Baselworld 2017 may have been a bit hit and miss for most brands but among all the great and possibly questionable vintage inspired timepieces on display, one piece that caught our eye was this Tudor Black Bay Steel. The first Heritage Black Bay was introduced back in 2012 and since then, there have been a few other iterations, including the much-coveted Only Watch Tudor Heritage Black Bay One. But for some reason this Black Bay Steel seems to have struck a chord with us. Tudor have knack for making minute changes on well-known watches within their line-up, that have a significant impact on the overall look.
That said, this variation of the Heritage Black Bay perhaps caught our eye for a good couple of reasons, 1) being Tudor’s great price points in general and 2) it’s uncanny similarities to the über rare and brilliantly cool, Rolex Zerograph – minus the push piece. That and the fact it looks as though it now sports a “ghost bezel.” The subtle changes that Tudor have made on this Black Bay are aesthetically simple yet very effective. Perhaps, what I like most is that Tudor have taken design cues from its sister brand Rolex, in fitting a steel bezel, to an already very likeable watch. Though this design trait is seldom seen on a diving watch.
The satin brushed steel bezel features a black engraved 60-minute graduation scale, with minute indicators for the quarter-hour between 0 and 15, with a red triangle and authentic pearl (yes, I’m looking at you Pelagos.)
Speaking of that vintage look and feel, what was good to see on this BB Steel is that Tudor refrained from using, the widely debated, faux patina – something we’ve seen a lot this year. By and large the Black Bay Steel is unchanged, with exceptions to the bezel and the dial, which now includes a date window for the first time but does it is take away from the clean uninterrupted look of earlier Black Bays? The jury is still out on this inclusion but it has been tastefully done and in my opinion, doesn’t upset the balance of the dial much at all. Plus, according to market research by many watch brands it would seem more people are in favour of having a date window than not, so Tudor have tried to ensure the Black Bay Steel appeals to the masses.
The inclusion of a date aperture at 3 o’clock is of course thanks to the manufacture movement that was first introduced in 2015. The 41mm case houses the self-winding calibre MT5612 (the same movement that can be found in the Pelagos) that offers a power reserve of 70-hours, which is certified by the Swiss Official Chronograph testing institute aka COSC.
Another touch that adds to the overall aesthetics of the Black Bay Steel, is the steel bracelet it’s been paired on. We first saw this 1950s/1960s vintage-style inspired, riveted bracelet last year on the Black Bay Black/Dark. This modern interpretation is true to form and features the very distinct stepped construction, though instead features faux rivets, with solid links that deliver that vintage look with modern robustness and added bonus of a micro adjuster – for making on the fly adjustments.
While the vintage version of this style of bracelet featured flat links, this newer modern version uses links that have a slight curvature to them, making it much more comfortable to wear than those of yesteryear. Oh, and it definitely doesn’t seem to pull out wrist hairs too. The Black Bay Steel is also available with an aged black leather strap with deployant clasp, though both will come with an additional khaki green fabric strap.
Tudor introduced some really nice watches this year but while everybody clamoured towards the Black Bay Chronograph and Black Bay S&G, it was the Steel Heritage Black Bay that caught my eye. I’ve always been a fan of the Heritage Black Bay but when Tudor introduced this piece at this year’s Baselworld, we were pleasantly surprised. But even stranger, I didn’t even notice the inclusion of a date window, which goes to show just how un-intrusive it is. The real attraction of the Black Bay Steel is by no surprise the all steel bezel. It just adds that certain something to the overall look, making it more appealing, in my humble opinion. The faux riveted bracelet also adds that bit extra to the BB Steel but of course the one thing that can’t go unnoticed is its size.
41mm for a modern watch is considered to be quite moderate and to be honest it is. As you may have heard me mention before, I tend to wear quite small vintage watches, with my largest piece being around 40mm, so one millimetre shouldn’t be that much of a difference, right? To be honest the diameter of the watch isn’t the problem for me, it’s the height but it’s not a complete deal breaker. After a while it grew on me, as I’m sure it would do for many and if I’m honest I’m not sure the casual watch buyer would even see this as an issue, as this is who it is aimed towards.
What are you getting for your money? A great watch overall with an in-house movement that is moderately priced. Taking design cues from its historic predecessors, the Black Bay Steel is a charming piece of wrist wear and despite the height issues I personally have with it, I could still see myself buying one as a daily wearer.
The Tudor Heritage Black Bay Steel on the riveted steel bracelet is priced at £2,710 and is priced at £2,490 on the distressed leather strap. As mentioned, both models come with the khaki green fabric strap. For more information on visit the Tudor website.