prestigious brands such as Rolex and Omega release dive watches (Submariner, Seamaster 300), with Breitling following suit in the latter years. Breitling released the Superocean model in two variants; chronograph and non-chronograph. Some of the originals from 1957 are much sought after today by Breitling and watch enthusiasts. 

In celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Superocean, in 2017 Breitling redesigned the Superocean Heritage line and released anniversary editions which come in both chronograph and non-chronograph versions, much like the originals from 1957. Both these editions were made by Breitling to resemble original versions in terms of design, with only the movement update being the significant change in the watches. The watch models came in 42mm and 46mm sizes with the chronograph version available in 46mm. All three size variants came in 3 different dial colour variations; black, blue and brown. 

In 2018, Breitling re-vamped the Superocean Heritage line once again by introducing the chronograph and non-chronograph versions in 44mm, along with a 42mm gold and stainless steel version. The three different sizes (42mm, 44mm, 46mm) offer a whole lot of flexibility to the general public to be able to match almost any wrist size. What we have on our hands today is the Superocean Héritage II B20 Automatic 42 in the blue dial and Ocean Classic stainless-steel bracelet.

The Superocean Héritage II B20 Automatic comes in a 42mm sturdy stainless steel casing which has a screw lock-down crown. This allows the water-resistance of the watch to be roughly 200m. Not overall great for a divers watch, however, will function more than enough for everyday wear and of course the Superoacean range will take you to 500 meters of water resistance ( See our Breitling Superocean review here). The gun blue dial is undoubtedly something that catches your eye, however. The sunburst effect gives the dial some depth and variety while looking very aesthetically pleasing from all angles. 

Breitling has done well to keep all the minute details of the dial the same as the original 1957 Superocean version. The triangular hour hand, lazenge like for minute hand along with the cone-shaped hour markers have all been made to reflect the original Superocean model. Compared to the chronograph version, the Superocean Héritage II B20 Automatic 42 is more easily legible as, without the counters, the dial is less cluttered. If used for underwater exploration, this is ideal due to the easy readability. 

Superluminova has been applied to the hour and minute hands along with eight of the hour markers. While this may seem enough, the only downside is that the hour marker lume is quite small and may not give off the lume required for underwater exploration. For everyday wear, however, the lume visibility shouldn’t be a problem. 

The bezel on the Superocean Héritage II B20 Automatic 42 is a key innovative feature of the watch, and it’s practical as it is stunning to look at. The uni-directional bezel is made fitted with a 120-tooth system which allows easy adjustment regardless of the conditions. The bezel is made of stainless steel and has an ultra-hard high-tech ceramic ring which is exceptionally shock-resistant and scratchproof. Seemless integration between the dial and the bezel is cleverly done by removing the metal ring surrounding the minute circle. There is also a luminescent pip at the 12 o’clock mark for diving visibility. Overall it makes it seem as if the bezel is part of the dial itself. 

The “Ocean Classic” mesh bracelet is iconic to dive watches in Breitling’s collection and has been used once again for the Superocean Héritage II B20 Automatic 42. Most mesh bracelets can be uncomfortable to wear if you have a lot of arm hair, however, with Breitling’s Ocean Classic it isn’t a problem due to the mesh links being spaced very close together. Micro adjusting for the bracelet can also be done via the clasp. While there are different strap options available for the Superocean Héritage II B20 Automatic 42, the Ocean Classic mesh bracelet is easily the best fit as it looks beautiful and has a shine that is equally matched by the casing of the watch. 

Powering the Superocean Héritage II B20 Automatic 42 is the COSC Breitling Manufacture Calibre B20. This robust 4Hz automatic movement has a very modest power reserve of 70 hours. It has to be stated though that this calibre, however, is not an ETA movement nor is it produced in house by Breitling. 

The B20 calibre movement is actually based on Tudor’s Calibre MT5612 movement, bar finishing touches and use of silicon balance spring. In what is almost like a movement exchange program, Breitling has used Tudor’s movement for their B20 calibre, and Tudor uses a variant of Breitling’s B01 movement for their Heritage Black Bay Chronograph. Regardless of the origins of the B20 movement,  its reliable, tough and has enough power reserve to suit almost any condition. 

How does it wear?

The 42mm sits well on a 6.5-inch wrist, making the watch quite comfortable to wear, especially with the mesh bracelet. As we mentioned earlier, the polish from the casing on the bracelet gives off an irresistible shine that’s synonymous with Breitling and their dive watches with the Ocean Bracelet.

The watch can feel a bit bulky (Case thickness of 14.35mm and lug to lug 47.6mm), however, the majority of the Breitling’s dive watches are like that, giving the sense that its more of a tool watch rather than a dress piece. Having said that you can easily wear this around the office and to formal events and because the watch comes in a variety of case sizing this will accommodate all wrist sizes ( almost!). If you are a fan of blue dials, it would be hard to look past this model as the gun-blue sunburst dial gets quite a lot of attention!

Case thickness of 14.35mm and lug to lug 47.6mm

The water resistance for this piece, however, is quite low for dive watches, but that could be more down to Breitling trying to keep it like the original 1957 Superocean. The Superocean Heritage II B20 Automatic 42 certainly packs quite a package for the money spent; coming with a trusted Tudor movement, a robust ceramic bezel, Ocean Classic bracelet, a beautiful sunburst gun blue dial and ties back to Breitling’s original dive watch history. There are certainly other dive watches out there, but not many that would offer this much value for money.  

Breitling Superocean Heritage B20 Automatic 42mm Specification

Model Reference: AB2010161C1A1
Case Diameter: 42mm
Dial: Gun blue sunburst dial
Case: Steel, Blue Ceramic Bezel
Movement: Breitling Calibre B20
Power Reserve: Up to 70 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds and date 
Water Resistance: 20 ATM

Australian pricing : $6,750.00 Aud

This watch was kindly provided by :

Hardy Brothers Brisbane

189 Edward St, Brisbane City QLD 4000

Phone : (07) 3625 8000

www.hardybrothers.com.au

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