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Tudor-Black-Bay-Collection

The Tudor Black Bay Collection

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Without doubt, one of the biggest success stories from any luxury watchmaker in recent years, the Tudor Black Bay collection has been a sales phenomenon since its introduction in 2012.

Drawing on the brand’s own storied heritage, the collection combines the handsome, no-nonsense aesthetics of true tool watches with the very latest technology in both materials and movements.

It is a series which has continued to grow, adding different versions and complications, until it has become an eclectic yet stylistically coherent family.

Below, we guide you through the entire Black Bay lineup and take a look at the features and options of each one.

 

Tudor-Black-Bay-79230B

The Tudor Black Bay

Key Features
Case Size 41mm
Materials Steel/Ceramic
Functions Time w/Running Seconds
Dial Black
Bezel Unidirectional. Black/Blue/Burgundy. Ceramic or Steel w/Anodized Aluminum Insert
Crystal Domed Sapphire
Movement Tudor Manufacture MT5602. 70-Hour Power Reserve
Bracelet Steel Bracelet. Fabric/Leather strap
Water Resistance 200m

The history of the Tudor Black Bay starts in 2012 when Tudor released the Heritage Black Bay, a 41mm dive watch that set the blueprint for pretty much everything that followed.

Looks-wise, it was immediately obvious the brand had sought to recreate the visuals of some of their own biggest hitters from the mid-20th century period, and specifically their Submariner references of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s. So, we Tudor created a nicely rounded, tonneau-style case, the big crown (sans guard), gilt markers, chapter ring, domed crystal, 200m resistance, and, of course, the Snowflake hands.

The debut piece came with an unconventional burgundy bezel and was followed up in 2014 and 2015 with blue and black examples, respectively.

Having dropped the ‘Heritage’ tag from the name to be known simply as the Black Bay Collection, the best thing about the range is the upgrade to their in-house movements from the original’s ETA calibers.

A range of beautiful, practical tool watches with plenty of vintage touches, the newest addition is something of an outlier; an all-ceramic model in stealthy black that won the ‘Petite Aiguille’ Prize at the 2021 GPHG.

Tudor-Black-Bay-Pelagos-25600TB

The Tudor Black Bay Date

Key Features
Case Size 41mm
Materials Steel/Steel & Gold (S&G)
Functions Time w/Running Seconds. Date Display
Dial Black/Gold
Bezel Unidirectional. Yellow Gold w/Black Anodized Aluminum Insert, or Engraved Steel
Crystal Domed Sapphire
Movement Tudor Manufacture MT5612. 70-Hour Power Reserve
Bracelet Steel or S&G Bracelet. Fabric/Leather strap
Water Resistance 200m

No prizes for guessing the main technical difference between the Black Bay and Black Bay Date collections.

Powered by another manufacture caliber, the MT5612, this series adds a date display at the three o’clock. But there are other distinctions as well.

The range basically breaks down into two types: those with and without bezel inserts. Those with inserts are made in Tudor’s S&G combination, featuring a steel case with a yellow gold bezel, winding crown and, for those models fitted with metal bracelets, inner links. These can be had with either a black dial or a gold dial very reminiscent of the Serti dials used by Rolex on their Submariner and GMT-Master models in the 1970s, minus the diamond indexes.

The other style has their dive numerals engraved directly into the steel of the bezel itself, giving a tougher, more old school vibe. These models all have black dials.

 

Tudor-Black-Bay-Fifty-Eight-79030B

The Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight

Key Features
Case Size 39mm
Materials Bronze/Gold/Silver/Steel
Functions Time w/Running Seconds
Dial Brown-Bronze/Green/Taupe/Blue/Black
Bezel Unidirectional. Bronze/Green/Taupe/Blue/Black
Crystal Domed Sapphire
Movement Tudor Manufacture MT5400/MT5402. 70-Hour Power Reserve
Bracelet Bronze/Steel Bracelet. Fabric/Leather strap
Water Resistance 200m

If the triumphant arrival of the first of the Black Bay watches took the industry by surprise, then the unqualified success of the Fifty-Eight series probably shocked even Tudor itself.

Carrying on with the craze for all things retro, which the brand themselves can take credit for helping to start, the Fifty-Eights went even more authentically vintage when they emerged in 2018.

The size dropped down to a more era-appropriate 39mm and the gilt numerals on the dial found their echo on those around the bezel. In all, the watch could have been mistaken for a nicely aged example of the Tudor Submariner ref. 7924 released, hence the name, in 1958.

The collection has since grown to 10 and encompasses some of the most intelligent and adventurous use of color in the lineup. The newest additions include a silver-cased model with a taupe dial, a bronze piece with graduated brown-bronze dial and Explorer-esque 3/6/9 hour markers, and the first ever solid yellow gold Black Bay watch, complete with a Harrods-style green dial and bezel.

Elsewhere, there are the standard blue and black examples, on a selection of either steel bracelets, or NATO or aged leather straps.

 

The Tudor Black Bay Chrono

Key Features
Case Size 41mm
Materials Steel/S&G
Functions Time w/Running Seconds. Date Display. Chronograph
Dial Black/White w/Contrasting Sub Dials
Bezel Fixed. Anodized Aluminum. Tachymeter Scale to 500 Units
Crystal Domed Sapphire
Movement Tudor Manufacture MT5813. 70-Hour Power Reserve
Bracelet Steel/S&G Bracelet. Fabric Strap. Leather Bund Strap
Water Resistance 200m

The Black Bay Chrono carries on Tudor’s mission of releasing watches that look like their own models from the past, but in this case, there is more than a passing resemblance to parent company Rolex’s world-beating Daytona—and if you are going to base the look of your chronograph on any other, that would definitely be the one to pick.

However, in certain ways, the Black Bay outshines the Rolex. For a start, the price difference is significant—$5,325 versus $13,150 for the like-for-like steel versions. Then, of course, is the availability. While you may now have to sit on a waiting list for the Black Bay, it will be far shorter than for the Daytona. And the Tudor has double the water resistance, at 200m rather than 100m.

Yet, as a young watch released in 2021, it doesn’t have quite the same level of options. There are just three Panda-style dials to choose from so far; white with black sub dials, black with silver sub dials (reverse Panda) and Black with gold counters, found exclusively on the S&G models.

Inside is the MT5813, a movement based on the Breitling B01. With a column wheel controlling the chronograph function and a vertical clutch transmitting the power (the same setup as used in the Daytona’s Cal. 4130) it could well be the best value for money chrono caliber in the industry.

The Black Bay is available on either a steel or steel and gold three-link bracelet, a slick fabric band or, for the full Paul Newman look, a wide leather bund strap.

Tudor-Black-Bay-79540

The Tudor Black Bay 32/36/41

Key Features
Case Size 32/36/41mm
Materials Steel/S&G
Functions Time w/Running Seconds
Dial Blue/Silver/Black/Gold
Bezel Fixed. Smooth. Steel/Yellow Gold
Crystal Sapphire
Movement Caliber T600
Bracelet Steel/S&G Bracelet. Fabric Strap. Leather Strap
Water Resistance 150m

The Black Bay 32/36/41 represent some of the most tastefully understated, all-day wear watches Tudor offers. A genuine alternative to Rolex’s entry level Oyster Perpetual collection, there is nothing superfluous here in either styling or complications.

You get three hands to tell you the time, wrapped up in a handsomely versatile package…and that’s all. Not even a date display muddies up the symmetry of the dial.

It is a range aimed at those who want discreet Swiss luxury, without breaking the bank and with the sort of reliability which has long been the hallmark of both Tudor and Rolex.

Each one of the sizes is now available with a choice of four dial colors. The blue and black have been given a matte finish, while the silver and gold options (the latter only found on the S&G versions) have a light-catching sunburst effect.

There are smooth polished bezels and Snowflake hands across the board, and inside ticks the T600 caliber. A third-party movement based on the ETA 2824-2, it is one of the most widely used and bombproof mechanisms around.

In short, the Black Bay 32/36/41 range is the perfect everyman and woman watch.

 

Tudor-Black-Bay-Bronze-79250BA

The Tudor Black Bay Bronze

Key Features
Case Size 43mm
Materials Bronze
Functions Time w/Running Seconds
Dial Slate Grey
Bezel Unidirectional. Bronze w/Slate Grey Anodized Aluminum Insert
Crystal Domed Sapphire
Movement Tudor MT5601
Bracelet Nubuck Leather/Slate Grey Fabric Strap
Water Resistance 200m

Not to be confused with the other bronze offering in the Fifty-Eight series, the Black Bay Bronze is a collection in and of itself, albeit with just the one model on a choice of two straps.

At 43mm, it is the largest Black Bay watch out there, but it’s a nicely toned-down example. The bronze case and crown are particularly muted, and the slate grey dial and bezel keep everything incognito, offering a more weathered, vintage appearance than a more traditional black.

One thing the Black Bay Bronze and Fifty-Eight Bronze share is their hour markers. Rather than having batons at the 3, 6 and 9 they have the Arabic numerals instead, Rolex Explorer-style. It sounds like a trivial change, but it actually makes a significant visual difference.

The power comes from Tudor’s own MT5601, based on the MT5612, but without a date function and made slightly larger to better fit the case.

Offered on a soft nubuck leather strap, or fabric equivalent with a color matched stripe, this is the Black Bay for those after a bigger watch while still keeping the retro ambiance.

 

Tudor-Black-Bay-GMT-79830RB

The Tudor Black Bay GMT

Key Features
Case Size 41mm
Materials Steel
Functions Time w/Running Seconds. Date Display. GMT
Dial Black
Bezel Bidirectional. Steel w/Blue and Burgundy Anodized Aluminum Insert
Crystal Domed Sapphire
Movement Tudor MT5652
Bracelet Steel Bracelet/Terra di Sienna Leather/Black Fabric Strap
Water Resistance 200m

The Black Bay GMT really saw Tudor get into their stride with their most popular watch family.

It was unveiled in 2018, at the same Baselworld show in which Rolex turned up with their long-awaited rerelease of a steel, Pepsi-bezeled GMT-Master II.

It is a testament to Tudor’s creation, and its ability to tap into the current craze for tool watch nostalgia, that it was able to steal away much of the limelight from its big brother.

At first glance, this could be a true ‘50s piece. The simple case with unguarded crown, the riveted steel bracelet and particularly the subdued red and blue bezel coloring made it look, ironically, like one of the earliest Rolex GMTs, which are now commanding prices creeping into six figures.

It has been, and continues to be, a huge hit, generating the longest waiting lists of any Tudor watch so far.

As with the Bronze, this is also a one-watch collection, available on three different bands. Along with the three-link steel bracelet, you can have your pick of either a fabric strap with bezel matching red stripe or a Tierra di Siena leather strap exclusive to the GMT.

Running the show is another homegrown movement, the MT5652, driving the time telling hands, the GMT complication and benefitting from a Quickset date feature and hacking function.

Perhaps the only true alternative to the full-blooded GMT-Master II, the Black Bay GMT is a future classic.

 

The Tudor Black Bay P01

Key Features
Case Size 41mm
Materials Steel
Functions Time w/Running Seconds. Date Display
Dial Black
Bezel Bidirectional. Steel w/12-hour Gradations
Crystal Domed Sapphire
Movement Tudor MT5612
Bracelet Brown Leather Strap
Water Resistance 200m

Every watch collection, even one as universally admired as the Black Bay series, is allowed one oddity. And the P01 is it.

In this instance, the ‘P’ stands for ‘Prototype’. Tudor originally built this watch for the U.S. Navy in 1967, but it was never put into production. The reasons for that are unclear, and seeing as it was a military project, information is short on the ground.

What we know is that it has a unique bezel locking mechanism, which involves levering up the bracelet’s hinged top end link. The teeth on the underside mesh with those on the bezel’s outer edge and once secured provides an excellent safety against accidental knocking. What is less clear is why the bezel’s gradations are in hours rather than minutes, seeing as this is ostensibly a dive watch.

Coupled with that strangeness is the unorthodox winding crown placement, sitting at the four o’clock rather than at the far more customary three, protected by a guard which becomes part of the lower lugs.

But while it may not be to everyone’s tastes, there is no denying this is one characterful watch and looks unlike pretty much anything else out there. And like any true outlier, it exists in the Black Bay collection all on its own, fitted with a hardwearing brown leather strap.

 

Tudor-Black-Bay-Collection

Since the release of the Black Bay, it has been a crowd favorite, and each year a new model is added that piques our interest. The Tudor Black Bay collection has expanded to include a wide variety of options from complications and dial colors to different metal and bracelet types. It’s one of the best entry-level watches on the market today.

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