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WATCH REVIEW Breitling Superocean Nouvelle Vague

Editor's opinion
70 / 100
While the Breitling brand is usually associated with the world of aviation, it doesn't  mean that it neglects the diving community! TWO has tested for you the Superocean Nouvelle Vague. Review.
Straight to the Point

Breitling Superocean Nouvelle Vague

Ref.: Superocean Nouvelle Vague
$2,200.00 US retail price June 20th, 2011
  • its versatility
  • a record water-resistance in this price range
  • possible personalization of the watch thanks to a wide variety of straps and flange colors
  • a good deal for the price
  • the bezel’s design unsuitable for a genuine diving watch
  • the lack of an extension for the bracelet
Brand Breitling
Model name
Superocean Nouvelle Vague
Superocean Nouvelle Vague
Case material
Case diameter (without crown)
42 mm
Case diameter (crown included)
45.82 mm
Movement type
Breitling Calibre 17
Base Caliber
ETA 2824
Helium release valve
Camberred sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on both sides
Power reserve
Transparent back
Lug width
19.89 mm
Length from lug to lug
49.38 mm
Case thickness
15.47 mm
Clasp type
Pin buckle
Clasp material
Total weight
129 grams
Retail price USA at June 20th, 2011
Comfort (/15) 14
Movement (/20) 10
Movement Optimisation / Garnishment (/5) 2
Ease of handling and adjustment (/5) 4
Movement control proceeded by the Manufacture / horlogical awards (/3) 2
Power reserve (/2) 1
Complications (/5) 1
Finishing (/20) 12
Dial finishing (/6) 4
Case finishing (/6) 3
Quality of garnishment / caseback engraving quality (/2) 1
Crystal quality (/4) 3
Clasp finishing (inner and extern) (/2) 1
Functionality (/20) 16
Diurnal legibility (/5) 4
Night legibility (/4) 3
Water resistance (/3) 3
Strap : ease of size adjustment + ease of substitution (/4) 2
Clasp : quality and safety (/4) 4
Additional items (/10) 4
Limited edition (/3) 0
Watch delivered with several straps (/2) 0
Quality of the watch box (/1) 1
Portability with shirtsleeves buttoned (/2) 1
Goodies included (/1) 1
Understandability of the brochure (/1) 1
Value for money (/15) 14
When to wear it ? For holidays in the Mauritius Islands!
Users opinion
like this watch
Do you like this watch?


At first glance, we might be surprised by a Breitling special series dedicated to diver’s watches.
For most connoisseurs, Breitling is indeed synonymous with chronographs for pilots, such as the famous Navitimer (tested by The Watch Observer).

But it would be a mistake to assume that the brand is exclusively targeting pilots (or anybody who wants us to believe that they are pilots).
There is in fact a Breitling series dedicated to the world of sea diving that has been in existence for many years.
The very first Superocean even came out in 1957!

The model tested today is the 2010 vintage, called “Nouvelle Vague” after the updating of its design.

A great quality of production

The bulk of the modifications were made to the dial which was completely updated with large applied hourmarkers and a steel bezel with a rubber molding from a casting.

We should note that this “face-lift” really marks a new direction for Breitling, abandoning certain design elements that have been emblematic of the brand, such as the bezel’s riders (the small metal outgrowths placed over the bezel’s markers).

Some will complain that this new style is less identifiable with the brand, while others will appreciate the less typical design.

In any case, while the watch still has an “adventurer” look to it, this Superocean Nouvelle Vague now seems to have become more civilized than its predecessor.

Its new black dial has a granulated texture with the reflecting light producing wonderful lighting effects echoing the sanded surfaces of the applied markers.

The overall finish is quite good and rather unexpected for a diving watch in this particular price range.

The finish on the bezel is particularly well done.
This is not just a simple layer of rubber placed on a smooth surface which could quickly get worn down and damaged.
The steel bezel is machined (carved) to make the different markings visible, and it is then filled-in with the rubber molding from a casting.
The layer of rubber is thus very thick and should be very resistant to usual wear-and-tear in the long-run.

Beyond the look, this rubber coating can also absorb small shocks and minimize the risk of scratches from normal use.

We should also point out that this bezel is attached to the case with six lateral screws to prevent any possibility of being inconveniently torn off.

Movement: caliber 17

For the movement, Breitling uses its traditional Caliber 17 – which is just an ETA 2824 updated to chronometer quality.

The new modifications focus primarily on the search for the best accuracy possible, including the replacement of the barrel spring, the centering of the hairspring, and the 5-position setting.

Like all other Breitling watches, the Superocean Nouvelle Vague is COSC-certified (Contrôle Officiel des Chronomètres Suisses).

When worn, the tested watch was ahead by only 2 to 3 seconds per day!

In Everyday Life

There are numerous options with regards to the strap.

Indeed, aside from the classic “professional” steel bracelet with its three diagonal links (see photograph), the Superocean is also available with two different rubber straps, including the new “diver pro II”, which was used on the tested model.

The comfort on the wrist is excellent thanks to the Breitling‘s diameter and limited weight.

The watch’s thickness is also very reasonable (15.47mm) for a watch that is water-resistant at 1,500 meters.

The steel strap is ideal for urban sports activities on solid ground, and it gives the watch a certain “dressy” feel by making it wearable with a suit and tie.

The comfort on the wrist is excellent thanks to the Breitling's diameter and limited weight.

On the other hand, it is advantageously replaced with a rubber option for diving excursions.
Indeed, the steel strap’s length cannot be adjusted without a tool, and it doesn’t have any extensions that make it possible to be worn over a wet suit.

The watch was tested in five leisure dives, in depth between 20 and 25 meters.
While the Superocean has accomplished its goal without balking, it has also demonstrated its main flaw: the absence of lighted marks on the bezel to note the beginning of the dive.

This is not a crippling problem (the underwater readability remains acceptable) but it is a shame since this is a purely esthetic choice made by Breitling that essentially prevents the watch from being compliant with the ISO-6425 norms that properly define diving watches…

The bezel is nevertheless pleasant to adjust underwater thanks to its very pronounced notching, and the strap’s “secured” pin buckle also inspire confidence.

To see a video of this Breitling Superocean Nouvelle Vague (or click HERE if you are unable to access the linked video)

What to remember

With this Superocean Nouvelle Vague, Breitling offers us a diving watch endowed with numerous qualities.
Nicely finished, pleasant to wear, and a great bargain for the price, the watch is a great choice for any connoisseur not looking for a professional diving watch, but rather, a sports watch also customized to be used in water, while still wearable in social events.


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