Once upon a time, a Tudor watch wasn’t seen as a status symbol. Instead, the brand launched by Hans Wilsdorf back in 1946 was seen as a lighter-weight alternative to Rolex.
How times change. This week, with Watches & Wonders in full online swing, we’ve been more excited to see Tudor’s new novelties than those presented by most other brands. And Tudor didn’t disappoint. With releases including the handsome, vintage-tinged 1926, the new models are the epitome of the quality, durable Swiss watches we’ve come to know and love.
But one collection stands far above the others — or should that be dives far beneath? Tudor’s signature Black Bay range is iconic in the watchmaking world. And, this year, the collection has been added to and improved upon once again. Below, we’ve rounded up our four favourite new models…
The Black Bay Chrono is a monochromatic marvel
From the Oysterdate of the 1970s to the Heritage Black Bay of 2017, Tudor has a sparkling record of creating excellent chronographs. This week, the relaunched Black Bay Chrono adds another chapter to an already illustrious history.
With an instantly identifiable panda dial (wearers can also opt for a reverse panda design), the new Black Bay Chrono ticks away with Tudor’s world-renowned angular ‘snowflake’ hands. And they aren’t the only nod to the brand’s past. Touches of Tudor’s heritage continue across the case, with the 6 o’clock date aperture exquisitely cut in exquisite tribute to the plexiglass of the historic Oysterdate.
But it’s not all looking back. With a revised case (0.49 millimetres slimmer) and COSC-certified chronometer movement inside its steel case, this is a Tudor equipped for the future. It’s also equipped with a generous selection of straps; from the hallmark Jacquard strap woven by craftsmen in France’s St. Etienne region to a stainless steel bracelet, harking back to the 1950s and 1960s (era of the folding riveted bracelets).
Our favourite strap, however, is the black leather bracelet — a hardy, bulky option giving the Chrono a ‘tool watch’ feel. Needless to say, it’s a watch that does its job admirably, with a tachymetric scale on that black anodised aluminium bezel fitted for meticulous timekeeping. It’s sporty, it’s stylish — and it encapsulates ‘affordable luxury’ like never before.
The Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925 is an understated style icon
2020 as a whole may go down in history as the year of the pandemic — but the summer belonged firmly to the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight ‘Navy Blue’. The thing was a smash hit; the talk of the timekeeping town and a watch that blazed Tudor a headline-grabbing trail through the blue-hued craze of last year. This year, the brand is back to its experimental ways — albeit with something a little subtler.
The latest Black Bay Fifty-Eight model, the 925, has a taupe dial. It seems like an odd choice to begin with — as if the brand has made a play for the new ‘green dial’ trend but didn’t quite get there. But take some time to appreciate the understated colour and you’ll soon be convinced. There’s a suave feel to this one; a real effortless elegance.
And that’s before we even touch on the 925 silver; a breathtaking alloy entirely satin finished for a matt effect. It’s used to great effect across the design, from bringing the beloved Tudor rose into sharp relief on the crown to forming an incandescent band around the open caseback.
And, through that caseback, you’ll spy the self-winding mechanical Calibre MT5400 — a movement that goes above and beyond COSC certification, boasts a power reserve of 70 hours and keeps those signature snowflake hands in meticulous timekeeping check. It’s not trying quite so hard as the ‘Navy Blue’, but that just makes us like it even more…
The Black Bay Fifty-Eight 18K is a work of green-and-gold art
If the 925 above looked like Tudor reaching for the ‘green dial’ trend, the Black Bay Fifty-Eight 18K sees the watchmaker dive headlong into it. Long-anticipated by fans, both the dial and bezel of the Fifty-Eight 18K are coloured with a rich forest green — complemented by touches of glorious, gilt gold.
And this isn’t just any gold. It’s 18K yellow gold, making up the entire 39mm case (save for the open caseback) and bringing out the best tones of that garden green. It’s been satin finished for a matt effect, much like the 925 silver above. The hour markers are applied in gold and, in a first for Tudor, those iconic snowflake hands also make the most of the precious metal; edging their lume-filled lines with 18K goodness.
And all this for just £12,610? It seems almost too good to be true, such is its value. And yet, Tudor still has more tricks up its golden sleeves. This latest release not only comes buckled onto a dark brown alligator strap, but the watchmaker is also throwing in a lovely green fabric band, with gold stripe, at no extra charge.
It is, once again, powered by Tudor’s Calibre MT5400 — ensuring robust construction and precision alongside those strong neo-vintage aesthetics. This one’s value transcends mere timekeeping; instead offering a watch that should be admired, appreciated and treated like a future antique.
A new silver dial for the Black Bay 32/36/41
And, finally, a silver lining. The Tudor Black Bay, as is, comes with a choice of three sizes (32mm, 36mm and 41mm). This week, the watchmaker has revealed that all three different sizes now each come with the option of a brand new, dazzling silver dial.
So, if black and blue aren’t your thing, the smooth satin steel of the Black Bay’s case and bracelet now extends onto its iconic dial; punctuated only by that polished bezel. With white snowflake hands and indices, it’s another monochromatic masterpiece — but feels considerably more like a dress watch than the black-and-white Chrono above. It’s less ground-breaking than the other new releases, but just as striking — and yet another indicator that Tudor remain firmly ahead of the times.
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