Tudor’s Heritage Black Bay collection of vintage-inspired divers’ watches — which added its first bronze-cased model last year — expands again at Baselworld 2017 with the introduction of an all-steel version with brushed-steel bezel insert. The Heritage Black Bay Steel, which contains a Tudor in-house movement, is noteworthy as the first in the Black Bay family with a date function.
In contrast to the colorful inserts in the rotating bezels of its predecessors in the Heritage Black Bay series, this watch’s insert is machined from steel and circular satin-brushed for a matte surface and a very industrial overall look.
The movement, Tudor manufacture Caliber MT5612, is a variation of the brand’s first truly in-house movement, Caliber MT5621, which made its debut in the North Flag model in 2015. Developed specially for this model, it adds a date indication (displayed in a window at 3 o’clock) to the timekeeping functions of the base caliber. Like other Tudor in-house calibers, this one boasts a 70-hour power reserve, and a frequency of 28,800 vph (4 Hz); it’s regulated by a variable-inertia oscillator with silicon balance spring held in place by a traversing bridge. Caliber MT5612 (“MT” for “Manufacture Tudor” has also been chronometer-certified for timekeeping precision by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC).
The watch’s bracelet, like so many other aspects of the Black Bay series, is a nod to the past: it is inspired by the folding riveted bracelets on Tudor watches produced in the 1950s and 1960s. These were known for their visible rivet heads on the side of the bracelet for attaching the links, and for their distinct, stepped construction. Despite the vintage look they evoke, the modern versions of these Black Bay Steel model are very contemporary in their modern manufacturing methods. In addition to the bracelet version, the Heritage Black Bay Steel is also available on a black aged leather strap with folding clasp. Both versions come with an additional khaki-green fabric strap (below), a signature element of Tudor Heritage watches, which is made using the Jacquard technique, a traditional craft still practiced by a hundred-year-old family business from the St-Etienne region of France.
The Tudor Heritage Black Bay, like its predecessors, represents a synthesis of designs from Tudor dive watches of the past. The prominent winding crown and the red triangle on the bezel were first seen on the Tudor Submariner Reference 7924 from 1958 — nicknamed by collectors the “Big Crown” — the first Tudor watch to be water-resistant to 200 meters. The line of red text on the black, slightly dome-shaped dial, highlighting the maximum guaranteed water resistance, recalls the look of certain rare Ref. 7923 models from 1955. Other key dial features include the “snowflake” hour and seconds hands, characteristic of the Tudor dive watches used by the French Navy in the 1970s, and the domed sapphire crystal, a common element of many early Tudor dive watches.
The 41-mm case, with satin-brushed and and polished finishing, is water-resistant to 200 meters (660 feet) and secured by a steel screw-down crown with a Tudor rose emblem engraved and lacquered in black. The price is $3,800 on a steel bracelet and $3,475 on a leather strap.