IN Breitling’s Georges Kern era, it is now the turn of the Superocean to get its makeover.
And it’s an important move, this. Because the Superocean plays a key role in the Breitling lineup; it is one of two entry points into the brand (the other collection being the Avenger). Fact is, when the Superocean was first introduced in 1957 Breitling’s sales of its “Sea” models topped those of its “Air” watches. These days the Superocean and Superocean Heritage lines combined is bigger than the Breitling Navitimer and Avenger collections. Simply put, Breitling is not an Air company. It is a Sea company.
This is all according to Alvin Soon, Breitling’s president in China, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, who recently dropped by Manila to grace the opening of Breitling’s second boutique in the Philippines, located at The Podium in Ortigas Center.
The executive stressed the Superocean intends to make people choose Breitling as their first real luxury watch brand.
Not a surprise then that the latest collection is comprised of models in five sizes — 48mm, 46mm, 44mm, 42mm and 36mm — rendered in three case materials (DLC titanium, DLC steel and steel) with five dial color choices.
The Superoceans have varying water-resistance ratings, too: 300 meters for the 48mm version, a staggering 2,000 meters for the 46mm, 1,000 meters for the 44mm, 500 meters for the 42mm and 200 meters for the 36mm. So, make no mistake, these are serious dive watches.
All are powered by the same movement, though — Breitling’s self-winding cal. 17. This 25-jewel ticker spins at 28,800vph and packs a 38-hour power reserve. Breitling tweaked it, so the Superoceans are all COSC-certified chronometers.
Now, why so many variants of the Superocean? There are, after all, 24 references across the range, not counting in some other special pieces.
Soon said the “brand dimension is changing,” citing that Kern had asked for a couple of changes when the brand’s head came on board two years ago, One of these is that Breitling needs to “talk to the ladies,” and the other is that the brand needs to appeal to a wider audience.
So, each Superocean model is targeted at a specific profile of buyers, with the difference defined by the watches’ case size.
Soon said the 48mm model, for instance, “is for people who like old Breitlings — very cool.” The 46mm, with its DLC and 2,000-meter water-resistance rating, is for hardcore divers and professionals; the 44mm caters to the majority of customers; the 42mm is for those with smaller wrists; and the 36mm for the ladies.
“This is why the Superocean comes in 24 references,” he said.
Clearly, Breitling is hedging its bet.
But, wait, there’s more: Soon bared Breitling will also put out a couple of Superocean boutique editions, one of which will have a green gradient dial.
“This year we realized there are a lot of green dials,” he said, adding that the brand will also create a yellow dial for the 44mm and the 46mm watches.
“Every market is asking for a yellow dial. In China the bestseller is the Avenger with the yellow dial. They are crazy for yellow there,” according to the executive.
But Soon said Breitling is also cautious when it comes to introducing changes to the Superocean, given the collection’s status within the brand.
“We redesigned the Superocean to make it cleaner. There’s less text, bigger numerals, so the SuperLuminova is brighter. [It has] a bigger arrow [on the second hand]. But the thing is, we don’t want to reinvent the wheel — this is one of our bestsellers. What we did is refine it,” he said.
Certainly, building an excellent product — like the latest Superocean — is one thing, communicating its merits is another. And this applies to the Breitling brand in general.
“It’s all about amplification, about advocates,” Soon said. “We have good products, good ambassadors, good retail concepts. We want to reimagine the brand. We want to tell people the stories of Breitling. The days of putting a watch in your face are over. What people want now are stories. Luxury is about stories and craftsmanship. Every watch needs to have a story.”
And for every wrist, there is a Superocean.