Breitling SuperOcean 'Slow Moving Chronograph'

Breitling SuperOcean 'Slow Moving Chronograph'

Why We Love It

Nautical Chronographs inhabit a strange space on the vintage timepiece spectrum. Most divers rely on a rotating bezel to calculate how much time is remaining for their dive. Topside timepieces, like Heuer's Skipper models and various yacht timers often utilize small, hard-to-read chrono subdials which are sub-optimal in choppy conditions.  Thus, the notion of developing a chronograph--most usually employed in the fields of aviation or racing--with a highly legible central minute hand was genius. 

In 1965 Breitling released the Superocean Reference 2005. It replaced the earlier Superocean references released in the 1950s--the Reference 1004 (which did not feature a chronograph) and the chronograph Reference 807. The Reference 2005--also called the "Slow Moving Chronograph"--is one of the most desirable vintage Breitlings ever produced, an unbelievably rare find on the market. In fact, it's so rare that this is only the fourth we've been able to offer in our nine years of operation. 

What makes this such a special piece is the functionality and layout of the chronograph feature: a minutes-only counter with a large, luminous central sweep hand.  Because it only counts minutes, it is difficult to know whether or not it is running with just a glance. 

To solve this problem, the dial features a circular aperture just about the 6:00 position.  When the chronograph isn't activated, this circle appears black and blends in with the rest of the dial. When engaged, the window turns white (now a more patinated, creamy white) to indicate to the wearer that the function is operating. And when stopped, a smaller dot appears, which reverts to black when reset. 

The Story

While the Navitimer, with its storied connection to aviation and spaceflight, is perhaps the most notable of Breitling's chronographs, the brand's earlier examples are not to be ignored. With functional, legible dials and simple case designs, they're an exercise in understated elegance; indeed, one could almost say they're dress watches, particularly those with cases constructed from precious metals. 

Breitling have been producing technical timepieces more or less since the brand's inception in 1885. The brand developed the first ever monopusher chronograph wristwatch in 1915, and further innovated chronograph design by adding a second pusher at 4 o'clock in 1933. Breitling's perfection of the chronograph blossomed in the 1940s, when it developed chronograph calibres with further complications, such as rattrapante (split second), day and date, and moon-phase functions.

Breitling had long been purveyor of chronographs to pilots, but the popularity of dive watches like the Rolex Submariner and Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms pushed Breitling to enter that race. The SuperOcean, with its gilt dial, shares similar aesthetics to early Submariners, and the concave bezel is reminiscent of Blancpain's Fifty Fathoms. Yet the SuperOcean is a creature unto itself, with as impressive a pedigree of its own, enough to ensure its presence in Breitling’s catalogs to this day.


SKU: AS04184

Stainless steel case is approximately 40mm (excluding the crown). Breitling ref. 2005. Valjoux calibre 7731 manually-winding chronograph movement. Circa 1960s.

Overall Condition: The case is in great condition overall showing normal wear consistent with age and use. Luminous white and black dial is in excellent condition with evenly patinated indices and oversized handset with matching patination. Signed crown. Caseback shows light signs of wear.

Includes Casablanca Brown Analogshift strap with steel pin buckle.

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