The new, all-steel Tudor Black Bay Chronograph seems to me like the sweet middle ground between two iconic watches. I have a strained relationship with the Rolex Daytona – not that I can get one at retail – and feel it’s a bit too loud and well, Rolexy, even if I admire the quality. The Omega Speedmaster, on the other hand, is burdened by its own history. While I love it, I feel it’s a bit flat and floaty on the wrist and would rather have one of the bicompax-versions but they’re big and not “the Moonwatch”. Luckily, Tudor seemed to have been listening to my internal dilemma.
The brand took me by surprise with this slightly updated case and not one, but TWO fresh panda dials with matching bezels. Damn. With a slightly redesigned case a touch slimmer but still 41mm, the lugs seem better proportioned, still beefy, still with a very much Rolex family quality to the razor-sharp bevels along the flanks. The riveted delight of a bracelet remains, as does the cheeky choice of a bund or a woven Jaquard fabric strap.
The black aluminium bezel tidies up the overall tough look, and does put it closer to the Daytona and new Zenith chrono, but with a dial now better proportioned thanks to the visual trick of the snailed, recessed registers. Once again I feel that we’re on a golden middle ground, with less bling than the Daytona while with the clean-cut applied, polished indices, tough snowflake hands and pure white print, there’s a lot more depth and life than a Speedy. A repositioned movement and different sapphire crystal gives a slightly slimmer 14.4mm thickness, and both versions are given a delicious pop of classic Rolex red in the 200m.660ft text, matched in the chrono seconds tip. Steal from the best I say, and if it’s family, well, that’s just borrowing..
With a white date window at 6 like before, and the Breitling-sourced MT5813 in-house calibre with a stonking 70 hours of power reserve, I think I’ve found my chrono sweet spot.
The Tudor Black Bay Chronograph, price and availability:
The 2021 Tudor Black Bay Chrono is priced at 4,950 CHF on the bracelet and 4,650 CHF on a bund strap or woven fabric strap –