Tudor Heritage Black Bay 36
Is the "baby" Black Bay the right choice?
The Black Bay’s upgrade to an in-house built caliber and the presentation of the Black Bay Bronze, the Black Bay Steel & Gold last year and the GMT this year, somehow cast a shadow over the Black Bay 36. The Black Bay’s qualitative leap brought along two main consequences; the very first one is that it placed this timepiece on a higher ranking position thanks to the introduction of the new in-house built caliber with whom, from a technical point of view, the relentless ETA – at least on paper – can’t really compete, the second effect was that it left room for the new Tudor Heritage Black Bay 36 that somehow passed unnoticed.
About case size and proportions
The real innovation, however, lies in the basic idea of this product since the 41mm-Black Bay and the very original 43mm-Bronze are basically the modern editions of the first Black Bay diver’s watches, whereas the Tudor Heritage Black Bay 36 is a classic and elegant three-hands-timepiece that sports a polished and smooth bezel, whose bigger brother is the Tudor Black Bay Steel. The 36mm-size represents the perfect dimension for a stainless-steel three-hands-timepiece as it fits both the slimmer wrists and the more important ones - like mine, for example -. A 40mm-dimension and over, mostly when associated to an all-stainless-steel-made-sports watch, may sometimes look awkward, mainly when you are wearing a formal attire. On the other hand, however, a size that is below the 40mm size, especially on an all-stainless-steel-made-timepiece, is a sign of sobriety.
A 36 mm wide case: a perfect size
When you wear the same watch on a daily basis, you immediately realize that a 36mm-size offers a good balance between elegance and sportiness and it could be the perfect size; simply experience wearing an Oyster ref. 116000 wrapped around your wrist and I am sure that, as many other readers of this article, you will immediately agree with me. After all, let’s not forget that, 40 years ago, the maximum size for a wrist watch was around 36mm, unless you were actually looking to get your hands on a timepiece for a professional use.
A clean No-Date dial
From an aesthetic point of view, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay 36 is the extreme simplification of the classic sports Tudor watch; an hours and central seconds hands that sports a snowflake style, an overly elongated, triangular-shaped and glowing applied index located at 12 o’clock, the lack of real chromatic vintage-style patterns – or at least hues that are not as strong as on Black Bay diver’s watches. The case-middle sports a regular geometry, the thickness is basically the same across all the lugs and, as I have said quite a few times already, the lugs match perfectly well the bracelet by giving it a sense of continuity that lies at the basis of that perception of quality that Tudor watches are able to convey.
This style also confirms that despite the fact that the diameter “only” measures 36mm, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay 36 appears bigger and more important than its real dimensions. The closing mechanism is a small masterpiece of mechanics and style, both on the all-stainless-steel-made-version – the one I would recommend – and on the version with a leather-made strap (the fabric-made Nato strap is, as usual, the second available option), the folding clasp features a beautiful safety catch with the Tudor logo on the closure.
Not just a perfect "Graduation Watch"
Keeping in mind that the Tudor Heritage Black Bay 36 is (still) equipped with a non-in-house built caliber that can’t guarantee up to 70 hours of power reserve like the new MT, who do you think the ideal customer for this type of Tudor is? In theory, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay 36 is the most democratic Tudor currently available on the market, it is a transversal model that can fit either a woman’s wrist or that could suit an 18-year-old person who wants to start a new collection of timepieces. When you are that age, you don’t pay too much attention to whether your watch features an in-house built caliber or not, style is probably the most important characteristic and its 2,700 euro retail price actually makes this watch pretty “accessible” also.
American people would define this timepiece as the perfect “high-school-graduation-gift” but it is also a perfect choice if you are an avid collector and, after having tried on timepieces with ever-expanding-diameters and complicated dials, you are now aiming at going back to the roots of simplicity and are looking for a timepiece that you could wear without fussing too much over it, the exact same feeling that I experienced when I wore this watch for the first time.
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®