A review on the Breitling Superocean Ref 1004.


You may remember a post I wrote a bit more than one year ago about Diving watches from the 50ies, and if not, here is the link:
The question was to know if it was possible to beat this Quartett, or, at least, to upgrade it.
The family picture:
I sadly lost this Deep Sea Alarm US and the Omega CK 14 755, but I found a few others, and, in 2011, an unexpected watch, the Breitling Superocean Ref 1004.
Unexpected, because I started to think that I will never find it!
Let me introduce it to you.

This model was born in 1957, as an answer from Breitling to the Blancpain, Rolex / Tudor, and Omega offers in the Diving World, which was pretty unusual for the brand which was better known for their aerian activities,  while we had to wait two more years to see  the JLC Deep Sea Alarm.
We can say that the Rolex and the Blancpain are somewhat related, aesthetically speaking.
We can also say, and see, that the Superocean shows some similarities with the Omega Seamaster CK 2913 / 14 755 and the later JLC Deep Sea Alarm, but with some proper signs of distinction.
Let's say that it shares the same spirit ( thin case, slim  and long lugs, long triangular indexes, black matt dial, a bezel which hung over the case none, but expresses it in a subtle different way.
- The case:
With a 38 mm diameter, the Superocean has the same size than its Omega sister, while the JLC Deep Sea Alarm is a tad bigger.
The 2 Diving sisters together:
The case  benefits from some harmonious lines and curves with very nicely integrated and slim lugs.
A pleasure for the eyes:
The crown is signed ( not screwed ), but I wonder if there was not an evolution on this model, like it was the case for the Fifty Fathoms.
On my watch which is from 1958, the crown is small, identical to what I saw on several Ref 1004, but, if you pay attention the ad I posted at the top of this post, it obviously also came with a big crown, and I saw several examples which came with this configuration, so I don't know what to think, exactly.
It shares a kind of UFO profile which is very close to the Omega and JLC : Thin case ( about 10 millimeters ), smaller case back, bigger bezel, this is just spectacular.
You can notice the concave bezel and the slightly domed plexy, on the picture above, which makes this watch look so special.
I don't remember having seen this kind of bezel on a diving watch,  before.
The Superocean has a screw in case back, with, at the centre, the brand's name and model, the Logo, and, all around, the main qualities of the watch: Waterproof 20 ATM - 660 Feet - Automatic - Swiss.

Inside the case back,  no other information than the case  number:
- The dial:
The Soul of this watch, which makes all its charm.
The long and thin triangular indexes are something you can also find on the JLC Deep Sea alarm ( the Europe, not the  US version ) or on the Omega, but here, they are much longer, and radium filled ( like on the JLC and Omega, by the way, as we have to keep in mind that it was the " regular " luminous material at this moment.
The wording is not too present, just enough, in my opinion, with a superb applied and  stylized " B ".
The writings are gilt, as well as the minute indexes.
The Hour hand reminds me the contemporary Omega CK 2913, as they are both arrow shaped. My hour hand is questionable, though, and the minute hand has to be changed for a correct one.
But the detail which tops all, to me, is visible at 3 / 6 / 9 and 12 o' clock: The amazing blend of  long and thin metal indexes and the very nice big round  radium dots.
A strong aesthetical signature.



- The movement:
That is not the strongest virtue of this watch.
Here, we have an outsourced movement, referenced B 125, probably an ETA, which has a main quality: its accuracy.
Two things are not usually seen, actually:
* The " floors " construction of the movement, larger at its base, narrower at its top....
* The shape of the rotor...
Go figure why, but I like a lot its " vampire shape ".
More seriously, the rotor embraces the " floors " construction of the movement.
More mysterious to me is why Breitling decided to sign the rotor " Transocean " when the dial is signed Superocean...

- General thoughts:
Made for a few years ( 4 or 5? ), the Superocean Ref 1004 can be considered as a very rare bird.
It is, in my opinion, as appealing and desirable than an Omega Seamaster, even more original than this last one.
On the wrist, the Superocean is an immediate love. Despite its modest size, its presence is awesome, and it looks bigger  in the real than in the numbers.

Does it need to be bigger, I don't think so, and I regret a lot to see that the latest Superocean doesn't borrow the strength, the charm, the appeal of its elder sister.
As to answer to my first question, which was to know if it was possible to upgrade the theme of the Diving watches from the Fifties, I will say that this last addition is an excellent one, and I now need to find my other Breitling target, a certain Vintage Superocean Chrono, which is basically the same than the Ref 1004, with a bigger case ( 39 mm ), a Venus 175 movement, and 2 white subdials, a Tudor 7922, a Rolex 6536...
And to find a manual winding and very exciting Zenith S 58!
Then I would be able to say that I happily closed this theme...
Looking forward to reading your thoughts and comments,
Best to All.
PS 1: Disclaimer: The first picture of this post has to be credited to " Breitling Lounge ".

PS 2: The pictures posted above were taken in 2011, when I just received this watch. Since then, and very recently, it has been improved, a bit. 
This message has been edited by amanico on 2016-07-03 23:46:26

happyguy1688 July 4th, 2016-01:16
Great review, thanks sharing (nt)
amanico July 4th, 2016-01:16
My pleasure. Thanks for reading.  
Le Monde Edmond July 4th, 2016-03:04
Fantastic I really love the superocean. It is for me one of the greatest vintage diving watches. I love the shape, the superocean script, the lume and the dial and the shape of the bezel. I had a chance to play with one in May earlier this year and immediately fell... 
amanico July 4th, 2016-03:07
Thanks for your kind words, Edmond. A very sensual vintage diver, for sure.  
Bill July 5th, 2016-02:05
The Breitling super ocean is a super cool watch for sure. Another great review. I am just wondering about the form and function of several dive watch and their evolution to becoming real diving tools. I think of small advance like the big crown which made it easier to set the time possibly wearing gloves or the advances of the crown ... 
amanico July 5th, 2016-02:15
Clearly, 1953 / 1970 was the most interesting era for diving watches. I am currently working on an article about these vintage diving watches. There is a lot to say. The birth, the developments, the technical solutions, and some originalities ( alarm / Depthmeter / both, decompression tables and so on ). As for this Breitli... 
Bill July 5th, 2016-02:27
Agree completely on the Breitling super ocean a very sensual watch.  
amanico July 5th, 2016-09:32
You should complement your collection with a few of these early divers, my friend. you already have some important ones. Just an extra effort.
watchthatman July 5th, 2016-19:23
Thanks for the great write up Nico. Will have to reread to digest and reflect.  
amanico July 5th, 2016-21:38
Thank you, Robert. Take your time.  

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