Baselworld 2019 may have been a bit hit and miss for most brands but amongst the vintage inspired timepieces on display again, of which some were faithfully better recreated than others. Another Tudor that had us intrigued was the new Black Bay Bronze with Slate Grey dial. The first Bronze Black Bay was introduced back in 2016 and since then, there have been quite a few other iterations and even a unique piece made for Only Watch. This iteration has perhaps caught our eye for a good couple of reasons, 1) being the fume slate grey dial and 2) just the fact that Tudor have finally released a Bronze piece we can’t help but like.
I am, somewhat, impartial to bronze timepieces and this Black Bay is no different. I neither love them or loathe them but some clearly work better than others. There is no denying the Black Bay Bronze is a big watch, coming in at a size of 43mm in diameter but it’s still highly wearable. Perhaps, what I like most is that Tudor have taken this unusual case material and made it seriously cool. Tudor’s bronze Black Bay’s never really excited me before but there was something about the dial combination and this case material that instantly struck a chord with me this time round.
The grey aluminium bezel features a bronze print 60-minute graduation scale, which is demarcated for the quarter-hour between 0 and 15, with a matching bronze tone triangle and authentic pearl – which I’ve noted before is something I’d like to see on the Pelagos too.
The Black Bay Bronze dial remains technically unchanged since the first bronze model and sports a 3, 6, 9, explorer-type dial, coupled with snowflake hands – which adds to the overall effect. The slate grey dial exhibits a subtle ombré, where the dial gradually gets darker towards the edge of the dial – which kind of gives the dial a vintage vignette patination. On top of this, the use of gilt printed minute scale and text harks back to the days of old and adds an overall warm look.
Bronze is a “living” metal and because of this, each example will produce a subtle, unique patina, based on the wearer’s habits. To aid this uniqueness, the Black Bay Bronze has been entirely satin-brushed that guarantees homogeneous development of the patina. Housed in this bronze case is the in-house calibre MT5601 that measure 33.8mm, which is the widest Tudor calibre in any of the current watches and is endowed with a power reserve of 70-hours.
Another touch that adds to the overall aesthetics of the Black Bay Bronze is the fabric strap. It’s no secret that Tudor has historic links to the French Navy. It’s known that Tudor delivered watches without bracelets, but troops fitted them with their own straps, handmade or otherwise. One of them, found on a period divers’ watch kept in the brand’s archives, is made of elastic recovered from French rescue parachutes (as can be seen on my very own BB58). This ultra-functional relic, recognisable by its gold-coloured thread, is the reference behind the slate-grey woven jacquard strap available for the Black Bay Bronze. A second option is an aged black leather strap whose straight cut accentuates the rustic effect.
The BB Bronze in my humble opinion is a rugged watch almost tailormade for the adventurous explorer’s out there. It’s unapologetically bold, with its rather large (even perhaps for me) 43mm case, yet I get it. Aesthetically it speaks to me, but had it been more in the range of 40mm, I’d already have my order in. Nonetheless, if you are looking for a rugged watch with pure charming qualities and you’re not opposed to slightly bulkier sports watches, then this is definitely a watch that ticks those boxes. Furthermore, it’s gold-tone bronze case will be quite rewarding for the wearer, getting to witness how it will oxidise and uniquely patinate overtime, not to mention its rather attractive price point.
The Tudor Black Bay Bronze with Slate Grey dial ref. 79250BA is available on a fabric or leather strap and is priced at £2,910. For more information on visit the official Tudor website.