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?
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.
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.
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.
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