Baselworld 2017. Game on for the opening hostilities and fresh new finds. The House of Tudor unveiled their new pieces today and there are a number of surprises in the air. The already big Black Bay family…is getting bigger. We couldn’t be happier. The modifications are subtle but engender a number of changes. Allow me to explain…
Tudor Heritage Black Bay Steel: Date & bezel in brushed steel
A steel bezel with an engraved scale, marked by a red triangle. We find the line of red text cherished by collectors, and until now was only found as an addition to the triangle on the Black Bay Dark. We’re smitten. A brushed steel bezel that gives this Black Bay a more functional allure that almost reminds us of certain “faded” Sub inserts, washed out by time, the sun, salt and infinite plunges.
The new changes on the Black Bay Steel is not limited only to its bezel but also includes the addition of a window date display at 3 o’clock. No cyclops here, but a white date disk and black numerals that are clear and do their job.
The proportions remain the same: 41mm in diameter with a satin-polished finish, a “snowflake” hour hand and large circled markers.
The caliber of the Tudor manufacturer MT5612 is a caliber with 3 gauge needles. Date, 26 rubies, and a power reserve of approximately 70 hours (which is above average, generally around 42 hours). The movement has a chronometer certification by COSC standards, and this is clearly written on the dial, naturally.
3300 EUR with a leather strap
3600 EUR with a steel strap
Tudor Heritage Black Bay Chrono: The big block is (not) back
We have before us the talking piece dividing all opinion. The Black Bay family has now officially adopted its first chronograph. A brushed steel bezel with an engraved tachymetric scale and two horizontally-aligned subdials for a clean uncluttered bi-compax look. A small date completes this enticing picture at 6 o’clock.
The pushers are screwed-down, in the “Big Block” fashion and obviously remind us of this model.
The elements that divide are numerous, and we are going to give our honest opinion about this. Some speak of unbalanced proportions when looking at the pushers and the crown, as well as the presence of the snowflake hand and dive-style markers on a chronograph…
Here’s what we think:
The Black Bay Chrono works well, very well, and for numerous reasons: we’re not dealing with a Monte-Carlo Chronograph, nor a Big Block, but a Black Bay Chronograph. Period. No frustration.
We understand the confusion for those who are left feeling dissatisfied with this tachymetric scale which belongs more at the races then underwater, of course. Having said that, it works, like an Aquastar Deepstar chronograph for example with its graduated diver bezel. Perhaps what the watch is missing could be some illuminated point of reference that would allow the bezel to have real usefulness during underwater exploration. It’s true.
The snowflake hour hand is extremely easy-to-read and preserves the Black Bay DNA. Let’s face it gents, without it, the watch would no longer be considered Black Bay. As for the screwed-down pushers and the crown, they are marvelously user-friendly and function well.
Tudor’s chronograph caliber MT5813 is a chronograph movement with a chronometer certification by COSC. Developed in collaboration with Breitling, it possesses a 70-hour power reserve as well at a beating rhythm at 28’800 A/h.
A chrono that essentially enriches this big Black Bay family in a beautiful way. For us personally, it could’ve been a bit smaller and finer in size, but the proportions are nice once you put it on your wrist. We’ll go so far as to say that this engraved brushed steel bezel gives the impression of a slimmer bezel, hence visually amplifying the dial. This brings a certain degree of clarity to the table, and that in terms of proportions slim the whole. A very nice touch.
An aggressive positioning of price for a chronograph equipped with a caliber that is chronometer certified, anti-magnetic, and water-resistant up to 200m. All of this from an illustrious historic brand. We don’t know many competitors that are as versatile and serious as they are in this price range…
4500 EUR with a leather strap
4800 EUR with a steel strap
Tudor Heritage Black Bay S&G: BB goes “fancy”
This Black Bay is not only wearing new gold, but is also sporting a new date display. Subtle hints of yellow gold on the case since it’s only visible on the bezel and the crown, but in a very visible way when focusing on these parts of the watch. It’s more discreet on the dial with gilded inscriptions, minutes markers, hands and circling of the markers.
When we opt for the two-tone strap, we’re obviously taking a more committed stance. On a fabric strap, on the other hand, the watch is barely noticeable!
A model that certainly will attract markets with “opulent” tastes like India and the Middle East, but not only. We have here a piece that one can easily wear with “subtle” touches of yellow gold that elegantly dresses this new Black Bay. Attention all Dandy-Adventurers, this piece if definitely for you!
3600 EUR with a leather strap
4750 EUR with a steel strap
Tudor Heritage Black Bay 41: BB 36 all grown up
The Tudor Heritage Black Bay 36 was one of our favourite pieces at Baselworld 2016. A model that has grown a whole 5mm, all the while keeping the aesthetic codes of its little sister.
A Black Bay just as functional and clear as its diver friends, but a bit more formal and a tad less sporty with its smooth bezel non-graduated that naturally doesn’t rotate.
Equipped with a caliber 2824 of a power reserve at 38 hours, this is the entry level Black Bay. A useful watch, robust, clear, and can adapt to a suit just as easily as it can to a jungle situation.
With a new 41mm opening, this piece will surely seduce those who wish to have a bit more presence on the wrist. At the same time it’ll allow you, who had so thoughtfully purchased a BB36 for your wife, to stop “borrowing” it against her will each morning before going to work!
2500 EUR with a leather strap
2800 EUR with a steel strap
A Black Bay collection that has expanded in a coherent way. Three gauge hands, chronograph, divers, there enough here for all different tastes and almost all different budgets. Very attractive pricing given the quality of the products presented, robust and reliable with pure, simple, and relatively timeless designs. Hopefully the market will follow this example – a simple and reliable manufacture that is once again affordable for the mid-level executive willing to pay a bit more. We will see if this is true in the next few days…