The Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue is where it all began
Last march, only a day before the official opening of Baselworld 2014, I had the opportunity to preview some of the novelties Tudor would have unveiled during the fair. The following day, during the official press conference, Philippe Peverelli and Davide Cerrato, CEO and Head of Marketing & Product Development respectively, showed a selected group of journalists, including yours truly, all the latest novelties from the brand, among which was a new version of the Black Bay: the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue.
Four months later I've had the chance to wear the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue for a full weekend, a short period of time to be honest, but long enough to inspect in detail and get in touch more than what you might ever do during Baselworld, with this new addition to the Black Bay line-up, a product range that since its introduction in 2012 has been very successful.
The Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue draws inspiration from two historical Tudor timepieces, the 1954 Submariner 7922 and the 1958 reference 7924, the latter being nicknamed “Big Crown” by watch connoisseurs for its over-sized winding crown. It is not anyway a merger of the two but rather the modern re-edition of Tudor’s iconic timepieces, while setting an even stronger brand identity.
The 2014 Black Bay is not just a variation of the 2012 Black Bay; the first one is mostly a vintage looking timepiece with its unidirectional Bordeaux bezel and its cream color luminous indexes while this new one is sportier and modern. On the Black Bay Blue’s black dial are applied silver indexes and hands and sweep the central “snowflake” like second and hour hands, an unmistakable Tudor’s hallmark.
The 41mm diameter case houses the Tudor Caliber 2824, a reworked ETA 2824, mechanical automatic with 38 hours of power reserve. But, if you just list its technical feats, you might lose sight of what’s hot in this timepiece such as the quality of finishes, the attention to detail and the design.
Its case, for instance, alternates a mirror finish on the carrure to a satin one on the lugs, while featuring a delicate and slim chamfer between them. The bezel is exceptionally thin so as to be sometimes a bit hard to grasp and rotate and sports a dense vertical milling with a smooth and precise operation along with a nice notch, I strongly suggest to test it yourselves. The sapphire glass is slightly curved on the sides while flat on top so as to create, with the flat bezel, a perfect package. It is quite clear Tudor was willing to create a sober and neat sports watch where all the design “pixels” had to be perfectly combined.
The dial boasts a triangular over-sized luminous index at 12 that pays homage to the divers' watches of the past: let’s not forget the Tudor Blue Submariners were standard equipment for the French Navy troopers during the second half of last century. The luminous indexes radiate a warm, strong and uniform green luminescence. Even the case back is a design trend, as its unmistakable circular milling which is familiar to any Rolex Group sports timepiece creates a somewhat monolithic piece that sets Tudor apart from the competition that usually adopts those ugly and anonymous anular hollows.
The Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue comes with a stainless steel bracelet or a leather strap, plus a textile replacement (not just a nylon NATO one) with a blue plot and a nice tang buckle the shape of the Tudor logo, and is priced at 2830€. Its quality and sober design are among the strong points, but it’s anyway a bit hard to find a flaw as well as anything else comparable close to this price tag. I would like to see it just upgraded with a blue ceramic inlay on the bezel. Even if the aluminum ring complies with the spirit of this timepiece and the Heritage line up in general, the touch and feel you get while operating a ceramic bezel is unparalleled and a blue matte one will not change, in my opinion, the Black Bay Blue’s vintage appeal. My sincere thanks to Tudor and our friends at Watchonista.
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C. @Horbiter®