Tudor Heritage Black Bay Dark; the unusual choice
This is the oddest Black Bay watch, something that you wouldn’t expect from a model pertaining to the Heritage collection. It is the vintage transposition of a Fastrider Black Shield, the only difference here lies in the case that it is not a unique ceramic-made block but it is rather made of stainless steel that has been then coated with a black PVD layer. Among all the Black Bay watches that Tudor has released this year, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Dark is definitely the most unconventional model and it completely clashes with the rules of tradition, much more than a Black Bay Bronze.
The 41mm case and the bracelet have been coated with a thin, black PVD layer that gives the polished stainless steel material a moderate degree of glistening and matting effect that tends towards a dark gray colour. The presence of a coating film contrasts with the full black and grainy colour of both the bezel and the dial. Rather than reminding us of a modern interpretation of a historic diver’s watch, this timepiece is a clear reference to the 1958 “Big Crown” aka the 7924 reference. The Tudor Heritage Black Bay Dark almost looks like a military watch, a sports timepiece with aeronautical characteristics more than scuba-diving-specific traits – the “heavy duty” diver’s watch is, however, the Pelagos -.
The bracelet is integrated with the case – please don’t focus on what you see in the picture as it shows a prototype only – but, unfortunately, the stainless-steel rivets that appear on all the new Black Bay timepieces are missing here, possibly because of technical or product-related reasons. Even if the designers had been able to apply a PVD coating on the rivets, they would have appeared almost invisible thus losing their appeal, better to say they would have added no extra-value to a watch whose beauty is firmly rooted in the strong polishing and customization that the rivets add to the links on the bracelet.
This is the most balanced explanation that I could come up with to justify Tudor’s choice not to add the rivets. The Tudor Heritage Black Bay Dark is an aesthetic upgrade of the Black Bay with its MT 5602 that appears in this version too and that guarantees up to 70 hours of power reserve. The insertion of this caliber is quite a big development effort if you compare it to the original caliber that used to be hosted within a Black Bay, it adds some extra-value for the customer than just guaranteeing additional 30 hours. After all, Tudor deserved its very own in-house built caliber, the North Flag marked the beginning of a new path to follow and I am pretty sure that, while I am writing this article, the staff working in the brand’s Geneva-based workshops is doing its best to progressively fill the gap by integrating all the functions on the MT to equip all the manufacturer’s collections with it – this is also the reason why I am waiting until the year 2017 to get myself a Heritage Chrono Blue -.
The contrast of colours on the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Dark is quite intense due to the presence of the black hue of the case, the bracelet and the dial, the red colour on the dial and on the bezel – I am talking about the triangle located at 12 o’clock – and the white-coloured thick indexes. This timepiece would be my third best choice among the pieces of the new Black Bay series, after the Bronze and the all-stainless-steel version – despite the fact that the model with the blue bezel and the bracelet with rivets is slowly earning more and more acclaim -. Like all the other timepieces pertaining to the Black Bay series, the Dark is also available with a vintage-style strap made of aged leather - that I still can’t get to fully appreciate – and a NATO strap with hand-sewn Jacquard fabric that, on this version, is of a beautiful gray colour that creates a perfect contrast with the black colour. There is no doubt that, when it comes to colours combinations, taste and matching styles, the designers from Geneva are really one step above everybody else.
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®