Diver’s watch. Pilot’s watch. Driver’s fake watch. Astronaut watch.
Horology has a bit of a thing for high end replica watches with jobs, especially jobs of a Boy’s Own bent. Partly that’s because, in those sepia-tinged days when men were ‘Men’, these Biggles types genuinely needed super-accurate timekeeping to do their jobs properly.
Now, of course, computers do all that work. And, as mechanical copy watches online have become more akin to exquisitely engineered jewellery than genuine tools, their makers have devoted ever more narrative space to their toolishness in an effort to ensure you feel like Jacques Cousteau every time you strap on a Submariner.
Now, there is no such category as a ‘police watch’, although there are a handful of brands who have specialised in copy watches for sale for law enforcement, including Luminox (which supplied the NYPD alongside a number of US military units) and Smith and Bradley, founded by an ex-Chicago cop. Generally, though, modern police officers aren’t provided with luxury copy watches and so opt for something tough, cheap, and reliable.
G-Shocks, Casios and Timexes abound.
Which makes a watch that’s up for auction on Thursday 23 November particularly notable.
A cheap fake Breitling SuperOcean Heritage that was specially commissioned for members of the Metropolitan Police’s Specialist Firearms Command. That’s the elite, rifle-toting unit that deals with armed robberies, hostage situations, and terrorist attacks.
The owner of this particular Swiss made replica Breitling was one of the first officers on the scene of the 2017 Westminster Terror Attack, and his name and shoulder number are engraved on the reverse.
On the dial, you’ll find other unique details; the numerals ‘XIX’ beneath the high quality fake Breitling logo, in reference to the unit’s MO19 designation; a yellow ’19’ picked out on the chapter ring, which also nods to the yellow stickers in the windows of Armed Response Vehicles; and a Trojan helmet, as the unit is nicknamed the Trojans.
On the caseback, as well as the unique identifying details, there’s also an engraving of the unit’s coat of arms.
The aaa quality replica Breitling was commissioned in 2022 from Andre Michael’s in Hatton Garden, and comes with its original box and papers, as well as a letter of provenance from the owner. Though it was never worn on duty, it was one of only 40 that were made available for purchase exclusively by serving MO19 officers.
Even though it’s never been on the beat, the Specialist Firearms Command Swiss movement copy Breitling SuperOcean Heritage is built to take a beating. Inspired by the brand’s first diver, 1957’s SuperOcean, it was originally released in 2007 to mark the model’s 50th anniversary.
It’s good down to 200m (handy in case any criminals get up to monkey business beneath the waves) and is powered by the high quality copy Breitling 20 movement, which is a tweaked Tudor that’s COSC-certified and will tick on, unwound, for 70 hours.
The dial is, of course, the same blue as the MO19 uniforms. Not exactly a thin blue line, more a thick blue unidirectional bezel.
The best quality replica Breitling is being sold by Fellows Auctioneers, who are listing it with an estimate of £4,500 to £6,500, part of an auction of fine watches that also includes an Omega SAS Seamaster, crafted for members of another elite British institution. Perfect for making your wrist feel extra manly even if the riskiest your job gets is carrying three teas back from the office kitchen.