Breitling Transocean: Elegant Retro Pilot's Watch
The retro watches in the Transocean collection feature classic designs. Defining features include polished cases and bezels. Top models come in 18-karat gold and combine a chronograph with a semi-perpetual calendar.
A Chronograph for Frequent Fliers
The intercontinental aviation industry was booming in the 1950s. More and more people could afford flights to and from the United States. Recognizing a potential audience with serious buying power, Swiss watch manufacturer Breitling launched the Transocean in 1958. Unlike the company's professional pilot's watches in the Chronomat and Navitimer collections, the Transocean has a much more classic design.
The watch was only in the Breitling catalog for a few years. In 2010, however, the Grenchen-based manufacturer relaunched the series. Just like the early models, the look of the line is characterized by polished cases and narrow bezels. Most editions are made of stainless steel; however, some models come in 18-karat gold. The collection includes three-hand watches, chronographs, world time watches, and watches with a calendar function.
Breitling usually equips the watches with an in-house caliber, but some versions of the Transocean are powered by a refined ETA movement. Nevertheless, both types of caliber are chronometer-certified by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute, or COSC.
Reasons to Buy a Breitling Transocean
- Elegant pilot's watch with retro flair
- Top models with a chronograph and perpetual calendar or world time function
- Limited editions for collectors
- Chronometer-certified calibers
- In-house calibers with a 70-hour power reserve
Prices: Breitling Transocean
|Model, reference number||Price (approx.)||Size, material, caliber|
|Transocean Chronograph Unitime, RB0510U0/A733||16,000 USD||46 mm, rose gold, B05|
|Transocean Chronograph B01, RB015212/G738||12,700 USD||43 mm, rose gold, B01|
|Transocean Day-Date, R4531012||10,100 USD||43 mm, rose gold, B45|
|Transocean Chronograph, 1461||8,200 USD||43 mm, stainless steel, B19|
|Transocean Chronograph Unitime, AB0510U4/BB62/152A||6,800 USD||46 mm, stainless steel, B05|
|Transocean Chronograph GMT, AB045112/BC67||6,500 USD||43 mm, stainless steel, B04|
|Transocean Chronograph B01, AB015212/G724||6,000 USD||43 mm, stainless steel, B01|
|Transocean Chronograph 38, A4131012/C862||4,600 USD||38 mm, stainless steel, B41|
|Transocean 38, A1631012/G781||3,800 USD||38 mm, stainless steel, B16|
|Transocean Automatic, A1036012/G721||3,200 USD||43 mm, stainless steel, B10|
How much does a Breitling Transocean cost?
A good entry point into the Transocean collection would be a stainless steel vintage model from the 1950s or 60s. Prices for well-maintained examples start at around 1,000 USD on Chrono24. Gold models and rare collector's pieces like the Transocean with the famous caliber 11 or 12 demand an investment of approximately 4,300 USD.
Models from the 2010 relaunch collection change hands for roughly 3,200 USD. This will get you a stainless steel timepiece in mint condition with three hands and a date display. You can call a stainless steel Transocean chronograph powered by the in-house caliber B01 your own for about 4,800 USD on Chrono24. For a Transocean that combines a chronograph with a GMT function, plan to shell out a solid 6,700 USD. A similar expenditure will get you the Transocean Chronograph Unitime with a world time function. If you'd prefer an edition with a complete calendar and moon phase display, be sure to set aside at least 8,200 USD.
Almost all timepieces in the collection are also available in rose gold, but for a significantly higher price, of course. Expect to pay between 6,000 and 10,000 USD more for a gold watch than for a stainless steel version.
Transocean Chronograph Unitime With a World Time Function
The Transocean Chronograph Unitime is one of the collection's top models and among Breitling's most complicated timepieces. The watch boasts a world time function in addition to its chronograph. This means the watch can display the time in 24 time zones at once, making it the perfect choice for globetrotters and international businesspeople.
The dial on the 46-mm timepiece is divided into two sections. The local time is displayed in the center, just like a conventional watch. Applied baton indices with luminous dots mark the hours. Furthermore, the chronograph subdials and date display have their place in the center of the dial. Breitling has placed the latter at 4:30, while the subdials are located at 3, 6, and 9 o'clock.
The outer part of the dial is reserved for a 24-hour ring, and a ring with the names of 24 cities from around the world, each representing a different time zone. The crown is used to set the desired time zone.
Breitling fits the watch with its in-house caliber B05, which is based on the B01. Like the B01, the B05 is chronometer-certified and comes with a power reserve of up to 70 hours.
Depending on whether you want to wear your Transocean Chronograph Unitime on a leather strap or stainless steel bracelet, set aside between 6,400 and 6,800 USD. If you'd prefer the variant in rose gold, plan to invest around 16,000 USD.
Features of the Transocean Chronograph Unitime
- Stopwatch and world time functions
- In-house caliber B05
- 46 mm in diameter
- Dial with a globe in the center
Chronograph With a Semi-Perpetual Calendar
The Breitling Transocean Chronograph 1461 is yet another top model in the line, as it combines a chronograph with a semi-perpetual calendar, also known as a leap year calendar. This rare calendar type is what gives the timepiece the number in its name, as it only requires manual correction once every 1,461 days, i.e., every four years, because it cannot account for leap years with a 29th of February. The movement also provides the watch with a moon phase display.
The source of all this functionality, the caliber B19, sits within the watch's 43-mm case. Based on the ETA 2892-A2, this movement has a 42-hour power reserve.
The watch measures 43 mm in diameter. An unworn Transocean Chronograph 1461 in stainless steel on a leather strap changes hands for roughly 8,200 USD. The version that comes on a stainless steel Milanese bracelet costs approximately 9,000 USD. A limited edition variant in 18-karat rose gold with the reference number R1931012, of which only 500 pieces were produced, demands an investment of over 21,000 USD.
Features of the Transocean Chronograph 1461
- Diameter: 43 mm
- Material: stainless steel or rose gold
- Semi-perpetual calendar with date, weekday, and month
- Moon phase display
- Chronograph function
Transocean 1915: A Monopusher Chronograph
In 2015, Breitling celebrated the 100th anniversary of the first independent chronograph push-piece with the release of the Transocean Chronograph 1915. Before the Grenchen-based manufacturer developed this mechanism, starting, stopping, and resetting the chronograph function was done with the crown.
For the Transocean Chronograph 1915, Breitling adapted the design of a bicompax chronograph released in 1915 and placed the pusher at 2 o'clock, above the crown. Other features include a 43-mm case, silver dial, date display at 6 o'clock, and luminous Arabic numerals with a vintage look. The 30-minute counter and small seconds are located at 3 and 9 o'clock, respectively.
Breitling equips this model with its manual in-house caliber B14, which provides the watch with a 70-hour power reserve.
Fittingly, the Transocean Chronograph 1915 was limited to a run of 1,915 pieces. You can call one of these your own for around 5,600 USD in mint condition.
Features of the Transocean Chronograph 1915
- Manual in-house caliber B14
- Monopusher chronograph with an independent push-piece at 2 o'clock
- Limited run of 1,915 pieces
- 43 mm in diameter
The Transocean With Three Hands
The Transocean is also available in a number of three-hand variants. The Transocean 38 measures 38 mm in diameter and therefore suits just about every wrist. The watch features an outsized date at 12 o'clock and small seconds at 6.
The collection is home to the 43-mm Transocean Date and Transocean Day-Date. The latter variant features a curved window with the weekday written out at 12 o'clock. The date is located at 3. The Transocean Date has a much more restrained design and features only a date display at 3 o'clock.
Both models come with a black or white dial and demand an investment of between 3,100 and 5,300 USD in stainless steel. The rose gold version will set you back about 10,700 USD.
Features of the Three-Hand Version of the Breitling Transocean
- 38 or 43 mm in diameter
- Available in stainless steel or gold
- Water resistant to 100 m (10 bar, 328 ft)
- Date, outsized date, or day-date display
Transocean With In-House Caliber B01
Breitling first introduced the Transocean Chronograph with the in-house caliber B01 in 2010. The watch measures 43 mm across and is available in either stainless steel or rose gold. The former come with a dial in black or white, while Breitling outfits the rose gold models with a champagne-colored dial.
The B01 provides the watch with three subdials. The stop-minute and stop-hour subdials have their place at 3 and 6 o'clock, respectively. Breitling has placed the small seconds at 9, and the date window at 4:30.
An unworn stainless steel Breitling Transocean Chronograph B01 changes hands on Chrono24 for between 4,700 and 6,000 USD, depending on the dial color and bracelet. The price point for a mint-condition model in rose gold sits at about 12,800 USD.
The 38-mm Transocean Chronograph
If 43 mm seems too big for you, check out the Transocean Chronograph 38. As the name suggests, this timepiece measures 38 mm in diameter. It's powered by the ETA-based caliber B41, which offers a power reserve of 42 hours. The date is located at 6 o'clock, while the subdials can be found at 3 and 9 o'clock.
The Transocean Chronograph 38 is available in stainless steel, rose gold, and two-tone versions with a black, white, or blue dial. Depending on the edition, expect to spend between 4,000 and 4,500 USD for an unworn watch in stainless steel. Two-tone variants come with a similar price tag. The rose gold Transocean Chronograph 38 will set you back about 12,700 USD.