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THE BREITLING SUPEROCEAN VS THE LIV GX DIVER'S AUTOMATIC

AN IN-DEPTH COMPARISON

Breitling Superocean photo credit: breitling.com

Breitling Superocean photo via: breitling.com

For this comparison, we'll explore the GX-Diver's against the Breitling Superocean Heritage 42. If a diver's watch is on your radar and you are considering a Breitling, make this review part of your research.
the first Breitling Superocean photo credit: breitling.com

Photo via: breitling.com

A SHORT HISTORY OF THE BREITLING SUPEROCEAN

Breitling has a dive watch? Don't they specialize in pilot watches? The answer to both these questions is, "Yes."
 
Leon Breitling founded his namesake company in 1884. His watches quickly became known for their quality and precision. During the Great War, aviators found reliable and easy-to-read watches indispensable. Watchmakers on both sides of the conflict stepped in to fulfill this need, including Breitling.
 
Following the end of WWI, Leon's grandson Willy focused the company on becoming the watch of choice for aviators. Breitling's aviator-centric design included a rotating slide rule that made the calculation of airspeed and fuel consumption faster and easier. Military and civilian aviators flew to the design (pun intended). Eventually, the company was awarded a contract to supply the Royal Air Force with watches for their aircrews. Breitling timepieces continue to be the grail watch for many pilots today.
 

THE BREITLING SUPEROCEAN

Breitling's goal in the 1950s was to offer a rugged, easy-to-use diver's watch. It featured large luminous hands and a triangle of luminous material in the rotating bezel. This simple layout made it easy to tell elapsed time while at depth. Since that time, the Superocean range has been refined and the diver's watch offering from Breitling has continued to expand.
 
The Superocean Heritage 42 is a no-frills, capable diver's watch. When compared to the original Superocean introduced in 1957, it echoes the original design well, hence the moniker of "Heritage."
 
The Heritage 42 carries forward the same minimalist layout. The original dished bezel has been replaced with a flat ceramic upgrade that features additional lume at the hour positions, retaining the triangle at the 12 o'clock position. The dial still eschews the use of numerals in favor of slim triangles and simple dashes to mark hours and minutes. Luminous material is applied in small circles at all hour positions except 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock.
 

Here are some key features of the Superocean Heritage 42:

 

  - Breitling B20 automatic movement, 26 jewels, adapted from a movement built by sister company, Tudor.

  - Screw-down gasketed crown and case back.

  - Braided mesh stainless steel bracelet.

current Breitling Superocean photo credit: breitling.com

Photo via: breitling.com

THE LIV GX-DIVER'S

The GX-Diver's by LIV Watches ticks all the boxes for a diver's watch, including design, style, quality, and reliability. The timepiece has been a top seller for the company since its introduction. And for good reason. The GX-Diver's punches so far above its weight, it is awe-inspiring. Okay, that's over the top. But, when you see the head-to-head comparison in the next section, the GX-Diver's more than holds its own.
 
True to their DNA, LIV has upped the ante with this timepiece's design. A multi-layer dial is richly embossed with a wave pattern, grabbing your attention immediately. Taking the design even further, the GX-Diver's is available in several dial and bezel colors and offers a wide selection of band and strap options.
 
A sampling of its notable features includes:
 
    •   - The top-shelf 25-jewel, ETA automatic caliber 2824-2 powers this timepiece.
    •   - A date is displayed at the 3 o'clock position using a black background with white numerals.
    •   - A skeleton case back with a sapphire crystal shows off the 2824-2 to perfection.
The case and bracelet of the GX-Diver's are machined from solid 316L stainless steel for corrosion resistance and reduction or elimination of allergic reactions by wearers. It is the same alloy used in surgical implants. Luxurious ionic plating is available in either charcoal or silver-gray.

The bezel is constructed from either matte or gloss ceramic precisely fitted into a 316L steel ring. Generous amounts of BGW9 Super Luminova lume are applied at the minute markers, starting at 20 minutes on the matte bezels to assist in timing decompression, keeping tabs on oxygen reserve, and other dive functions. The gloss ceramic bezels feature lume at all minute positions.

An Arabic 12 and 6 are cut out of the dial with a contrasting color behind the numbers, providing a distinctive and easy-to-read visual. Small domes mark the remaining hour positions with the exception of a slender rectangle at 3 and 9 o'clock. BGW9 lume is used in each position for maximum visibility at depth and at night.

 

The GX-Diver's provides many more options in colorways and straps. Black, cobalt blue, signature orange, TJ Blue, and full-lume dial choices are available.

 

In addition to the 316L stainless steel bracelet, strap options include hand-curated leathers with contrasting stitching, NATO nylon, and black rubber.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

In keeping with our series of watch comparisons, here is the side-by-side look at several key specifications. How do you think the two will match up? Read on and see.
Specifications Breitling Superocean Heritage 42 LIV Watches GX-Diver's

Automatic movement

Yes

Yes

Movement caliber

Breitling B20

ETA 2824-2

Power reserve

70 hours

40 hours

Date display

Yes - 6 o'clock

Yes - 3 o'clock

Ceramic uni-directional bezel

Yes

Yes - 120-click, BGW9 lume

Case diameter

42 mm

41 mm

Water resistance

200 meters/660 feet

300 meters/1000 feet

Helium release valve

No

No

Screw down crown

Yes

Yes

Screw down case back

Yes

Yes - skeleton

Stainless steel case and bracelet

Yes - mesh

Yes - link - 316L

High-grade anti-reflective sapphire crystal

Yes

Yes - face and case back

3D multi-layer dial

No

Yes

Numbered limited edition

No

Yes

Warranty

5 years

5 years

THE BOTTOM LINE

After matching up the specifications, here's how things shake out, at least in my opinion.

 

The Breitling Superocean, like all luxury name brands, gets credit for a long and storied history. Watch geeks, collectors and fans may have a Breitling on their grail list. That's understandable.

 

The Superocean also gets high marks for its in-house caliber, the B20. With a 70-hour power reserve and COSC rating, it is an exceptional movement.

 

The GX-Diver's more than matches up in every category save these two (though the ETA movement used is an industry-standard and is highly respected) and gets top points for style and design. Its dial is far more interesting and intricate, and the skeleton case back with sapphire crystal enables its owners to show off the workhorse ETA 2824-2 movement. I've always wondered why companies like Breitling hide their movements behind a solid case back. Why not show them off? Cost savings?

 

The GX-Diver's also is rated to 300 m water resistance vs 200 m for the Breitling. So, if you want to dive deeper, the GX-Diver's takes you there.

 

Now that the topic of cost has been broached, here are the respective MSRPs at the time this article was written:

 

  - Breitling Superocean Heritage 42 - $5,100.00

  - LIV Watches GX-Diver's - $690.00

 

Fun with math time, or fun with Excel at least. Let's divide the cost of the Breitling by that of the GX-Diver's: $5100/$690 = 7.39. Translated, this means for the price of a single Superocean, you can buy seven GX-Diver's and get change back. With this kind of ratio, you can get a different GX-Diver's for every day of the week.

 

Of course, that might seem excessive. However, it underscores what LIV Watches is all about; create and deliver premium Swiss Made timepieces at prices just about everyone can afford.

Breitling superocean and liv gx diver's side by side photo

Photo via: breitling.com

SELECT REVIEWS OF THE LIV GX DIVER'S AUTOMATIC

"I have to say, I was going to buy a Tag and came across these watches. I bought it out of the thought that to wear every day, it was better to bang up a $700 watch than a $2300 watch. I can’t imagine that a Tag can be any more well made than this diver from Liv. Fit and finish it is really an exceptional piece of craftsmanship. Very pleased I went this direction. "
 
- Jon W. US
 
 
"I spent quite a bit of time educating myself on the attributes which define a quality timepiece: movement, complexity, functions, materials, durability, and so on. Getting a balanced combination of each of these attribute always seemed to demand a price which required taking out a second mortgage. Then, I came across LIV. After doing my research I went all in and purchased three watches in one each from a different collection. An auto 42mm diver, quarts rebel, and quarts GX1. All three got here within 2 days of order, each with a quality box and serialized papers. The finish and function of each have exceeded all expectations. The Chrono pushers are crisp and distinctive, the rotating bezel on the diver clicks clean and lume on all three is comparable to significantly more expensive pieces. Most watch for your money available!"
 
- Mitchell C. US