All Killer, No Filler: Meet Tudor’s New Black Bay Releases from Watches & Wonders 2023
Tudor is a brand that is easy to love, and this year, the maison brought a tightly edited and highly elevated collection of timepieces to the fair. Fans were impressed.
Founded in 1926, Tudor has a rich history of offering hardworking, good-looking watches at an accessible price point. Plus, its bona fides making timepieces for the French Navy and US Navy have cemented its status as a watch you can count on, but Tudor has never been one to rest on its laurels.
Perhaps that is why, this year, at Watches & Wonders, Tudor moved into the future by tweaking tradition with new additions to its signature Black Bay line. So, Watchonista got up close and personal with these new editions in Geneva to give you our take on the newness.
Another new kid on the block is the Black Bay 54. A tribute to Tudor’s first-ever dive watch (1954’s reference 7922), the 2023 iteration is made modern thanks to its 37mm case size and Manufacture Calibre.
Yeah, we know that the original 7922 was 37mm, but, in this case, the smaller proportions are better suited to a contemporary lifestyle because, for desk divers, it works with today’s fashion.
Moreover, while the second hand, with its lollipop design and domed satin radial-brushed black dial with gilt accents, retains the sporty look of the original, the ergonomics have improved, with a redesigned crown and bezel. Plus, it’s lighter than the bigger Black Bays, and is, therefore, making it more comfortable to wear, be it under the water or on land.
Most importantly, it has the technical proficiency of Tudor’s COSC-certified, time-only Manufacture Calibre MT5400 with a silicon balance spring, a 70-hour power reserve, and a respectable 200m depth rating.
Here’s proof of Tudor’s commitment to evolution: The original Black Bay, launched in 2012, came with a burgundy bezel and a modified ETA movement.
Then, in 2016, the watch got the Manufacture Calibre (read: in-house movement) treatment with the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) certified Tudor MT5602 movement.
Now for its third incarnation, it is powered by the Manufacture Calibre MT5602-U, with a silicon hairspring and a 70-hour power reserve. And while this mechanism is still a COSC-certified chronometer, it is also Master Chronometer-certified by METAS (an independent testing facility similar to COSC but with more stringent standards). Fun Fact: To be submitted to METAS for testing and certification, a watch must be “Swiss Made” and already have its COSC certification.
This stainless steel watch has also received an aesthetic upgrade because, while it keeps the original Black Bay’s 41mm case and 60-minute unidirectional burgundy bezel, the big news is that it now comes with a choice of stainless steel three-link “rivet-style” bracelet ($4,350), a five-link bracelet ($4,450), or a rubber strap ($4,125).
Finally, with all three equipped with Tudor’s “T-fit” rapid adjustment clasp, the metal bracelets and its domed satin radial-brushed black dial with gilt accents make the signature “Snowflake” hands and Super-LumiNova- coated markers pop.
Technically, it’s easy to appreciate its useful multiple time-zone complication. And the rotatable bezel, with its deep blue and burgundy color scheme, has a strong familial resemblance to much of the Black Bay line. However, the all-new domed opaline dial, with its slightly silvery galvanic finish, elevates the look of the 2023 models above its Black Bay GMT brethren.
The 41mm stainless steel case has been satin-brushed lending the case a mid-century modern feeling. And to create extra contrast with the dial, the hour-marker surrounds have also been darkened.
These thoughtful touches make the timepiece highly legible and extra elegant. You can further dress it up or down with a choice of a black fabric strap with a burgundy band ($3,975) or a 316L stainless steel three-link “rivet-style” bracelet ($4,300).