To commemorate this year’s Rugby World Cup and its partnership with the New Zealand All Blacks, Tudor released a stealthy iteration of its popular Black Bay Chrono timepiece. Tudor’s Black Bay series has always been well-regarded for its blend of traditional aesthetics and contemporary watchmaking. The new timepiece offers a new look with its black Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD)-treated case and bracelet, exuding a decidedly more masculine vibe than its predecessors.
Long a staple in watchmaking, PVD is a case treatment process that results in a harder surface that’s more scratch resistant, along with the obvious aesthetic change of rendering a surface black. Here, the Black Bay Chrono Dark is transformed from its original form into a stealthy, technical timepiece that should appeal to a wide range of wearers.
These qualities resonate well within the sport of rugby, where strength and endurance are valued. The Black Bay Chrono Dark is a nod towards Tudor’s relationship with the All Blacks, who will be defending their back-to-back champions title in the upcoming Rugby World Cup 2019. As a tribute to the New Zealand national rugby team, the Black Bay Chrono Dark will initially be limited to 1,181 pieces, for the number of players comprising the All Blacks since its founding in 1903. This number will be adjusted according to the final composition of the World Cup team and will expand as new players join the All Blacks.
The dial layout of the Black Bay Chrono Dark is that of a traditional bi-compax chronograph, with the running seconds and chronograph minute sub-dials being located a nine o’clock and three o’clock respectively. A red-tipped centre chronograph seconds hand provides a focal point that meshes well with the reading of the chronograph, and a black PVD-treated aluminium tachymeter bezel allows the wearer to time events and instantly read off their corresponding rates. At the six o’clock position, you will also find a proportionately-sized date aperture that contributes to the visual symmetry of the timepiece. Tudor’s signature snowflake hands sit in stark contrast to the black dial, along with the matching silvered indices, markings and chapter ring. The timepiece features a depth rating of 200 metres that is further supported by the use of a screw-down crown and pump pushers. All three are knurled for improved tactility.
Looking inside the Black Bay Chrono Dark, we see the same Calibre MT5813 that powers the rest of the Black Bay Chrono series. Derived from the Breitling Calibre 01, the MT5813 boasts a 70-hour power reserve and COSC certification. A column wheel mechanism and a vertical clutch results in a much smoother operation of the chronograph. With the vertical clutch, there is no perceptible “jerk” of the chronograph seconds hand when it’s engaged from a stopped position.
When the Black Bay Dark was first released in 2016, it offered aficionados a look into just what was possible with Tudor. The brand was already taking risks with classic designs. It has, for example, paired them with luxury NATO straps. The new Black Bay Chrono Dark reiterates this, to once again assert to the industry that Tudor is now its own brand – a supremely self-assured one at that.