Tudor has used blue as a traditional color in its watches since 1969, when the first Tudor Oyster Prince Submariner, Ref. 7021, debuted with a blue dial. In 2016, the brand began using a distinctive “Bucherer Blue” for special models sold in Europe and made in partnership with mega-retailer Bucherer. This year, Tudor finally brings one of these exclusive editions to the U.S., to be sold through the Tourneau network of watch boutiques, which was acquired by Bucherer in 2018. Here is the lowdown on the Black Bay Bronze Bucherer Blue.
Vintage influences abound in the model, as they do in all Black Bays, primarily from the Submariner, Ref. 7922, launched in 1954, Tudor’s first dedicated divers’ watch; the Ref. 7924 model, nicknamed “Big Crown,” from 1958, which was the first Tudor watch water-resistant to 200 meters; and to Tudor dive watches sold from 1969 to the early 1980s with their prominent “snowflake”-style hour and minute hands. The snowflake hands, along with other historically inspired elements such as a domed crystal and chamfered lugs with drilled holes, are all present in the new model, along with contemporary elements like the Arabic 3, 6, and 9 o’clock numerals, and the Tudor “shield” logo below 12 o’clock that replaces the Tudor rose logo on historical models. (On thos watch, the rose emblem subtly adorns the screw-down crown as an engraving.)
The case measures 43 mm in diameter, the same as the first Black Bay Bronze with brown dial (steel-cased Black Bay models use 41-mm cases) and is made of a high-performance aluminum bronze alloy that is proprietary to Tudor. Bronze, as many are aware, was used extensively in historic shipbuilding and for diving equipment; cases made of this material will develop a unique patina over the years and thus become individual to the watch’s owner. In this watch, this patina will develop homogenously thanks to its entirely brushed finish. The bronze divers’ bezel has a matte blue insert made of anodized aluminum, which harmonizes with the blue dial. The caseback, made of stainless steel, is treated with bronze-colored PVD with a satin finish. The screw-down winding crown, engraved with the Tudor rose emblem, aids in the watch’s water-resistance of 200 meters.
Behind that solid engraved caseback is an in-house movement, Caliber MT5601, which was developed specifically to equip the original Black Bay Bronze model from 2016. Slightly larger in diameter than its 2015 predecessor, Caliber MT5621 (“MT” for “Manufacture Tudor”), the self-winding movement has a bidirectional rotor, a frequency of 28,800 vph and a 70-hour power reserve. It is regulated by a variable inertia oscillator with a silicon balance spring held in place by a traversing bridge. Best of all for those who prize accuracy as well as aesthetics in a mechanical watch, Caliber MT5601 carries a COSC chronometer certification.
The NATO-style fabric strap represents another nod to Tudor’s history, as a purveyor of dive watches to the French Navy in the 1970s. It’s made of a blue-and-gold woven jacquard textile material with a bronze buckle — a look inspired by a vintage piece on which the owner had attached a makeshift strap recovered from an elastic French rescue parachute. The Tudor Black Bay Bronze Bucherer Blue is priced at $4,150, and sold exclusively through Tourneau shops in the United States.