hands-on-with-the-next-generation-of-tudor-black-bay-chronographs

Hands-On with the Next Generation of Tudor Black Bay Chronographs

Tudor can always be counted on to make a splash at international watch events, and that held true once more at this year’s virtual Watches & Wonders fair, during which the brand released the latest updates to its ever-popular Black Bay collection. Leading the charge were two new precious-metal editions of the smaller-sized Black Bay 58 diver, and just behind those were the newest iterations of the Black Bay Chronograph series, first launched in 2017.

The line extension to the original Black Bay Chronograph comprises two black-and-white-dialed versions of the watch. The small changes in this latest generation include a reduced thickness, a new black bezel, and of course the aforementioned dial options, which are a mostly white dial with black subdials (aka “panda,”) and the inverse look, mostly black with white subdials, aka “reverse panda.”

Both watches’ 41-mm cases are 14.4 mm thick, reduced from the original 14.9 mm seen on the 2017 edition. The alternating brushed and polished steel case has an overall sturdy feel — entirely comfortable on the wrist but also ready to take a couple bumps without a sweat.

On its right side, two screw-down pushers flank a large Tudor rose-engraved crown, which also screws down and thus assists in providing the chronograph with 200 meters of water resistance. Over the top of the watch is a tachymetric bezel, whose black color contrasts with the brushed steel look of the earlier models and placies the series more firmly in line with its sister brand Rolex’s Cosmograph Daytona, a watch that also opts for a black bezel (in Cerachrom, a Rolex-proprietary ceramic material, rather than in the Tudor models’ steel).

Under a domed sapphire crystal, both the white “panda” and black “reverse panda” dials have a slight graining effect, whose visibility largely depends on the lighting conditions. Along the outer edge is a chronograph-style minute ring, with each minute marked, and each 5-minute position boldened and matched up with applied, lume-filled hour marker. The ring of hour markers is broken up three times — at 3 and 9 o’clock with two indented subdials for a 45-minute chronograph counter and running seconds, respectively, and at 6 o’clock for date window with a deeply beveled edge. The latter element is balanced by a triangular hour marker at 12 o’clock.

At the center of the dial are a set of vintage-style “snowflake” hands, which have become a modern signature for Tudor dive watches, including this chronograph diver. The hour and minute hands are accompanied by a red-tipped chronograph seconds counter, its color matching the text of the dive rating printed near the bottom of the dial.

Overall, the watch seems to be firmly rooted in the design heritage of Rolex chronographs, marking it as a significantly less expensive alternative to the iconic and virtually unattainable Daytona. This is particularly evident in the choice of the colorways available for the Black Bay Chrono, as well as the small accents of red, which are directly descended from, and inspired by, the same colorways used by Rolex on its iconic chronograph. On the wrist, however, the watch’s look is decidedly its own. The “panda” colorways offer a new outlet for Tudor to evolve the attractive Black Bay design, with the dial’s graining adding intrigue as well as high legibility.

As with their 2017 predecessor, the new watches contain the Tudor in-house Caliber MT5813, a movement developed collaboratively with Breitling for the first generation of Black Bay Chronographs. The caliber amasses a 70-hour power reserve, beats at 28,800 vph, uses 47 jewels, and is chronometer-certified by COSC. At its core, the MT5813 is a highly accurate, shock-resistant caliber, imparting the chronograph some in-house intrigue while ultimately providing essential timekeeping, some basic chronograph functionality, and the legibly positioned 6 o’clock date.

The new Tudor Black Bay Chrono models are available now via authorized retailers worldwide, retailing for $4,900 on a woven fabric or leather bund strap, and for $5,225 on a steel bracelet.

To learn more, visit Tudor, here.  

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