Two New Outerknown × Breitling Superocean Heritage ’57 Dive Watches
When Breitling first announced its partnership with Outerknown back in 2018, it seemed, to me at least, to be a seminal moment for sustainable products working their way into the luxury industry. With the two brands’ latest collaboration, the Outerknown series gets a massive boost from the inclusion of the handsome (and widely praised) Breitling Superocean Heritage ’57 automatic dive watch.
Outerknown is a company dedicated to producing stylish, sustainable clothing, founder by world-famous surfer, Kelly Slater. Slater was already a member of the Breitling Surfers Squad so the union felt pretty natural. But beyond the marketing sense of pairing Slater’s growing label with an established watchmaking company, this collaboration gave us something quite unusual: it gave us something actually good.
Sustainable products on the rise
Sustainability has been a growing concern in recent years. Given the environmental crises facing the globe, brands committed to responsible production practices have never received more airtime. The problem with a lot of the products produced responsibly, using natural materials, dyes, techniques, and so on, is that they are often aesthetically unsuited to life in the true luxury realm.
…how well do those ideas align with luxury watchmaking?
Earthy fabrics, natural textures, and often muted palettes make for attractive purchases, sure. But how well do those ideas align with luxury watchmaking? The truth is, not as often as many would like. The challenge facing Slater’s Outerknown and Breitling was to find a way to make the product pairing feel as harmonious as his ambassadorship for this brand.
You can’t teach cool
Luckily, Slater and his team came up with the goods. Now, you may not like NATO straps. That’s fine. They are an acquired taste, after all. Some people don’t think that fabric of any kind should be anywhere near a luxury watch. But when it comes to tool watches, it often feels a much more congruous combination.
As Breitling succinctly states, “The straps are made of ECONYL®yarn, a material created exclusively from recycled nylon waste.” I’ve seen these straps in real life. I also had the chance to compare them with many other fabric straps. I can say that the quality of their design and execution left me wondering why recycled products carry around a reputation for crudeness that is clearly not necessary.
These straps are just about as slick and as pristine a range of products as one could imagine. The colors are vivid and the threads uniform. There have been no compromises in production. They are as satisfying to study under a loupe as they are to wear on the wrist. And with such a fine strap option, it makes perfect sense for Breitling to have deployed it on the brand’s most recent success: the Breitling Superocean Heritage ’57 diver.
New colors for the strap and the watch head
The Outerknown straps first appeared on the Breitling Superocean Héritage II in 2018, before popping up on the updated Superocean models released a year later. The very first model presented had a green dial and came on a blue and black striped strap. The blue/black strap was followed by a green/black version and then by five more colors: black/grey, blue/light blue, red/black, blue/black, and my personal favorite, yellow/orange. And now a seventh color joins the tribe. Presented for the first time on two special edition Breitling Superocean Heritage ’57 watches, the brown/black variant is a throwback stunner.
…a fine daily beater…
It vibes perfectly with the concave black ceramic bezel of both Breitling Superocean Heritage ’57 models and the brown sun-ray dials, decorated with creamy lume. The difference between these two dive watches is the bezel, the hour marker borders, and the handsets. One of the watches has a steel bezel, while the other has one made from rose gold. Both have hour indicators and hands to match the bezel material.
While the rose gold bezel version is certainly thematically sound, I prefer the steel version. Not only is it more affordable, I find the brown/black/steel combo interesting enough without the addition of rose gold elements. Additionally, I do think the latter is more versatile and would make a fine daily beater, coordinating, as it would, with both black and brown shoes (and pretty much any kind of flip-flop you might care to wear instead).
A model for which we have a lot of love
Our man Mike Stockton has always been a fan of the classic Superocean design. He was ecstatic when the Breitling Superocean Heritage ’57 update debuted this year. Since that drop, Breitling has added some really exciting colorways to the collection already. The fact some of the wildest (including the rainbow-markers version) were limited has only added to the desire.
Both references A103703A1Q1W1 and U103701A1Q1W1 have identical specs.
Thankfully, the all-steel version (reference A103703A1Q1W1) is not limited. Conversely, the rose gold-infused model (reference U103701A1Q1W1) is limited to just 500 pieces. In my opinion, that is a nice run size. I always appreciate it when big brands keep the limitation under four figures.
Both references A103703A1Q1W1 (€4,000) and U103701A1Q1W1 (€4,850) have identical specs. Both are 42mm wide and 9.99mm thick. You can bank on 100m of water-resistance despite the fact the crown does not screw down. Instead. Instead, a double gasket system will get you down safely to 10bar. Learn more about Breitling and its partnership with Outerknown here.