This is ‘Time Spent With,’ a brand new series where our Editor-in-Chief, Scarlett Baker, trials the broad scope of the watch world, spending time with a different watch each month, from the unique perspective of a self-confessed watch rookie. This week, discover the story behind the Breitling Superocean Heritage ’57 Pastel Paradise.
I’ve never naturally migrated towards wearing white. Mostly because I’m prone to spilling and secondly because I was not placed on this earth with effective hand-eye coordination. In essence, I am far too clumsy to preserve its neatness, scarred by a crisp white Dolce & Gabbana shirt I was once gifted, which within five minutes somehow collided with the neon orange nail varnish I was painting my fingernails with. I still shudder to this day.
It’s fair to say I was a little skeptical – of my own choice – when I received a delivery at my door containing Breitling’s Superocean Heritage Pastel Paradise watch in that very color. That said, our hands are the tools we use to navigate along the Earth and I wasn’t going to let my ungainly control interfere this time.
The novelty of opening a gift is something that will not cease; a momentary trigger of endorphins washes over as you unzip, tear, and unfold, and euphoria proceeds. Such was the feeling walking into Breitling’s Townhouse on Regent Street to collect my watch. Greeted by a Norton Commando 961 Cafe Racer MK11, or as the uninitiated like myself call it, a very large and impressive motorcycle that my conscience was telling me to get on. Launched merely weeks before the first UK lockdown hit in 2020, the Breitling Townhouse was a real precursor for the timepiece I was about to receive, exuding an informal but sophisticated theme through its loft aesthetic, erected for the brand’s popularity in the UK, the second largest global market.
So it was time, as it were, to see what all of the hype was about. I was slightly surprised to see that Breitling only just debuted its first line of Chronomat watches for women last year, fashioned onto the wrists of Charlize Theron, American ballet dancer Misty Copeland, and Chinese actress, Yao Chen. Particularly given the seismic shifts taking place in the watch world as brands migrate towards a more streamlined unisex approach. But Breitling to me had always established itself as a boy’s club, operating around the mechanical jargon of sports and cars. While I’m skeptical about brands separating their lines by gender, I undoubtedly wanted to get my hands on their seasonal creation for women.
Breitling was always a household name growing up listening to my Dad talk about watches. It was a reliable and humble watch doing exactly what it says on the tin. Without putting on airs and graces, it did the job without bragging, despite its superlative heritage, when in 1969, Breitling created the first self-winding chronograph movement. So given its integrity, I was less scared when trying the watch on for the first time, an experience that as a novice initially terrified me, opening a watch clasp and having absolutely no idea how to fasten it without feeling as though I would break it. Unmarred by my own apprehension, the Breitling model was simple. So far so good.
The dichotomy between the Baby-G – a previously trialled timepiece that stole my heart– and the Breitling was few and far between. The Pastel Paradise was slick, more refined and a lot less clunky. And most of all, it doesn’t continue to beep at me around 12:00am every night despite all human efforts to silence it. And much like the bleeping Baby-g that lit up with the push of a button, the Breitling watch acted on its own instinct and lit up with luminous markers with the darkness of night meaning at 4am when someone decided to have an argument outside my bedroom window, I didn’t need a phone screen to tell me this is too early to be yelling.
Diverting from the 42mm diameter of the Baby-G, I was reluctant to find the 38mm model too small for my wrist, with a precedent for larger watches. I was, in fact, surprised by my own judgement, finding the watch face to stand out enough that someone even complimented me on my bus journey home. When it comes to finding your watch, you might hear the age-old advice that watches are like moods and vary from day to day, and occasion to occasion. From dress watches, to sports watches, to tool watches, to the I-stole-this-from-my-Grandad watches, we’re conditioned to believe in variety, in the same way that you wouldn’t wear your pyjamas to a work conference. After all, there’s a reason people only saw the top half of our outfits for the past year.
The Breitling Superocean however meets you exactly in the middle. Originally introduced in 1957, the Superocean was Breitling’s high-performance dive watch, waterproof to a depth of 200m. Regarded as one of the brand’s most popular models given its durability, liable to a few stresses and strains, if you’re going to go surfing and hit a rock, chances are you’re going to be more bruised than your watch. Created to be highly legible and functional below the waves, the Superocean proved that Breitling could dominate the sea as well as the sky. But it’s not a watch built just for nature’s vast terrains; it’ll see you through to the supermarket, on your bike, at dinner. Everywhere. Much like the word ‘breit’ means broad, its function is for everyday.
Drawing on its own heritage, Breitling reconfigured the Superocean model, upgrading the lines that beholds over a 60-year-old legacy for diving watches. The Superocean Heritage ’57 Pastel Paradise Capsule Collection is all about color, proportion in stainless steel case with a bidirectional bezel, and you can’t beat that particular delicate crunching sound of a good bezel. Despite its seasonal release, marketing the watch as a summer staple, I have to admit I was rather content teaming it with my scarves and faux fur coat as I stepped out into the chill of London. And should your phone lose battery for 42 hours, you’re covered for telling the time.
What speaks to most about this Breitling watch is a.) the white iteration meant that it went with everything in my wardrobe and b.) as a whole, Breitling watches retain their value on the resale market given their sleek design, uncomplicated manufacturing process and straightforward maintenance. For $4,630, you’re investing in a piece that’s with you for the long game. As wrist companions go, this one is here to stay.