A timepiece reveals so much about its wearer. In this regard, the tenor of this column is as much about fine watchmaking as it is about observing time and how we choose to spend it. I rented a cozy beach house in Kommetjie last week to clear the head while catching up on work. A flâneur needs the occasional breather and salt in the air does a very fine job of shifting the gears and adjusting the clock. Swapping pavements for white sand, within a day I was rising and retreating with the sun.
We have some of the most magnificent coastlines in the world and Kommetjie’s Long Beach is no exception. What better way to indulge these glorious autumn days in the Cape? The cold, nutrient-rich Benguela current feeds the phytoplankton and kelp forests on the west coast and, at this time of the year, there are extensive deposits of its lanky brown fronds washed up on the beaches after storms. Apart from piles of seaweed, this has to be one of the most pristine stretches of coastline within 50km of Cape Town. Local residents plan to keep it that way, as became clear on my morning runs, evening walks and from the post-election day Beach Cleanup.
Alas, we conscientious citizens are way outnumbered by the semi-conscious around the world who contribute to the horrid plastic pollution along our coastlines. With far too much waste for governments or local authorities to deal with on their own, it’s up to companies and individuals, particularly the more famous ones, to create global awareness and throw their weight behind cleanups.
Breitling launched the SuperOcean Heritage Ocean Conservancy Limited Edition in Bali last week with the support of its world champ “Surfers Squad” of Kelly Slater, Sally Fitzgibbons and Stephanie Gilmore. Working with Ocean Conservancy, Breitling organised a beach cleanup with hundreds of volunteers for the launch of the chronograph and to highlight its participation in the conservation group’s programmes to ensure the future health of the oceans.
The original SuperOcean diver’s watch was launched in 1957 for professional and recreational divers, taking its name from the superocean that once surrounded Pangaea before continental drift began millions of years ago. At 44mm in diameter, this stainless steel special edition is more Pacific Ocean than Mediterranean Sea in size and although the design is elegantly executed, it certainly makes a bold statement on even the most manly wrist. Distinguishing features include the Ocean Conservancy logo, a halo of marine life and the limited-edition numbering on the case back, as well as the blue “SuperOcean” inscription on its asymmetrical silver dial. Celebrating the ocean, blue is also accentuated in the scratch- and shock-proof unidirectional rotating ceramic bezel with a luminescent central dot at 12 o’clock, central second hand and subdials. The dot and the minute and hour hands are coated with Super-LumiNova, which glows blue in the dark, rather than the standard green.
Adding a chronograph complication with its relating pushers to a diver’s watch presents some design challenges for extreme water resistance, however, the SuperOcean is pretty well equipped to 200m. This is beyond the requirement of its ISO2281 certification although maybe not as impressive as the 1 000m water resistance of Breitling’s time-date only SuperOcean II 44 or the 2 000m capacity of its SuperOcean Automatic 46 Blacksteel “ultimate diving” watches. The chronograph, with its day-date window at 3 o’clock, is powered by Breitling’s Caliber 13 automatic movement, based on a Valjoux 7750 COSC-certified for extreme accuracy.
Completing the special edition are striped and plain blue pairs of satin Nato straps made from Econyl yarn, a material repurposed from nylon waste, such as abandoned fishing nets. This is not the first time we have seen a collaboration between Breitling and Slater. Last year, they partnered through the surf legend’s sustainable clothing brand Outerknown, which uses Econyl in the manufacture of its apparel. The gorgeous special-edition black DLC-coated stainless steel SuperOcean Héritage II Chronograph 44 Outerknown, with its deep blue dial, was an obvious hit last year, retailing at around R104 100.
The Breitling SuperOcean Heritage Ocean Conservancy Limited Edition is limited to 1 000 watches, retailing at R93 100 with a portion of the sales going to Ocean Conservancy for its global fight against ocean pollution. All packaging is also made from 100% recycled material. Breitling Boutique in Johannesburg, Sandton 011-883-2286