Back in April, Breitling launched its new Superocean Heritage ’57 Limited Edition via webcast, a first for the company as a result of the near-global lockdown. The piece must have been in development for some time yet seemed to have added significance, at least here in the UK, due to its rainbow-coloured design – mirroring the livery of NHS posters and badges aimed at showing support for frontline health workers.
Fittingly, Breitling has announced a new limited edition of that watch, the Superocean Heritage ’57 Limited Edition II, where part of the proceeds from sales will be donated to charities supporting healthcare workers in various countries, including the UK.
The new version, costing £3,990 and sporting a blue dial, is limited to 1,000 pieces and as well as donations from sales, Breitling is giving an additional £842 (CHF1,000) to the chosen charities for each of the first 100 Superocean Heritage ’57 Limited Edition II watches sold via its website.
This means Breitling donates just shy of £421,000, split equally among six charities: in France, Fondation de France, Italy’s Humanitas hospital group, Japan’s National Centre for Global Health and Medicine, the Spanish Ministry of Health, Direct Relief in the USA and, in the UK, NHS Charities Together (which itself has already raised over £100 million to combat coronavirus). Predicting this limited edition watch will sell out, Breitling says its donations were made immediately upon the announcement of the new watch.
For those interested in the watch, as well as the causes to which it contributes, the 42mm Superocean Heritage ’57 Limited Edition II itself comes in a stainless-steel case with bidirectional rotting bezel inlayed blue ceramic to complement that blue dial. Water resistant to 100m, the hour markers and the hour and minute hands are coated with Super-LumiNova in a rainbow graduation of yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet, red and orange.
Should the Milanese Ocean Classic stainless-steel bracelet not be to your taste, then the watch is also available with a gold-brown vintage-inspired leather strap with pin or folding buckle. And if you require a splash more colour beyond the rainbow indices, you can match the Superocean Heritage ’57 Limited Edition II to an Outerknown ECONYL yarn NATO strap, available separately in blue, light blue, yellow, grey, red and green.
The launch comes as the watch industry globally is being hit severely by the coronavirus pandemic. Many of the Swiss factories closed mid-March, with a good number of brands still not being able to offer e-commerce sales as retailers remain shut.
In March, Swiss watch exports dropped 21.9 per cent by value compared with the previous year, with the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry adding there would be “a probable deterioration in April”. Worst still, this huge drop globally is only half that in Hong Kong, Switzerland’s number one market for watch exports last year, which saw a decline of 41.3 per cent.
Jeremy White is WIRED’s executive editor. He tweets from @jeremywired
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