Cast your mind back to Basel in 2016 – and the talk of the town was Tudor’s Heritage Black Bay Bronze.
This launch from Rolex’s plucky younger sibling had watch journalists in raptures.
A Black Bay… in bronze? Baselworld doesn't do prize givings, but if it did, this would have picked up ‘Best in Show’.
Of course, that bronze watch has not only gone on to become an icon in its own right but it set off a chain reaction with every watch manufacturer in the same sector going on to launch bronze equivalents over subsequent years – such is the influence of this forward-thinking watch brand.
That said, it wasn’t really a forward-thinking move, but rather a retrospective tribute. The first known pocket watch made in bronze dates back to 1574; and the first bronze-cased wristwatch of the modern era was made by none other than design god Gerald Genta with his 1990s Gefica. And when it comes to diving, bronze is as old as time.
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925
Who knew you could get excited about taupe? ‘Grey with a tinge of brown’ does not usually get one’s juices flowing. But when applied to Tudor’s iconic Black Bay Fifty-Eight, consider our interest well and truly piqued.
Especially, as in the case of the new Fifty-Eight 925, it is complemented by a new satin-finish 925 silver case.
A silver case? As in that soft metal off Antiques Roadshow which tarnishes really easily… on a dive watch? Well yes. And no.
For starters, Tudor has added some alloy magic that will ensure it’s tougher and won’t tarnish. The 925 relates to 92.5% silver; the remaining 7.5% is where the magic happens. What that magic is, Tudor will never tell you. Or if they did, they’d have to kill you. But it chemically stabilises the metal to ensure it won’t corrode.
Just with the Black Bay Bronze, there is form when it comes to silver. From its first development in 16th-century pocket watches to First World War trench watches, silver has been used in watchmaking for centuries. And as with the Black Bay Bronze, Tudor has simply made it cool again. (Expect a slew of Silver Watches to come from other brands from 2022.)
It’s also the first Tudor dive watch with an open case back, so you get to see that rock-hard Manufacture Calibre MT5400, which is usually hidden beneath.
It’s loaded with a silicon hairspring and a 70-hour power reserve. And as was the case with the first Tudor dive watch made in 1958, this new model will be waterproof to 200m.
£3,230. Discover more.
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 18K
OK, you guys are killing us. Just when you think Tudor might do something predictable (pah!), it launches a Black Bay in 18K gold, too?
This is big news – for a start, it’s the first 18K solid gold Tudor has ever made. It's also the first time gold has been used on indices and hands in Tudor’s history.
It’s taking Tudor into a whole new price range and market. At £12,610, this is big bucks for a Black Bay. But then compare it to an 18K Submariner from Rolex, and it’s still an absolute bargain. Not to mention, it will be a much rarer sight.
As with all Tudors, it’s not too ostentatious, either. The 39mm size helps; but crucially it’s all the mattification that really does the trick. The brushed effect on the gold removes any notions of bling.
The metal is deliciously matched with this season’s colour du jour, green. The colour of money has always looked great with gold – just ask Rolex – and this combo is sure to excite collectors. (The limited edition Harrods Black Bay with its green dial is arguably the most collectible Black Bay yet.)
Yes, the idea of a dive watch in gold – or indeed silver – seems almost paradoxical, but let’s face it, is anyone really going diving in either of these watches?
£12,610. Discover more.
Tudor Black Bay Chronograph
The panda dial is a watch industry failsafe. There are few watches that don’t look cooler once the designers have pressed ‘invert’. And Tudor’s new steel Black Bay Chrono is a case in point.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the brand’s first chronograph, Tudor has rebooted its already awesome Chrono with the choice of white-on-black or black-on-white contrasting subcounters. Both look great; but the panda edges it in our book.
The Chrono has had much more than just a paint job, though. There’s a reworked case – it’s thinner than its predecessor; there’s a new fixed bezel with a black aluminium disk; and there are three strap options – including an updated riveted steel affair.
The bund strap is our pick – it’s so Paul Newman you can’t believe that Rolex even let them get away with it
The bund strap is our pick – it’s so Paul Newman you can’t believe that Rolex even let them get away with it.
But that’s Tudor all over: Rolex’s naughty younger brother defying expectations and pushing boundaries.
They say life begins at 50. It seems Tudor’s Chrono is only just getting started.
From £3,660. Discover more.