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. This iteration has 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 uber rare and brilliantly cool, Rolex Zerograph – minus the push piece.
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.) But something that I do find rather intriguing, considering this is a watch from the 21st century, is its unidirectional bezel, again, something seldom seen in watches of today – lending a nice vintage feel.
By and large the Black Bay Steel is unchanged, with exceptions being the bezel and the dial, which now includes a date window for the first time. This 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. This modern interpretation is true to form and features the very distinct stepped construction, though instead features faux rivets and modern solid links that offers a vintage look but has modern robustness. The Black Bay is also available with an aged black leather strap with deployant clasp, though both will come with an extra khaki green fabric strap.
The steel bezel in my opinion changes the stance of the Black Bay by increasing its seriousness but yet perhaps making it more discreet. The Black Bay is already a very popular watch, so much so that even Tom Jones can be seen sporting one during broadcasts of The Voice UK. That said, some may bemoan the inclusion of a date window but in all honesty, it is probably one of the most non-intrusive I’ve seen. That said there was a very distinct theme occurring at this year’s Baselworld but Tudor have been ahead of the curve for some time and the blending of vintage details into their modern watches is commonplace. These subtle vintage design traits in a contemporary timepiece, offer nostalgia and practicality in one package, which is something that Tudor have done so well. Ushering in the new without forgetting the old and as a by-product, making their once underappreciated vintage pieces more collectible – case in point, this very rare Tudor Submariner reference 7923 covered by friends over at Hodinkee.
The Tudor Heritage Black Bay Steel on the riveted steel bracelet is priced at £2,580 and is priced at £2,370 on the distressed leather strap. As mentioned, both models come with the khaki green fabric strap. For more information on visit the official Tudor website.