The release of the tasty Breitling Superocean Heritage ’57 Capsule Collection is nothing if not impeccably timed. And you have to give credit to Georges Kern, the showman CEO, for his ability to shine while those around him struggle.

Exactly a year ago, at Baselworld 2019, Breitling announced that it would not be participating at the 2020 edition of the show. Breitling celebrated the announcement by throwing a party where journalists were shown expensively shot footage hailing the company’s many successes, before being treated to a lecture by Kern on the strength of his own stewardship. The message was clear: Baselworld may be in trouble; Breitling is doing just fine.

A year on we find ourselves in a world nobody anticipated. And in a cruel twist of fate, in the very week that the brave-new-world Breitling Webcast is beamed into our computers, Baselworld’s problems have suddenly gone from bad to call-a-priest.

Superocean Heritage '57 with a black dial and a black vintage-inspired leather strap
Superocean Heritage '57 with a black dial and a black vintage-inspired leather strap

The first electronically revealed pieces are a rather lovely set of new Superocean Heritage watches. The Heritage ’57 Capsule Collection pays tribute to the date when the first SuperOcean diving watch was released. Famed before and since as a maker of pilots’ watches, in 1957 Breitling got its sea wings.

The Superocean Heritage ’57 Capsule Collection is available with two dial options. There is a black dial, that comes on a black leather strap, or blue dial with a brown leather strap. Both are also available on Breitling’s “Ocean Classic” stainless-steel mesh bracelet. The 42mm case is stainless-steel, and the steel rotating bezel contains a ceramic ring that matches the dial. There is also a two-tone version with an 18K red-gold bezel with a black ceramic ring and black dial.

Superocean Heritage '57 Limited Edition with a light blue Outerknown ECONYL yarn NATO strap
Superocean Heritage '57 Limited Edition with a light blue Outerknown ECONYL yarn NATO strap

If you are quick, there is the brightly plumed Limited Edition, with red and green hour and minute hands, along with SuperLuminova hour markers in all the colours of the rainbow. If that is still not quite enough colour for you, the Limited Edition can be matched to a vibrant NATO strap made out of an unpronounceable material, which can be ordered in one of six colour combinations. The caseback is engraved “ONE OF 250.” All are fitted with Breitling’s COSC-certified Caliber 10 automatic movement.

Kern said: “The Capsule Collections let us tell some of our brand’s most inspiring stories while we produce some remarkably unique watches for a limited amount of time. With the Superocean Heritage ’57 Capsule Collection, we’ve focused on the relaxed Southern California fun-in-the-sun culture that defined an era.”

He added: “The surfing itself in the 1950s and 1960s is at the heart of our storytelling here, but those times offered so much more: the great music, the amazing cars, and the almost spiritual connection to freedom found on endless sandy beaches and in the search for the perfect wave.”

Breitling was once a proud centrepiece of Baselworld. And to these eyes the Superocean Heritage pieces were some of the most handsome watches at the fair in recent years. Almost makes you miss the place. But with lovely new watches like these, unveiled in the way it sees fit, Breitling is not giving a backward glance.

Superocean Heritage '57 Capsule Collection & Superocean Heritage '57 Limited Edition
Superocean Heritage '57 Capsule Collection & Superocean Heritage '57 Limited Edition

Technical Specifications

Movement

Breitling Caliber 10 COSC-certified automatic with 42-hour power reserve

Case

42mm stainless steel, water-resistant to 100m

Strap

Vintage-inspired leather strap or integrated Ocean Classic stainless-steel bracelet