2005 Breitling Superocean ‘Slow Chronograph’
Before the dive watch had found its core design (rotating uni-direction bezel, screw-down everything, and crown guards), a lot of maisons just sort of tried everything. I grew up on Playstation, a child of the early 90s, and when I didn’t know how to do a thing in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, I just pressed all the buttons repeatedly hoping to make a kickflip happen. A similar process worked when I lost my virginity. Turns out, even the best Swiss manufactures were not dissimilar or above a bit of A/B testing to find out what sold. The ref. 2005 is a dive chronograph with a many quirks and the best bit of font design a dial’s ever worn at 6.
The only thing that recognizably defines this as a diver are 200m water resistance and rotating bezel. But then there’s a ‘slow’ minute-step chronograph to measure time elapsed underwater anywhere else. The chronograph is so leisurely, in fact, that you can’t really tell if it’s running. To sort this out, Breitling included a little indicator down above 6 that switches from black to white when the chronograph is engaged. A bit convoluted, but functional nonetheless. And that chronograph hand has one of the strangest diamond-shaped spatulas of tritium ever seen. There aren’t many frills but it’s also not the most direct solution to the dive problem, quite an enigmatic watch.
I was first turned on to the 2005 many years ago by friend of Hairspring @misterenthusiast, who wasn’t always into strange Beta 21s and bastardizing Panerai. And I think there’s a reason this chronograph spoke to someone who is an artist by profession; it’s fundamentally a creative watch, brave even. That, and if you appreciate font selection that ‘superocean’ script is just sexy in the same way that the vintage ‘turbo’ font on 993 rears gets me hot. It’s a watch with a lot of charm, and surely that’s what vintage should be all about? Its Venus 188 certainly isn’t going to give Omega’s co-axial 3861 any sleepless nights.
This one is here because it’s one of the best I’ve seen recently, and the price is spot-on or if anything a little under market. I try not to comment on values unless it’s stand-out strong value, which this one is. The case is full, strong lugs. Where most of these dials are showing moisture damage or corrosion on the white, this one has neither. And all tritium is still present, evenly aged evenly and gorgeous. Even has the B-signed crown. It comes from a well-regarded London retailer.