Breitling Superocean 44 Special Review

Breitling Superocean 44 Special Review

Breitling is a brand known for some of the best pilot watches in the industry.

However, the Grenchen-based Swiss luxury watchmaker has made a splash with their own line of dive timepieces. Breitling’s dive watch lineup is called Superocean which is basically a collection of professional-grade divers’ timepieces that was first introduced in 1957.

Today, we’re going to take an in-depth look at the Breitling Superocean 44 Special which is touted to have extreme water resistance and more.

Is this Swiss luxury dive watch worth looking into? Let’s find out.

Breitling Superocean 44 Special Review: At a Glance

Breitling Superocean 44 Special Review

The Superocean 44 Special is the second Breitling model that features a ceramic bezel. Before we proceed with the Breitling Superocean 44 Special review, let’s first check out the watch’s key specs and features:

Model:

Breitling Superocean 44 Special

Movement:

Breitling 17 Caliber, Self-winding mechanical, 25 jewels

Crystal:

Cambered sapphire, glareproofed both sides

Vibration:

28,800 v.p.h

Calendar:

Dial aperture

Case material

Steel/ceramic, black steel/ceramic

Bezel:

Unidirectional, ratcheted

Crown:

Screw-locked, two gaskets
Case diameter:44 mm

Thickness:

14.20 mm

Weight (without strap):

116.10 g

Dials:

Volcano black, Mariner blue

Water resistance:

1,000 m (3,300 ft)

Power reserve:

38 hours

Lug:

22/20 mm

Bracelet material:

Rubber, steel

First Impression

Breitling Superocean 44 Special Review

The Breitling Superocean 44 Special collection is available in two different models, the “Mariner” blue and “Volcano” black ceramic bezel. I’ve had the pleasure of using both and I really can’t decide which colorway is my favorite.

Breitling refers to the Superocean 44 Special as its new “ocean pilot.” I assume this is because the brand is looking to combine the durability of a dive watch with the legibility of an aviation timepiece.

I’ve been comparing the 44 Special with the Superocean and Superocean II series and there are some clear differences. Breitling did a great job marrying their classic aviation aesthetic with traditional diving watch elements. If you are familiar with Breitling’s Avenger series, you’ll that it shares the same design DNA as Superocean 44 Special.

Like its namesake, the watch is housed on a 44mm steel case with a beautiful satin finish top and polished sides and crown. The case is secured with a twin-gasket screw-locked crown which provides the watch with incredible water resistance (more on that later).

At 44mm, this is certainly not a small watch. In fact, it’s a fairly bulky sports watch but far from being too heavy. It has a great weighty feel to it which is expected from such a heavy-duty watch.

The ceramic bezel completes the overall look of the timepiece as a sporty dive watch.

Let’s Talk About That Bezel

Breitling Superocean 44 Special Review

I can’t write this Breitling Superocean 44 Special review without highlighting its bezel.

As mentioned, the watch features a ceramic bezel that is crafted from a single block. In comparison, other manufacturers use a ceramic insert within the bezel. I find it interesting that Breitling used a single block ceramic construction which is certainly a nod to the company’s luxury brand origins.

For the uninitiated, ceramic is a good component for bezels since it’s more resistant to scratches. However, ceramic is also quite brittle which means that I won’t be wearing the watch when out camping or playing sports.

Aesthetically, the ceramic bezel gives off a rich, glossy sheen that’s more evident whenever light strikes the bezel. The polished ceramic bezel harmonizes with the rest of the dial due to its high-contrast theme.

The unidirectional bezel is designed to be easy to grip and operate which is handy for divers who are wearing gloves. However, the bezel can be a bit stiff to turn. The ratcheting action feels great and tactile which can’t be said with most dive watches I’ve worn as of late.

The Dial, is It a Hit or Miss?

Breitling Superocean 44 Special Review

Perhaps the most controversial design element of the Breitling Superocean 44 Special is the dial. When it was released, the Superocean Special received mixed reactions from enthusiasts. Many people online were not thrilled with Breitling’s decision to marry the pilot and dive genres.

However, nothing has drawn more flak than the dial. As you can see, the Arabic numerals on the 24-hour ring (at 3 o’clock) are obscured by the date window. To be quite honest, this particular design “flaw” was not obvious to me until it was pointed out by people online.

Personally, this didn’t bother me a bit. I think this type of imperfection adds a great deal of personality to the watch. Needless to say, I love it since it gives me the impression that actual humans made this watch and not just a machine.

Looking past the so-called gaffe, the dial looks beautiful with its bold and large luminescent hour markers. It’s topped off with a triangle marker at 12 o’clock. Legibility is not an issue here and it’s further enhanced by the extra-large hour and minute hands. I’m not a diver myself but anyone who’s underwater will have no trouble reading the watch at a glance.

The beautiful dial is protected by a curved sapphire crystal with an anti-glare treatment.

Water Resistance and Timekeeping

Breitling included enough bells and whistles to make the Superocean 44 Special an authentic professional diving watch. With a water-resistance of a depth of 1,000 m (3,300 ft), it’s certainly one of the most hardworking dive watches I’ve used. In terms of waterproof level, there’s a lot to love here even if you’re a professional diver.

B17 Movement

The Superocean 44 is powered by the automatic Breitling Caliber 17 – it’s one of the few calibers that still utilizes a base with outsourced movement. With that said, it’s really hard to go wrong with the tested and proven ETA 2824-2.

As you might expect from a luxury Swiss watch, the caliber is COSC-certified as a chronometer. The power reserve is at 38 hours, a high frequency of 28,800 vph, and 25 jewels. Precision and reliability are on-point.

Wearing the Superocean 44

Breitling Superocean 44 Special Review

Overall, I’ve had a delightful time wearing the Superocean 44.

While it’s a 44mm model, for some reason the watch didn’t wear too large. The dark color theme has played a hand in minimizing the overall volume of the watch, visually speaking. The addition of the bright markers really helps in pulling away your eyes from the size of the watch.

As expected, the Superocean 44 nailed the legibility aspect and it can compete with some of the best pilot watches when it comes to ease of reading.

Breitling Ocean Racer Strap

The Volcano version comes with Breitling’s Ocean Racer or Diver Pro strap. On the other hand, the Mariner model comes with the traditional rugged steel bracelet. Mine came with the Ocean Racer strap and to be honest, it might be one of the most favorite strap designs ever.

Basically, the Ocean Racer is like the lovechild of a classic rubber dive strap and a racing-inspired strap. The addition of holes is a nice touch as it adds ruggedness to the overall look. However, I must say that the Superocean 44 looks more like a military watch that’s more at home in an aircraft carrier than in thousands of feet under the sea.

Pricing

The Ocean Racer II strap and Driver Pro III models are offered in the same price. The Steel Mariner Blue model is more expensive by about $500. The most expensive variation is the Black steel – Volcano Black which features the Diver Pro III strap with a pushbutton folding clasp.

Although the Superocean 44 is a new addition to the Superocean line, it’s very much similar with the previous models from this selection. For instance, the Superocean 44 looks to be just the updated of the previous Superocean II 44 model.

For a luxury dive watch, I think that it’s a bit too expensive. However, it’s a fairly versatile high-end sports watch and a great utility for diving. It’s also in the same price range as the previous models, so the pricing was rather expected.

So is it a good upgrade if you already have the previous Superocean models? In my opinion, there’s not much going on to warrant an upgrade. Don’t get me wrong, the Superocean 44 Special hits all the right notes for a good dive watch. However, it didn’t really do anything special to vault itself higher than the previous models.

Should You Get the Breitling Superocean 44 Special?

The Breitling Superocean 44 Special is a dive watch that I had the pleasure of wearing. It sneakily found itself in my daily sports watch rotation. Breitling succeeded in making a timepiece that combines their signature aviation DNA with dive watch design elements.

The result is a gorgeous dive watch that’s altogether modern and masculine. Legibility is also off the charts, thanks to some thoughtful design decisions by the manufacturer.

However, this won’t be a Breitling Superocean 44 Special review without its problems. Perhaps the biggest drawback of the watch is the price. I know that it’s a Swiss watch and it’s a luxury brand but I think that the price is a little bit inflated.

There’s also the issue with the dial’s design flaw.

For the obsessive-compulsive collector, the clipped Arabic numerals is a deal-breaker. The use of the single block ceramic is an interesting choice but it’s also a point of contention for the enthusiasts. Personally, I love the use of ceramic in this watch but I’m bummed that I can’t wear it for rougher activities. This is a watch that you can’t afford to drop or knock.

If you’re in the market for a fairly distinguished dive watch or you’re a big fan of the Superocean series, the Breitling Superocean 44 Special is worth the look.

Breitling Superocean II (44) Vs. Rolex Submariner: Dive Watch Review

breitling superocean 44 vs rolex submariner

Dive Watch Faceoff – Breitling Superocean 44 vs Rolex Submariner

Today I will be reviewing two of the top dive watches known to man, and every celestial being.  In the left corner, we have a classic in the dive watch game, The Rolex Submariner. And in the right corner, radiating all of the light in the arena, a dive watch that is surely one of the greatest, The Breitling Superocean II 44!

Both of these are fantastic timepieces! However, I am going to have to give the belt to the Superocean II on this one. This is hard to say for a Rolex fanatic who is literally a cheerleader for the brand (Gooooo Rolex)! The Submariner is a classic; but the Superocean is an extremely advanced piece, beautifully designed and built for pure durability.

breitling superocean 44 vs rolex submariner

 

Listen up, I will give the Submariner a chance in the ring. You will hear the pros and cons of each watch in this article. Eventually, the reasons why the Superocean is the inevitable winner will be quite clear; just continue reading on.

Major Similarities and Differences

breitling superocean 44 vs rolex submariner

breitling superocean 44 vs rolex submariner

It is easy to notice differences at first glance. Look at the pristine polish of the Superocean. The watch shines bright, blinding everyone who dares to stare at this beauty. As for the Submariner, it does have a sleek polish, yet does not stand out when compared to the Superocean.

Rolex SubmarinerBreitling Superocean II 
Rolex Swiss 3130 MovementCailber 17 ETA 2824 Self-winding Movement
Flat Sapphire CrystalCambered Sapphire Crystal
Stainless steel Oyster BraceletStainless steel Bracelet
40mm Case44mm Case
Unidirectional 60-minute BezelBidirectional Bezel
2.5 Magnifying CyclopsNo Cyclops
Black dial w/ luminescent handsBlue/black dial w/ luminescent numbers
300m water resistance1000m water resistance

Breitling Superocean II 44

History

Breitling was originally founded back in 1884;  known for their avian style watches before the 1950’s.  In the early 50’s  dive watches began to gain popularity. Breitling caught onto this trend as fast as it came. In 1957, Breitling released the Superocean, with a water resistance of 200m, which beat out competitors like Rolex and Omega. The design of the watch, with bold Arabic numerals, invented a look that was clean and practical in the realm of dive watches. Breitling continues to release Superoceans every year. Advancing their look and technology as each year passes by.

Unique Style and Design 

Amidst a generation full of dive watches, saturating the watch market, Breitling releases models that are able to attract watch connoisseurs as well as dive watch critics all over.

I would not call the design of the superocean II classic at all. It is a game-changer when it comes to style. The large numerals take over the colorful dial. The steel Breitling name attracts the eyes of everyone around. And the bright, glossy stainless steel bracelet shines like no other watch! This is simply a beautiful watch. Whether you decide to purchase the bold black dial or the bright sunburst blue dial, you will not be disappointed!

If you are one who changes your bands often, no problem! You can easily switch out the steel bracelet for a rubber one at any time. The rubber bracelet does not make this watch look cheap. It gives the watch a traditional dive watch look. The large Arabic numerals and numbers give this watch a great look as well. You do not see large numbers on luxury watches often, but Breitling made it work for this watch. The 44mm case, offers a large, but not to large, face that just pulls in the attention of everyone around.

A Watch to wear for ANY occasion

breitling superocean 44 vs rolex submariner

You are not tied down to any one occasion when wearing this beauty. It looks just as great in the ocean as it does in the office, with a sleek suit. Why I love the Superocean II design is because it takes a different approach than all of the other dive watches. It is alluring and handsome, while simultaneously featuring an original and modern look. I give this watch a whopping 5/5 for design!

Durability

Very important for dive watches, well any watch really. You don’t want a watch that will fall apart after a few years. The Superocean is designed to basically deplete the meaning of wear and tear. One of the main aspects of this watch that make it so durable is the screwed down bezel. The bezel is stuck to the case like glue, you can be sure your bezel will be intact at all times. Another great factor is the rubber insert in the bezel. It is a great cobalt blue color.

A rubber insert makes it so that scratches are a thing of the past! The cambered dial is great as well because it is a scratch-proof material. The case is literally meant for durability. Good size, good weight, you can guarantee the case will stay pristine if you take good care of it. A rating of 4.8/5 is my opinion when it comes to durability.

Value

Most dive watches you find from big watch brands hold their value. The same goes for the Breitling Superocean. This is a watch that retails at a great price! Much lower than the Submariner, or any other luxury watch retailer. As time passes the value and demand stay pretty consistent. Just take good care of the watch and you will have nothing to worry about. Know that every penny you spend on this watch is well worth it. 4/5 for VALUE.

 Rolex Submariner

Personally, I am not a huge dive watch collector. Surprising, huh.. But I have always had a love for the Rolex Sea Dweller and the Submariner. The history of the Submariner models is vast dating back to 1954. Honestly, almost every dive watch you see today has probably been influenced by the Submariner’s design. Vintage Submariner timepieces cost serious dough, and for a reason. When purchasing a Submariner, you get a classic, handsome, and durable watch.

The Rolex name has more history when compared to Breitling. So there is also this to account for. Rolex is one of those brands that has remained a TOP DOG in the watch game since its inception.

Classic style and design

breitling superocean 44 vs rolex submariner

 

Picture a painting by the legendary artist Picasso. Now pretend that painting is basically a watch; the product is the Submariner to dive watch enthusiasts. You can’t go wrong when it comes to the design of a Submariner. It is a nice size watch at 40mm, with a bold, black dial. The face is plain but maintains the professional, classic look. The 2.5 magnifying cyclops assists in bringing the date to life, and in my opinion, just a great addition to have on a Rolex.

A fully stainless steel bezel nicely complements the steel bracelet, giving the watch a uniform look. When you decide to wear this classy timepiece you do not have to fret over your outfit. It goes with ANYTHING. From casual to business, to your wedding day and even suited up in scuba gear. I give the design 4.6/5 stars!

Durability

You break it, you buy it. Luckily this is not easily applied to the Submariner. The case is built for underwater activity and can definitely take a decent fall. Now usually when I review the Submariner, it is going up against a watch of lesser quality. When comparing the Submariner to the Superocean, the Superocean prevails. Rolex added a strong stainless steel bracelet, a scratch-resistant sapphire case and water resistance up to 300m.

Breitling took all of those qualities and strengthened them immensely. At the end of the day, the Submariner is still a durable watch. It is great for swimming, hiking, and similar activities. Sadly, and I hate to say it, but the Superocean just exceeds all of the above-mentioned qualities. The Submariner gets a 4.5/5.

Value

I think it is safe to say that almost all Rolex pieces hold their value over time. Unless you are a terrible watch owner, who just lives to destroy the lives of watch lovers around the world and damage your piece. Besides that, the value of Submariners actually can grow DRASTICALLY over time. Like I mentioned earlier, Vintage Submariners are worth money today! Although the price is much higher than the Superocean; the Rolex Submariner is still worth the price point! The value of the Submariner is a respectable 4.8/5 stars.

The Deeper Diver

Both The Rolex Submariner and the Breitling Superocean II are fantastic watches. What set the Superocean apart from the Rolex in this review, is all of the special features that can not be found on many other dive watches. The Superocean is a bright, beautiful, original, and durable timepiece that should be on every watch lovers’ “buy list.”

Because of these features, The Breitling Superocean II is the diving champion of the day!