The new Breitling Superocean II 36 Diver sports the usual styling that the series is known for. Basically offering the same unisex model in a slightly smaller size, the timekeeper won’t surprise you with new ideas, but will rather deliver the usual blend of sportiness, good build quality, and a bullet-proof (albeit, mass-produced) mechanism that will keep time as you would expect from a COSC-certified movement. What else there is to want?
The world of luxury watches, which is dominated by men in almost all of its niches, needs a diving watch that would be designed solely for women. Delicate yet reserved as the legendary little black dress, it would be a quintessence of femininity and fineness. Well, not this time.
What would you do if you have created a wonderful product that was designed for men, but suddenly decided to sell it to women, too? You would open your CAD software suite of choice and make everything smaller by 15 percent to better match a more delicate wrist of a modern lady. You would also leave all elements of design in place thus saving a hefty chunk of cash on development costs.
That’s what Breitling basically did with its new Superocean II 36. When I compare the 36 mm model to a 42 mm version, I don’t see anything that would make the two look even slightly different. The same design of the dial, the same case. Perhaps, it is only for the better: even the larger piece looks sort of unisex so the logic of making it a tad smaller and selling as a women’s watch was, as one movie character once said, ‘undeniable’.
At 36 millimeters in diameter, the watch is not that small: given its rather long lugs, it covers a great deal of room on an average lady’s wrist. Its lug-to-lug length is about 42 millimeters, but that is not a problem however since the timepiece is supposed to be ‘large’, even when we are talking about smaller sizes.
Also, the thickness of just a hair over 11 millimeters makes this new Breitling Superocean II 36 quite comfortable to wear in almost any situation. Its weight of fewer than 70 grams (it weighs more with the bracelet), too, makes sure that you won’t feel tired wearing this timekeeper.
As usual, the case is very well sculpted, although, to my taste, it lacks its own character. As generic-looking, as it is, it could be one of the millions of designs that are inspired by the legendary Rolex Submariner. What makes it different, though, is the quality of surgical-grade steel and the level of polishing: you probably won’t find anything better in this price range.
The rubber-molded bezel with its traditional fluted edge makes it even more attractive although you have to keep in mind that rubber is prone to scratches and you will have to wear the piece more carefully since replacing the part may be a bit costly.
With a water resistance rating of 200 meters, it may not be a hard-core diving companion, but it is more than adequate not only for snorkeling but also for some amateur diving.
As for the mechanism, it is the same good old Caliber Breitling B17 that we, for example, have seen in their 2012 SuperOcean 42 White Water “professional” diver.
Being a COSC-certified, chronometer-grade version of the ETA 2824-2, the mechanism is even more reliable than the base movement, as well as features even better accuracy.
Its guaranteed power reserve of 40 hours (if fully wounded) doesn’t sound particularly impressive, but this watch is supposed to be a daily beater (if you can call a ‘beater’ a watch that costs more than a woman in a third world country makes in a lifetime), so its mainspring will always be ‘almost full’ due to all the gesture that you make during a day.
Traditionally for the brand, the Superocean II 36 features a somewhat busy dial with its main set of luminous Arabic numerals accompanied by an extra set in a military 24-hour format, and the rest of the space is occupied by all sorts of inscriptions that make sure that you never forget what a marvel you have on your wrist.
The date window is relatively large (although a small bull’s eye lens would have made the task of reading the calendar even easier) and the hands are wide enough to house a healthy amount of Superluminova on them allowing for an almost perfect nighttime legibility.
The red point of the arrow-shaped central seconds hand is a very nice touch, especially if you opt for a version with a white dial and strap.
See also: Breitling SuperOcean 42 Mariner Blue
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4.5/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
Breitling Superocean II 36 Ladies specification
Price: $3400 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Caliber Breitling B17 (base ETA 2824-2), COSC-certified chronometer, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 25
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 40 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Case and Bezel: Stainless steel, polished
Crown: Rubber-molded steel
Size: 36.00 mm
Height: 11.25 mm
Lug width: 18/16 mm
Dial: White / Black
Numerals: Arabic, luminous
Hour markers: Black
Water resistance: 200 meters
Strap: White Ocean Racer rubber band (also available in black for a version with black dial) / Leather strap / Diver Pro or Professional III
Back: Screw-in, solid, engraved