The Tudor Heritage Black Bay Steel & Gold watch hands-on
In the past, Tudor seemed to live a bit in the shadow of Rolex, but, for the last few years, it has embarked on its own path and is now fully self-sufficient and it succeeded in establishing its own personality, both from an aesthetic and technical point of view. The Tudor Black Bay gave quite a remarkable acceleration to this shifting process, especially from the style side of things with its first 2012 reference already, the North Flag, on the other hand, opened the new technical path with the introduction of the first in-house built caliber ever crafted in Tudor's manufacturing history.
The Tudor Black Bay Steel & Gold follows the steps of the Black Bay watches with a date that started off with the steel only version launched at Baselworld 2017. I expected this feature to remain the main characteristic of other brands, but it eventually captured the attention of what might be considered the most successful modern re-release of a vintage diver’s timepiece.
Many words have been spent on this watch in its various versions already; on Horbiter®’s pages you will find, for example, the Tudor Black Bay Bronze, and yet Tudor always manages to add a new ingredient and find a different shade for its number one product. In this S&G version, the bezel and winding crown are in brushed yellow gold and the hour indicator creates quite a successful and delicate mix with the steel material that makes up the case.
Gold is noticeable and visible, but in a measured way and it does not burden too much the simple lines of this diver’s watch. The snowflake hands and the applied gold indexes stand out very elegantly against the black dial that, as mentioned before, shows, for the second time on a Black Bay, the white window located at three o'clock and containing the date.
Tudor too "surrendered" to the demands of the market and of that substantial part of its customers, who wanted to get a date on the dial. Tudor's in-house built MT5612 movement is the same one that equips the other Black Bay watches (except models 41 and 36) and the Pelagos timepieces; it is equipped with a silicon spiral oscillating at a frequency of 4Hz, up to 70 hours of power reserve and has a COSC certification.
Like for the whole Black Bay family, there are also two variants for the Steel & Gold version; one variant features a steel bracelet and a gold-plated central mesh with mesh rivets on the sides, while the other version sports an aged black leather strap. Both versions come with the legendary (due to its crafting and its mesh) extra strap made of brown fabric that perfectly matches the black and gold colours of this timepiece.
The strength of this gentleman diver’s watch lies in its price; 4,760 euro for the bracelet version and a lower retail price (3,610 euro) for the leather strap version. More than a thousand euro of difference, but the riveted bracelet makes a whole of a difference. Tudor saw a great opportunity to expand into a market niche that many other brands have strangely and inexplicably left empty so far (the retail price range that lies between 3,000 and 5,000 euro). I have to say that Tudor is doing quite a good job here; it is bold, spiritually anti-conventional, technically innovative and competitive! Will we ever see a gold only version or a titanium one? We will have to wait till Baselworld 2018 to find out!
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Matteo Bulla @Horbiter®