When Tudor launched its Heritage Black Bay at Baselworld 2012, no-one could have imagined the success the line would achieve in the next decade.
The retro-styled dive watch helped Tudor step out of the larger-than-life shadows of its incredibly successful big brother, Rolex. In one fell swoop, the Black Bay line brought Tudor back into the reckoning as a standalone watchmaker known for its great products and helped alter perceptions that it was the “poor man’s Rolex”.
It’s unsurprising then, that Tudor chose to focus mainly on the Black Bay range in terms of novelties at the recent Watches and Wonders watch fair in Geneva. The highlights from Tudor’s releases were a smaller 37mm version of the Black Bay Diver, a facelifted Black Bay Burgundy bezel watch with METAS certification, and a new ‘opaline white’ dial variant for the Black Bay GMT.
The star of the show for enthusiasts is the Black Bay 54, a 37mm diver’s watch that is the perfect modern reinterpretation of the brand’s first-ever dive watch: The 1954 reference 7922. While the case size helps it retain the classic proportions of the past, the in-house Calibre MT5400 movement and a depth rating of 200 metres bring it up to date with contemporary specifications. Another feature that harks back to the early Fifties is the absence of graduated hash marks on the unidirectional bezel, which also adds to its cleaner aesthetics. The watch comes with a choice of a stainless steel three-link ‘rivet-style’ bracelet or a rubber strap, both with the brand’s ‘T-fit’ rapid adjustment clasp.
The next important reveal was the 41mm Black Bay with a burgundy bezel, now with a movement that is Master Chronometer-certified by METAS. While the aesthetics and bezel colour are a nod to the original Black Bay from 2012, this new release boasts superior precision and magnetic resistance thanks to the tests and certification done by the Federal Institute of Metrology or METAS and the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) on the MT5602-U movement. This model is also available with the option of a steel bracelet or a rubber strap.
The Black Bay GMT has also received an update, with the addition of a new option that gets an ‘opaline white’ dial, adding a more playful, pleasant aura in contrast with the Pepsi bezel. Tudor says the slight silvery tinge to the dial has been achieved through a galvanic process wherein a matte white-grey finish is applied to the dial, and the marker surrounds are darkened to bring about more contrast. The 41mm case is satin brushed 316L stainless steel, while the bidirectional rotating bezel gets an anodised aluminium insert in the typical GMT combination of burgundy and deep blue. The in-house MT5652 movement is COSC-certified with a silicon balance spring and a 70-hour power reserve.
Meanwhile, the steel Black Bay 31/36/39/41 line with a fixed bezel also gets some tweaks, including Manufacture Calibres and new dial colours. New for this year is a host of sunray dials in blue, anthracite, and light champagne colours, available with or without a diamond setting. The satin-brushed and polished cases in 31, 36, 39 or 41mm are all made from 316L stainless steel. All the in-house Calibres, MT5201 in the 31mm, MT5400 in the 36mm, MT5602 in the 39mm, and MT5601 in the 41mm are COSC-certified with silicon balance springs.
All these Black Bay launches came just days after the opening of the new Tudor Manufacture in the Le Locle, outside Geneva. Neighbouring some of the world’s leading luxury watch brands and boasting state of the art technology alongside world-class craftsmanship, Tudor is clearing raising the barre and proving that, while it will always remain a sister brand to Rolex, it is now ready to go it alone.
For more details visit www.tudorwatch.com