Editor’s note: We remember back when times were simpler. Back before there were half-decade waitlists, before secondhand watches were doubling retail prices, and before everything Tudor made was in-house. It was back in 2014 when Tudor first showed us the versatility of the Black Bay range, and the brand deeply impressed the watch community when they released the Black Bay Blue. This was also the year when Time+Tide started, and Felix’s review of this new Black Bay Blue was one of the most popular stories on the site for a long time. So we thought we’d look back at this simple sports watch to see how it’s aged over the last half-decade, and reflect on just how much the industry has changed in that time.
Introducing the Tudor Black Bay Blue
As a brand, Tudor is a lot like Rocky, in that Rolex’s little brother is a plucky fighter come good again. UNLIKE Rocky, Tudor’s releases just get better and better with each passing year. Baselworld 2014 sees two big crowd-pleasing releases from Tudor, and a new range that is understated in the extreme, though still enticing.
We’ll talk more about the Ranger and the Style later, but for now let’s focus on the undisputed star of the show – the new Black Bay in Blue (which we suspect will very quickly and ubiquitously become known as the ‘Blue Bay’). We managed to spend some quality time with this watch in a crowded press briefing, and snap a few live, on the wrist shots.
This Black Bay Blue is essentially the original Black Bay, but with blue and white detailing. It sounds like a simple enough change, but it totally alters the feeling of the watch. Gone are the warm tones of red and gold, which evoke a vintage feel — especially combined with the coloured, aged-looking luminous markers of the original.
The blue of this model, for which everyone seems to have adopted the romantic deluxe description of ‘Midnight Blue’, is present throughout the watch. Most noticeably on the bezel, but also on the crown and on woven fabric strap and distressed leather strap options.
It’s good to see that Tudor are still drawing on their rich heritage for inspiration (the Heritage line is now their most significant collection), but it’s also good to see that they aren’t creating mimicked reproductions of the past. The most significant critique of the original Black Bay was the use of the ‘aged’ luminous material. I think it worked in the context of the warm palette of that watch, but on the Blue Bay faux vintage lume would have been a bad idea. The icy white snowflake hands and applied indices give this watch a clean, cold and contemporary feel that contrasts nicely with the warmth of the Red version.
Because of the crispness of this watch, I think it works best on the bracelet. It’s a personal preference and it certainly looks great on the other strap options (especially the woven fabric strap), but for me the combination of cool blue and the Tudor’s crisp case finishing makes it a perfect match with the metal.
PRICING AND AVAILABILITY
The great news is that the new model is the same price as the 2013 version. Expect an RRP of circa $4000.
For more information, check out visit Tudor online.
Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue
case: 41 mm steel case with polished and satin finish bezel
Unidirectional rotatable steel bezel, matt midnight-blue disc
Movement: Self-winding mechanical movement, TUDOR calibre 2824
Power reserve: Power reserve of approximately 38 hours
Winding crown: Screw-down winding crown in steel engraved with the TUDOR rose, with blue anodised aluminium crown tube
Crystal: Domed sapphire crystal
Waterproofness: Waterproof to 200 m (660 ft)
Bracelet: Steel bracelet or aged leather strap with folding clasp and safety catch
Additional fabric strap with buckle supplied with watch