Breitling has revived a vintage aesthetic for the stunning Transocean, a watch which harks back to a bygone golden era of horological creation. The inclusion of the ‘B’ logo, marks the brand’s intention to channel the design and vibe of the very first Transocean timepiece that first came out way back in the 1950’s.
This is a large, masculine timepiece with a 43mm width and a heaviness befitting of its quality. Indeed, the Transocean looks great on the wrist, yet it should be noted that this is really a watch for those with thicker wrists. What really stands out with the Transocean though, is the way in which the design manages to wrap itself around the wrist rather than sit clunkily atop it like so many others in the larger category.
The Transocean’s use of a Breitling in-house chronograph calibre 01 is welcome news to watch enthusiasts. This high end internal movement is just as good as any in the category and a see-through caseback allows viewing of the complex column wheel within.
It is perhaps the shape and overall look of the watch that best channels this retro intentions. The dial too has the air of many of the most adored old Breitlings, although the original Transocean was not exactly the same as this, as we will see. Certainly, one of the loveliest touches on the newer Transocean is the option of a mesh bracelet, which is a nod to the preferred style in the 1950’s that manages to look as fresh today as when it was first conceived of.
With the passing of Léon Breitling in 1914, his heir Gaston took the helm of the family business. He had inherited his father’s character, ingenuity and an insatiable passion for chronographs, which he displayed in 1915 with the launch of one of the world’s very first chronographs with an iconic push-piece situated above the watch crown.
Breitling’s Growing Success
The brand experienced more success until 1952 with the launch of a completely special watch that today is an icon. The Breitling Navitimer is an amalgamation of the words navigation and timer, boasting as it does with the flight specific slide rule that was first launched with the Chronomat watch. Certainly, it is no surprise that thousands of pilots, airlines and aircraft manufacturers have decided to go with this timepiece.
Breitling Montres SA was officially registered in 1982 and the brand soon shifted to the town of Grenchen under new ownership. Indeed, the company had its 100th anniversary in 1984 with a totally renovated Chronomat marking the occasion. This was a watch famous for its bezel and its stunning automatic calibre. The watch was inspired by a watch that Breitling had created the year before the famous flying group Frecce Tricolori.
A marquee occurrence came in May 2017 when Breitling was bought by CVC Capital Partners and in July of that year, Georges Kern took on the mantle of CEO. With his group, Kern, who had by then forged a top reputation in horology, was able to continue the extremely beautiful Breitling story whose roots stretched all the way back to a miniscule factory in St. Imier in the late 19th century.