Breitling, a Watch with a Mission

The name Breitling has long been synonymous with pilot watches. And for sure, the brand’s Navitimer timepieces enjoy a special place in the world of fine watches. That being said, Breitling also has an incredible range of sea-themed timepieces, those that celebrate land exploration and even a range of watches for professionals.

Early last year, Breitling took steps to rebrand itself and re-emphasize its all-encompassing nature. To help the brand establish its refreshed identity, it introduced its squad concept: three-person groups whose members forge strong bonds and work together toward a common goal. These aren’t your ordinary brand ambassadors; each team is a #SquadOnAMission.

We had the opportunity to see just what such a squad represents and, more importantly, what they can achieve when Breitling’s surfers squad arrived in Bali last May. This trio includes pro surfers Kelly Slater, Sally Fitzgibbons, and Stephanie Gilmore. Their mission was to further their and the brand’s commitment to clean oceans and beaches, as well as to introduce a special timepiece: The Superocean Heritage Ocean Conservancy Limited Edition.

Time On The Oceans

The aforementioned commemorative timepiece celebrates the partnership between Breitling and Ocean Conservancy, an organization dedicated to protecting the world’s oceans that is known for its pragmatic approach, exceptional leadership and unwavering commitment for the past 40 years.

The Superocean Heritage Ocean Conservancy Limited Edition is a chronograph powered by the Breitling Caliber 13 mechanical movement. As a bona fide diving watch, it boasts an ultra- hard scratch- and shock-resistant unidirectional rotating bezel.

A luminescent central dot at the 12 o’clock position along with the minutes and hours hands are coated with Super-LumiNova to ensure legibility under low light conditions. Interestingly, at night or deep below the surface, the watch will emit a blue light instead of the standard green.

Encasing the watch is a 44mm stainless steel case. Turn the case around and you will see the most distinguishing mark of theSuperocean Heritage Ocean Conservancy Limited Edition. The caseback of this numbered limited edition watch is adorned with the Ocean Conservancy logo along with its number—“out of 1000.”

Rounding out the watch’s presentation is a pair of NATO straps made of ECONYL yarn, an innovative material repurposed from nylon waste, one source of which is fishing nets from oceans around the world. As a side note, this material was first used by Breitling for the strap of the Superocean Heritage II Chronograph 44 Outerknown, which was launched in collaboration with sustainable clothing brand Outerknown. Surfers squad member Kelly Slater is the co-founder of Outerknown.

Last but definitely not least, the packaging for the Superocean Heritage Ocean Conservancy Limited Edition is 100-percent made out of recycled material.

Looking to the Future

Breitling and its surfers squad didn’t come all the way to Bali just to launch a watch, however. See, according to Ocean Conservancy’s Nicholas Mallos, the amount of plastic waste that flows into the ocean is a full garbage truck per minute, every day of the year. And this at a time when we become increasingly reliant on the oceans for everything from food to leisure.

So, the launch of the Superocean Heritage Ocean Conservancy Limited Edition in Bali started with a morning spent cleaning up Mertasari Beach in Sanur. The surfers squad, a large group of guests and media, along with local volunteers and school children toiled under the sun to collect plastic bottles, cigarette butts, and other bits of refuse littering the beach.

Interestingly, what seemed to really impress the three world-class surfers and most of the international guests was the unbridled earnestness of the young school children participating in the event. And perhaps this is exactly the point. Beach cleanup days are not so much a direct effort to remove trash from the coastlines as it is a measure to instill a new respect for the sea among youngsters and make picking up trash a lifelong habit.

For me it’s something as simple as being down at the event this morning and seeing all the school children,” said Stephanie Gilmore. “You know they’re all excited and they probably don’t really know what’s going on or they don’t quite understand until they’re on the beach picking up rubbish. And I really think that’s where it starts. Now they go to the beach and they’ll probably—for the rest of their lives—see trash and pick it up.

This was a notion echoed by fellow surfers squad member Fally Fitzgibbons. And Kelly Slater, who always referred to the ocean as his “office,” added: “For sure working with the youth is super important. Planting good seeds in their mind and they’ll think of things further beyond what we can think of to help the world.”