Quality. Functional. Accessible. These words encapsulate one of the most spectacular watch successes of this decade, the Tudor Black Bay, which was deservingly honoured with the Revival Prize at the Grand Prix D’Horlogerie Geneve (GPHG) in 2013.

In 1954, the Tudor Submariner was released, looking suspiciously like the Rolex Submariner that was launched a year earlier. While it adopted many of the design cues of the famed Rolex including the iconic waterproofed Oyster case, the Tudor Submariner aptly fulfilled the wish of founder Hans Wilsdorf, who also founded Rolex, for a watch that was in every way like a Rolex, only cheaper.

For decades, the main difference separating parent company Rolex and Tudor are the movements - the former is equipped with those made in-house while the latter acquired them from a third-party supplier, namely ETA, hence the more accessible prices.

The period after the 1980s, however, saw Tudor overshadowed by the dazzling fame of Rolex – that is until its revival in 2009 led by then CEO Philippe Peverelli who focused on reintroducing and reinforcing Wilsdorf’s original vision for the brand, that of a great watch with great value. Part of the strategy was breathing new life into historical models that would form the brand’s backbone, the Heritage family of watches.

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Tatler Asia
Black Bay in a bronze case (Photo: Tudor)
Above Black Bay in a bronze case (Photo: Tudor)

Three years into this rebranding exercise, Tudor hit gold with the revival of the 1954 Submariner, better known today as the Black Bay. The vintage-inspired timepiece, wrapped in polished and satin-finished case with a burgundy bezel, was a runaway hit with visitors at Baselworld 2012.

And proving that it was no flash in the pan, the Black Bay was awarded not only the best Revival at GPHG (horology’s version of the Oscars) but its retro-tastic bronze rendition and chronograph version also received the “Petite Aiguille” Prize (for watches retailing below CHF 8,000 or about RM32,000) in 2016 and 2017 respectively

Water-resistant up to 200m, the Black Bay is an incredibly well built dive-inspired watch that took the best design cues from the early years when the Tudor diver was much sought after. It is recognisable for its domed dial, Snowflake hands as well as hour markers distinguished by a triangle at ‘12’, rectangles at ‘3’, ‘6’ and ‘9’, and circles for the rest.

The growing family welcomes four new members this year including a GMT and a steel-and-gold model.

Find out which new Tudor watch also made it to our favourite Baselworld list here

The new Black Bay GMT offers a second time zone reading via the red Snowflake hand pointing to the 24-hour scale of the bi-directional burgundy-and-blue or, as the watch community likes to call it, Pepsi bezel.

 

You can adjust the hour hand in a new time zone without stopping the watch. This is made possible by the COSC-certified MT5652 manufacture calibre with openwork rotor and silicon balance spring. It is paired with an option of a riveted bracelet with visible rivet heads that attach the links, a black fabric strap made using the Jacquard technique, or a “Terra di Siena” brown leather strap.

Switching things up is the Black Bay S&G, the acronym referring to steel and gold. A fine mix of a sporty and a dress watch, the gold is featured on the rotating bezel and the crown as well as the central link of the riveted bracelet. Alternatively, you can have either a strap of aged leather or fabric. The MT5612 calibre is certified by the COSC for chronometric excellence and boasts 70 hours of power reserve.

Named after the year when Tudor released its first diver water-resistant up to 200m in depth, the Black Bay Fifty-Eight boasts dimensions similar to its early dive models including a 39mm diameter case. Gold accents on the bezel, markers and hands luxe up this instant classic. The movement is the COSC-certified MT5402 that belongs to a new family of in-house movements dedicated to medium-sized watches.

Last but not least, the Black Bay 32 is a new feminine model with 32mm case and a blue dial. To accommodate its slimmer proportions, the dial is flat while the water-resistant is only 150m. Everything else from the polished and satin-finished steel case, the Snowflake hands and contrasting hour markers are unmistakably Black Bay.

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