Back in 2018, Tudor introduced their first ever proper GMT timepiece, however, their older more expensive sister also introduced a new GMT, which at the time left quite a few thinking “has been planned?” While we were assured this wasn’t the case, you can’t help but think it might just have been. Fast-forward to 2022 and guess what, it’s happened again. However, for 2023 while both Tudor and Rolex released new GMTs, their difference was stark in contrast to previous years gone by.
As you’ll most likely be aware, Tudor have no real history when it comes to GMT’s but of course Rolex do and that is something you’ll notice with the current design. We’ve previously gone in-depth with the various GMT-Master timepieces produced by Rolex, so I’ll not bore you with that information. The GMT has stood the test of time and in my humble opinion is one the most useful modern mechanical complications. Whether you’re a regular or occasional jet setter the GMT’s functions are perhaps more apt than any other mechanical watch function available today.
When Tudor released their first GMT a few years ago, they went for the tried and tested blue and red GMT scale fitted to a stainless-steel case on a steel bracelet. In 2022, they opted for another classic combination that was rather fitting: steel and gold. Many Tudor’s models featured a steel & gold example, so a S&G GMT made sense. That said, for 2023, they’ve opted again for a case purely made of steel, which features the iconic blue and red bezel but this time around it has been paired with an opaline dial. This new dial option is a not-so-subtle nod to the mythical albino Rolex GMT-Master reference 6542. While there is still some debate over the originality of this watch, there’s no doubt that Tudor have taken cues from this mythical timepiece and run with it, adding further fuel to this debate or perhaps subtly confirming it’s no myth..?
This new an opaline dial GMT sports a 41mm case made from stainless-steel, with a mixture of satin brushed and polished angles. The Black Bay GMT is waterproof to 200 metres (660 ft) and as said by Tudor “designed to withstand the elements.” Its winding crown tube is also satin-brushed steel. The case is finished in a fashion we’ve come to expect from Tudor, with precision but retaining that tool-watch charm and likability, hence the reason it is available on a choice of two bracelets: black Jacquard fabric, or a riveted steel.
The bidirectional rotatable bezel is calibrated for 24 hours, with the twelve daylight hours printed on the red section and the night-time hours on the blue. As the bezel is made from aluminium, as opposed to ceramic, it not only lends a more authentic GMT appearance but also means it will one day patina quite nicely. One of the standout features of the bezel that I really like are the use of elongated numeral font, that if you look closely matches that of the “GMT” text written on the dial.
The dial is styled in the typical fashion we’ve come to expect from Black Bay; it’s a galvanic finished opaline affair, with large, applied markers, inlaid with Super Luminova and a unintrusive date aperture at 3 o’clock. Of course, for legibility the minute track and all text are in black, matching the hands, except for the GMT hand. While the use of “Snowflake” hands on a dial with round markers is still something that in my opinion doesn’t quite look right, it still works just fine.
Tudor developed a new in-house calibre reference MT5652 for the Black Bay GMT model back in 2018 and have used the same movement in this new model. The GMT functionality has been fully integrated into the movement rather than modular, this approach has given Tudor a more flexible calibre that allowed them to keep this new movement svelte and identical in thickness to the standard Black Bay. The COSC certified calibre MT5652 offers a power reserve of 70 hours, featuring distinguished finishing on its bridges and main plates, as well as a satin-brushed rotor all measuring some 31.8mm in diameter and 7.52mm thick.
I quite like this new opaline dial Black Bay GMT from Tudor, while they don’t have the GMT history, they certainly like experimenting with design from their big sister. The BB GMTs rugged charm is evident and GMT functionality makes it perfect for the frequent jet setter. Like previous versions, the thing I admire about is how understated it is. Unlike its shinier, more expensive, and seemingly impossible to find older sister the Black Bay GMT is much subtler, with its satin brushed angles and gentle hue of blue and red 24-hour bezel – it’s a tried and tested recipe.
The Tudor Opaline Black Bay GMT on the riveted steel and gold bracelet is priced at £3,590 and is priced at £3,330 on fabric strap. For more information on visit tudorwatches.com.