It started in 2012 at BaselWorld when Tudor unveiled its new watch – the Heritage Black Bay that was inspired by a Tudor diving model from the 1950s.
The design was a welcome throwback to the vintage tool watch of yore (the distinctive screw-down big crown was highly regarded among watch collectors and enthusiasts) while still adding modern design elements such as the new bracelet and a bigger dial.
The 2012 Heritage Black Bay with its beautiful burgundy dial flew off the shelves. You’d think that Tudor would have struck while the iron was hot and released a sequel the following year. Instead, the watchmaker took its own sweet time, creating a sort of frenzied expectation that was quelled in 2014 when it released the Black Bay Blue. Then, Tudor followed up with the Black Bay Black a year later.
The Black Bay Story Continues
Tudor had a couple more marketing tricks up its sleeves.
One was to introduce its in-house movement in subsequent Black Bay models after 2015. To differentiate it from the ETA-powered models of yesteryear, Tudor replaced the historical rose logo on the dial with a shield. Naturally, the Tudor Black Bay watches with the floral insignia became a collector’s item, cementing the watchmaker as a sought-after brand on the secondary market.
The second was to release even more Black Bay variants into the market, including but not limited to the Black Bay Chrono that offered chronograph functions, the Black Bay Bronze for lovers of patina, and this writer’s personal favourite (and who happens to own one), the Black Bay Dark for those who prefer an all-black case and bracelet.
Incidentally, Tudor also tapped on the talents and visages of a few notable celebrities such as the All Blacks, Lady Gaga, Jay Chou and David Beckham. While all of them are from different industries and countries, they possessed the quality that Tudor demands from its ambassadors – that Born to Dare spirit, to forge a path less travelled and succeed.
A Black Bay for Everyone
It’s perhaps apt then that at this year’s BaselWorld, Tudor surprised the world yet again with a new Black Bay.
The Tudor Black Bay GMT with the iconic Pepsi bezel (an amalgamation of the blue and burgundy bezels of the Black Bay Blue and Red) demonstrated to the world that it too was forging a path less travelled, even if it meant going head-on with the famous Rolex Pepsi.
The GMT complication is arguably the most useful for the modern man, who travels often for work and leisure. A quick look at the wrist is all one needs to tell the time at home and in the current country he’s in. We dare say the Black Bay GMT is destined to be a classic.
Another highlight of this year’s releases from Tudor has to be the Black Bay Fifty-Eight. The watch is a true tribute to the watchmaker’s first diver’s timepiece released in 1958 (hence the name). It was a slimmer and simpler time, when tool watches followed the ethos of form follows function and were used for their intended purpose.
Design-wise, the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight holds fast to its roots. The 39mm case, big crown, snowflake hands and gold finishing touches around the watch are elements found in its 1958 predecessor. The most important difference lies underneath the hood. Tudor had to produce a thinner calibre – the MT5402 – to fit the smaller case.
Manufactured in house, the movement, which is sized at just 26mm, has a power reserve of 70 hours, quite the feat for its dimensions. And while size does matter, in the case of the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight, less is certainly more impressive.
What’s Next for the Black Bay
The Black Bay story doesn’t end here, we don’t think. Over the past six years, Tudor has managed to assemble an assortment of watches under one banner that appeal to various segments of the market. Whether you’re looking for a big-sized vintage diver or a legitimate tool chronograph, the Tudor Black Bay has you covered.
We’re curious to see what else Tudor has under its Black Bay sleeve in the years to come.