The Tudor Black Bay Pro – first impressions from a die-hard Tudor fan The Tudor Black Bay Pro – first impressions from a die-hard Tudor fan

The Tudor Black Bay Pro – first impressions from a die-hard Tudor fan

Henry Zwartz

What Tudor would release at this year’s Watches and Wonders was one of the big talking points among collectors and enthusiasts. The sister brand to Rolex has built a reputation for unexpected releases. Think the Tudor North Flag or Black Bay P01. Tudor, once again, did not disappoint. The brand’s release of a 39mm true GMT with a new calibre, could fulfil the desire of many fans out there for a smaller GMT more in size with the popular Black Bay 58 models. It is big news. (Watch our video of the new Tudor releases here.)

Tudor Black Bay Pro

The beating heart of the Pro is the new Manufacture Calibre MT 5652 (COSC), a chronometer spec movement that has a generous 70-hour power reserve, silicon balance spring, full balance bridge and beats at 28,800 bph. It’s a true GMT with local jumping hour hand.

Tudor Black Bay Pro

The stainless-steel bezel (which is fixed by the way), creates a tough industrial aesthetic somewhat reminiscent of its Rolex cousin, the Explorer MK II (think ref. 1655 here). But the creamy tones and yellow GMT hand hint at the playfulness that you get with Tudor and, in my eyes, is a nod to the North Flag’s colour scheme – a watch that in many ways was a very significant milestone for the brand when it was released, heralding an in-house movement.

Looking closer to the dial and we see a nice texture, think of the sort of handsome eggshell pattern we got with the Tudor Heritage Ranger. It creates an impression of something almost organic. As you might already tell, this watch is much more than just a scaled-down version of the brand’s 41mm GMT, or a brasher Explorer. Staying on the dial and all the detailing, save for the depth rating text, is a creamy colour. You could call it off-white, or even ivory.

Personally I’m not entirely convinced that a full-white would work quite as well as what Tudor have realised here with this off-white, and it isn’t that darker creamy colour that we usually associate with “fauxtina”. Instead, like the grainy dial it gives an impression of something organic. While it might be good to see an option that is pure white, perhaps that would be treading too closely to Rolex Explorer territory. Gone are any distinguishable marker surrounds, apparently Tudor is using a lume ceramic composite instead. I’m not exactly sure why but this gives the watch a somewhat vintage quality, could it be because it reminds me of painted indices?

At any rate, this gives the watch a sense of humility that I like very much. Think Tudor Submariner. The yellow GMT hand, however, brings us back to the present in a very fun way. There is a date at 3, useful alongside a GMT function for any traveller. The case has some similar aspects to it alongside the popular 58 models, being 39mm in diameter, but at 14.6mm thick it is noticeably more rotund than the 58’s svelte 11.9mm (the stainless-steel versions). The watch could wear a little tall with those polished steel flanks that Tudor Black Bays are known for (slabs, some people call them), but I’ll reserve judgement on that front until I’ve tried one on for a good length of time. Thankfully you still get a solid 200m water resistance, more than any of us would ever really need.

Tudor Black Bay Pro

I have a few entirely subjective qualms about Tudor Black Bay Pro – well two. One is the name, which I think, is frankly a little unimaginative and a tad bland. Perhaps it’s just the first of a series of “Pros” and this will be a new model line? But considering this is a GMT that shares many of the specs of a dive watch, I’m sure other options could have been considered…? The second qualm is the stainless-steel bezel. It would have been good to see a black bezel (in my humble opinion). I find the sheer mass of stainless steel a little dizzying, which was one of the things I struggled with on Tudor’s Heritage Chrono.

That said, I expect these will be popular models. Tudor has done, it seems, a great job of mixing earthy, organic qualities that bring a lot of warmth to this watch, as well as the fantastic industrial build quality and dash of fun we have come to associate with the brand.

The Black Bay Pro is available on a triumvirate of strap options, steel bracelet, fabric strap and two piece leather strap. The bracelet has been updated with a better clasp fitment system that we first saw on the Black Bay 58 Bronze. A very welcome addition. I’m already researching whether the new bracelet will fit my blue 58! I’d welcome anyone confirming whether this is possible. Oh and the bracelet still has those faux rivets, which I don’t mind but realise some do.

At $5,430 AUD on bracelet and $5,010 AUD on hybrid leather/rubber strap or fabric strap, Tudor has once again provided a strong value proposition in its class.