Recently, every Baselworld watch fair has brought at least one new addition to Tudor’s popular, award-winning family of vintage-inspired divers’ watches, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay. One of the latest is the first Black Bay model with a bronze case and the first Tudor watch with a chocolate-brown dial.
The Tudor Heritage Black Bay Bronze, like its most recent predecessor, the Black Bay Black, shows the influence of the Tudor Submariner, Ref. 7922, launched in 1954, the brand’s first dedicated divers’ watch; the Ref. 7924 model, nicknamed “Big Crown,” from 1958; and to the 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, and the brown dial and unidirectional rotating bezel is highlighted by golden and beige-colored accents. Elements new to this dial are the Arabic 3, 6, and 9 o’clock numerals, and the Tudor “shield” logo below 12 o’clock that replaces the Tudor rose logo found on other models.
The 43-mm case (previous Black Bay models have all had 41-mm cases) is made of a high-performance aluminum bronze alloy (bronze was used extensively in historic shipbuilding and for diving equipment) that will develop a unique patina over the years and thus become individual to its owner. The aluminum alloy is proprietary to Tudor. The entirely brushed finish ensures that the patina will develop homogenously. 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.
The watch’s other noteworthy feature is its movement, Caliber MT5601, a variation on the brand’s first-ever in-house caliber, introduced just last year in the Tudor North Flag watch. The new movement, developed specifically to equip this model, is slightly larger in diameter than its predecessor, Caliber MT5621 (“MT” for “Manufacture Tudor”), has a frequency of 28,800 vph, and carries 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. It features automatic winding via a bidirectional rotor and boasts a COSC chronometer certification.
Another nod to Tudor’s history as a purveyor of dive watches to the French Navy is evident on the watch’s strap, made of a beige-and-brown woven jacquard textile material with a central yellow thread — a look inspired by a vintage piece on which the owner had attached a makeshift strap recovered from an elastic French rescue parachute. (That watch, which Tudor showed us at Baselworld, is pictured below.)
Each watch also comes with an aged brown leather strap (below), whose rustic look is bound to match up well with the patina of the bronze case. The Tudor Heritage Black Bay Bronze will be available in May, priced at $3,975.
We had a chance to spend some time with the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Bronze during our meeting with the brand at Baselworld. Below please find some hands-on photos.