It’s not uncommon for one company to make a watch with a movement sourced from another company. Take for example, Tudor and Breitling who enacted the horological equivalent of a wife swap, or in tech talk, a homepage takeover: Tudor let Breitling make a watch with its in-house movement, Calibre MT5612, and in return Breitling handed over its proprietary Calibre 01.
Breitling’s showpiece: The Breitling Superocean Heritage II
With Calibre MT5612, interpreted as Calibre B20, Breitling made the Superocean Heritage II, which comes in 42mm and 46mm sizes. With Calibre 01, interpreted as Calibre MT5813, Tudor made the Heritage Black Bay Chrono, which is 41mm in diameter and looks a bit like a Rolex Daytona save for a few details. Uncannily, both watches are rooted in heritage and linked to diving, and incidentally, the Superocean turns 60 this year.
Tudor’s showpiece: The Tudor Heritage Black Bay Chrono
The Heritage Black Bay Chrono introduces a new function to the series that is arguably incongruous to the history of the collection but Tudor addressed the issue by marketing it as a hybrid model that combines the aquatic connection of the Black Bay family with the racing tradition of the Heritage Chrono line. Fortunately, this watch is tagged to a very reasonable price: SFr4,500 (S$6,300).
For an in-house manufactured integrated and COSC-certified chronograph movement that operates on a column wheel and vertical clutch control mechanism, that is an extremely attractive proposition. In comparison, the same movement in a Breitling Chronomat will set you back by S$11,020. You do the math.
Superocean Heritage II presents a similar offer. Breitling aficionados instantly recognise the triangular hand for the hours, sword-shaped hand for the minutes and the cone-shaped hour markers, all of which are reminiscent of the 1957 model. What’s new is the ultra-hard ceramic insert on the bezel which, consistent in all self-respecting diving watches, is fluted and unidirectional. Priced at S$6,680 for the version with the steel mesh bracelet, this COSC-certified chronometer balances the hard aesthetics of a tool watch with the vintage charm of a heritage timepiece. There are variations in crocodile leather and rubber straps but it’s the mesh bracelet that everybody wants.
So which one’s better? The Tudor in Breitling’s clothing or the Breitling in Tudor’s? It’s hard to say, as both have their own strengths and weaknesses.
What can be said, though, is that this movement swap between the two brands has opened up completely new possibilities in luxury watchmaking.