BASELWORLD 2018:

Hands-On with the Tudor Black Bay GMT


If you’ve been active on social media at all over the past two days, there’s a good chance you’ve seen Tudor‘s latest release and the debate that has quickly surrounded it. Working closely with big brother Rolex, Tudor released the Black Bay GMT with a familiar red-and-blue bezel. The watch is attractive, follows the ever-popular Black Bay design codes, and the brand was in need of a strong GMT model — so why the controversy?

Tudor Black Bay GMT on the riveted steel bracelet.

It truly depends on how you feel about the influence a parent company should have on its subsidiaries. Tudor has spent over five years building up a strong following in the United States with accessible and unique watches that have become coveted pieces at horological meetups everywhere. Some may feel that the Black Bay GMT undoes that goodwill; some may disagree and think the new GMT stands on its own — especially when compared with the brand new Rolex GMT Master II in Oystersteel, which my colleague Mark Bernardo wrote about here. Whatever side you fall on, its a bold move for a brand whose tagline is “Born to Dare” and has recently signed ambassadors such as Lady Gaga and David Beckham.

Close-up on the graduated anodized aluminum bezel in matte burgundy and blue.

In a press conference Wednesday morning, Tudor mentioned that the decision to move forward with the model came as a “group decision by both brands,” meaning that Rolex believes the timepiece stands on its own. After seeing it in the metal, I tend to agree. It has the traditional 24-hour bidirectional matte red-and-blue bezel, but it uses the Tudor snowflake hand for the second time zone indicator (and the hour and second hand). To me, this helps distinguish the model from its older sibling in a genuine way. The snowflake hand is a distinct Tudor trait and it fits right at home in this travel time model.

Tudor Black Bay GMT on the striped NATO strap option.

The 41 mm model has a polished-and-satin finish and comes on a choice of three different strap options. You can choose between a “Tierra di Siena” brown leather strap, a black fabric strap with a burgundy stripe, or a riveted steel bracelet. It features Tudor’s in-house, COSC-certified MT5652 caliber with a silicon balance spring and a 70-hour power reserve. The models on the leather and NATO are priced at CHF 3,400 and the bracelet model comes in at CHF 3,700.

Keep an eye out for more exciting Tudor coverage coming soon and follow us on Instagram for more Baselworld updates.

 

17 Responses to “Hands-On with the Tudor Black Bay GMT”

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  1. I have a 7 and 1/4 inch wrist and the leather strap on the new Tudor Black Bay GMT pepsi just barely fits my wrist. Does Tudor make this brown leather strap in a longer length? Jack

    Reply
  2. Wayne Silva

    I have been wearing the Rolex GMT for 51 yrs., I believe i am number two on the waiting
    list for the new GMT Tudor. I’m very excited, can’t wait. I have had all the Rolex’s from the daydate
    down. at 67 yrs. old i’ve done my share of wanting this Rolex or that one. I live in Albuguerque which is a cow town. i have yet to see another Rolex where i swim for the past 12 yrs.
    Tudor is cunning. They will do the same thing as Rolex did. Don’t put all the bells & whistles
    on at once. next year it maybe the crown guard. maybe make one or two of the snow flake hands go away, then change the bracelet a little.
    in all my years wearing a Rolex, never did the crown guard protect the crown from damage.
    This watch will be bullet proof and keep as good as my Rolex’s.
    wayne in New mexico

    Reply
  3. Stexie

    Lady Gaga is no lady and DAvid Beckham was star quality for how long?
    Both factors that deter me from buying Tudor which is a shame it’s a nice watch which doesn’t need celebrity advertising.

    Reply
  4. James B

    I disagree, respectfully, that this is a step back for Tudor. I for one want the vintage look of the old Rolex GMT masters that you just can’t get from Rolex. I’m not a big fan of the ceramic bezel and while I am very glad they have a Pepsi bezel on a steel model finally, I think the Tudor hits all the right notes I have missed about the old GMT master…pointed lugs, chamfer on the sides, a domed crystal, the beautiful hues of red and blue that aluminum brings out richly. Rolex is never going back to those attributes and their price is beyond reach for many. Tudor presents a GMT watch with a Pepsi bezel that is affordable, well built and has a Rolex association that no one else has. All of those make this watch a winner to me and I’m just waiting for my A/D to call and tell me mine is here.

    Reply
    • Chandler

      You know that’s the whole point of a bronze watch, right? Patina development is one of the biggest benefits of a bronze case watch.

      Reply
  5. Dennis Mincin

    I love the watch except for the lack of crown guards which I think would give it a more complete look. Is this a little rebellion against Big Brother? I’ve had a Tudor Datejust for over 20 years and the quality is just as good as Big Brother’s so I’m sure the GMT is up to any task. But crown guards shouldn’t have been sacrificed for the sake of identity.

    Reply
  6. Øivind Knudsen

    Just beautifull. May be I have to change my Omega GMT into the Tudor GMT

    Reply
  7. It’s not a bad watch but what annoys me is that this watch is available in vast numbers but the Rolex GMT isn’t and this scarcity is entirely manufactured by Rolex. The most popular watches typically in stainless steel have a waiting list of up to four years. I don’t like feeling like I’m being thrown a bone when what I really want is the superior product. Having to pay premium prices even in the second hand market is a mugs game. If I buy a Tudor I feel like I’m buying a lesser quality watch. Never forget that Rolex like Tudor is a mass producing watch company. These days I feel more inclined to purchase from the likes of Omega and Breitling. Rolex is to much trouble.

    Reply
    • Except Rolex makes significantly more watches than Tudor does, you see GMT Masters everywhere seeing a Tudor GMT will be a novel experience.

      Reply
  8. Paul White

    Brilliant. Tudor impresses with watches built and priced as they should be!

    Reply
  9. Richard Shapiro

    Logan – that is an interesting review, but I think you missed a key point. For many years, Tudor was unjustly, but commonly referred to as the “poor man’s Rolex.” With the issuance of the first Black Bay, showing independence of design, they started to seriously blow that old insult away. I bought one of the first Black Bays to reach the US, and still wear it proudly.
    But now this????????
    Honestly, who could buy this watch and look at it without thinking: “I wish I could have had the Rolex Pepsi GMT but it was too expensive”? We are back to the “poor man’s Rolex” in spades.
    It’s a shame, because it is a nice piece. But it will forever be the half price version of the GMT.

    Reply
    • Jay Courant

      I couldn’t agree more Richard’s assessment. I just bought a Pelagos LHD last week. It’s a stunning watch, unique, with some great vintage throwbacks and entirely unique. I have many other watches including a 1988 Pepsi. I feel the Tudor GMT is a step back for this progressive brand.

      Reply
  10. Hans Maristela

    About time! Finally, a solid GMT that won’t break the bank.

    Reply
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