The History of the Breitling Transocean

By the 1950s, Breitling had firmly established themselves as the suppliers of the most superior pilot watches on the market. Their aviation legacy began the decade prior with the Chronomat. Then, in 1952, they continued to grow their presence in the field with the debut of the now-iconic Navitimer. The Navitimer was the product of Breitling’s partnership with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). While the model was handsome enough to appeal to anyone, its functionality primarily served amateur and professional pilots.

Intercontinental Travel Booms

In the latter half of the decade, Breitling wanted to further expand their offerings. This period marked a time of increased global exploration by air and sea. Intercontinental travel was becoming more accessible and, in turn, more popular than ever. Naturally, Breitling wanted to get a piece of the pie, and they did just that in 1957. That year, the brand first broke into the world of dive watches with the debut of the Superocean. A year later, they decided to up the ante on their pilot watch collections. On the coattails of the brand’s popular Superocean came the Transocean in 1958.

The Transocean is Born

Breitling named the Transocean for the era, which marked the golden age of transcontinental flight. As mentioned, the brand had originally built the Navitimer with professional and amateur pilots in mind. On the other hand, they created the Transocean to appeal to the new wave of passengers looking to jet set around the globe. The model features a more polished and elegant design, perfect for a frequently traveling executive. In this way, the Transocean is somewhat of a departure from Breitling’s typical sporty aesthetic. It can serve equally well as a dress watch. However, the focus on form certainly does not come at the sacrifice of function.

The Transocean still boasts some impressive capabilities to boot. The remarkable functionality and sturdiness of the Transocean makes it instantly recognizable as a Breitling. The model is shock resistant, antimagnetic, and water resistant thanks to a special “super-sealed” case. In addition, it comes equipped with a COSC certified automatic mechanical movement. The model truly lived up to its slogan, “Men who have faith in the mighty liners of the sky will trust the Transocean, for behind every Breitling wristwatch lies the experience of aviation precision.”

Retired and Revived

Breitling retired the original Transocean shortly after its initial release. Then, just over four decades later, the brand decided to revive the collection in 2010. The modern Transocean honors the original with a distinctly vintage yet timeless design. However, Breitling has notably enhanced the luxury aspect of the collection and added some contemporary upgrades. The original re-edition of the Transocean came in a modern, oversized 43mm case with a hefty 14.35mm thickness.

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Three years later, Breitling added a more modest variation to the collection. It more closely embodies the spirit of the original at 38mm. In addition, they offer the new Transocean with a wide array of complications to suit any collector. These include anything from a classic chronograph mechanism, date window, or calendar to a more complex moon phase function. Another important upgrade in the contemporary Transocean collection is the all-new, in-house Breitling B01 automatic mechanical movement. It boasts COSC certification and a 72-hour power reserve. Plus, it can be viewed in all its glory through the sapphire caseback.

A Permanent Fixture of the Catalog

A Breitling Transocean with a gold case and leather strap

Today, it seems the Transocean is here to stay. Since Breitling revived the model roughly a decade ago, they’ve continued to build out the collection. In 2014, they unveiled the Transocean Unitime Pilot. It showcases a world time complication in addition to the chronograph and the brand’s Caliber B05 movement. A year later, Breitling launched the Transocean Chronograph 1915. This unique mono-pusher chronograph is equipped with the brand B14 movement, featuring a two-tiered, double-column-wheel system.

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Caitlyn is the founder of Grey Ghost, a New York City-based boutique content marketing agency with a passion for artists, entrepreneurs, small businesses, and startups. She believes in quality over quantity, creative thinking, and, above all, using language as powerful tool to build lasting connections.

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