The Tudor Black Bay- A Vintage Watch in a Modern World
The Tudor Black Bay Submariner is one of the most anticipated releases from Basel 2012. Featuring a design befitting of the “Heritage” designation, the watch takes inspiration from several historical Submariners that Tudor has produced over the years. I’ve had the pleasure of wearing one for several days now, and you’ll find my thoughts and impressions about this watch and whether it lives up to the hype.
Amongst vintage collectors, common buzzwords are: Patina, Tropical, Chocolate, Gilt, Snowflake, Big Crown. This watch features all of these attributes in a smartly designed complete package.
Historical features of the watch include:
- 8mm crown with the “Tudor Rose” mark (Same size as historical Big Crowns)
- Gold printing on the dial (Similar to early gilt dial subs)
- Luminous material with simulated patina
- Snowflake gilt hands
- Tropical dark burgundy/brown bezel insert
- Distressed leather strap
- Plastic crystal
Detail of the Rose Big Crown
The Black Bay’s generous 41mm case size seemingly fits comfortably on any size wrist, and it has a nice heft to it. The watch comes in two configurations–one with a Tudor oyster bracelet and the other on a distressed leather strap. I chose the leather strap model, as I am not a big fan of the “evolved style” of the Tudor bracelets. The leather strap is very soft and well made, and its looks complement the the watch very nicely. The only dislike I have with regards to the strap is the overly large and somewhat cumbersome deployant buckle. To me it’s a bit cheesy and cheap looking, but this is a small detail that does not detract too much from the overall look and feel. Both configurations come with a black nylon strap similar to a NATO strap, but with fixed springbars similar to the straps supplied with the Heritage Chronos. The bezel is unidirectional like all sapphire crystal Submariners, and the case does not have the same lines as most vintage Subs. It is very similar to the Heritage Chrono with a tall no-holes profile.
Not a big fan of this clasp.
Personally, I think the watch is going to be yet another bestseller for the house of Tudor. It has all the design points that vintage junkies crave and enough cool points to be coveted by the casual buyer. While no one will mistake the watch for vintage, it is a great looking piece that pays its dues to its lineage as the newest member of the Submariner family. All in all, a great buy at a very reasonable price point (~$3000-4000). Unfortunately for US based buyers, Tudor no longer has points of sale in America, but there are rumors of a revival of the line coming next year. For the rest of the world, you should be seeing these guys trickling into showrooms as we speak.
Ref. 7924 "Big Crown", Ref. 9411/0 "Snowflake" and Ref. 79220 "Black Bay"
A beautiful watch and all around winner!