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The world’s biggest event devoted to luxury timepieces, Watches & Wonders, kicked off its 2023 exhibition today in Geneva. The event, formerly known as the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, this year showcases new watches from nearly 50 brands, from industry titans to trend-setting boutique brands and independents. Among the most anticipated new releases, as one might expect, are those from Swiss megabrand Rolex (which we cover here) and from Rolex-owned sport-luxury specialist Tudor. Here is a report of the year’s most intriguing new Tudor watches from the floor of the Geneva Palexpo.
The Background: The Black Bay has become the undisputed flagship of the modern Tudor fleet since its introduction in 2012. Its appeal to collectors springs from its elegantly melded hodgepodge of elements from several different iterations of its fondly remembered dive watch, the Oyster Prince Submariner. These include the so-called “snowflake” hour hand, drawn from the Submariner Ref. 7016 from 1969. (The oddly shaped hour hand was apparently a concession to legibility: one of Tudor’s main clients for its Submariner was the French Navy, whose divers found two distinctly different hands to be beneficial in reading the time underwater.) The large screw-down crown, with engraved Tudor rose emblem, was introduced on the 1958 "Big Crown" model. The geometrical hour markers — round dots and rectangles, with a dominant inverted triangle at 12 o’clock — are derived from Tudor Submariners on the market in the ‘60s and ‘70s, as is the subtly domed shape of both the dial and the sapphire crystal. The core Black Bay family, directly descended from the original Heritage models, are sized at 41mm with cases predominantly in steel and dive-scale bezel inserts made of anodized aluminum. Nowadays, these Black Bay 41mm models contain the Tudor Caliber MT5602, an in-house movement that debuted inside the now-discontinued North Flag watch. It boasts a 70-hour power reserve, a silicon balance spring held in place by a traversing bridge, and a COSC chronometer-certified timekeeping accuracy.
What’s New: The new Black Bay with a burgundy-colored bezel evokes the trend-setting model from 2012, with the classic 41mm case dimensions and burgundy-colored unidirectional diving bezel. It is also, notably, the latest Black Bay outfitted with the automatic Tudor Caliber MT5602-U, which boasts not only the COSC chronometer certificate that all Tudor calibers carry but also a Master Chronometer certificate from METAS, the Swiss Institute of Metrology, which measures not only precision but other factors like resistance to magnetic fields. Outside of Omega, which instituted the Master Chronometer tests for its own watches in 2015, Tudor is the only watch brand to earn this certification. Other notable tweaks from its predecessor include the new, curvier crown with the engraved Tudor rose emblem and Tudor’s five-link steel bracelet with the adjustable “T-Fit” system.
How Much? Prices start at $4,125 on a leather strap and range to $4,450 on a bracelet.
The Background: The Tudor Black Bay GMT takes the classical design of the Rolex GMT-Master and gives it a very contemporary spin that is also distinctly 21st-Century Tudor. While the Black Bay GMT owes an obvious aesthetic debt to Rolex’s GMT-Master, it also fits firmly within the design language of the Black Bay, with its bezel sporting a bicolor 24-hour ring on which the wearer can read a second time zone thanks to the dial’s GMT hand. The famous bright red-and-blue “Pepsi” bezel of Rolex’s original GMT-Master is here slightly modified to a more muted indigo-and-burgundy combo. Last year, Tudor wowed the Geneva crowds with a steel-and-gold version.
What’s New: The newest iteration of the Black Bay GMT features an opaline white dial with a galvanic finish that imparts to it a silvery-grained texture. The outlines of the dial’s hour indexes have been darkened to stand out more boldly. The 41mm steel case holds Tudor’s manufacture Caliber MT5652, which boasts an antimagnetic silicon balance spring and a “weekend-proof” (as per Tudor) 70-hour power reserve. Introduced in the original Black Bay GMT from 2018, the self-winding movement is built for robustness and precision, with a variable inertia balance anchored by a traveling bridge fixed at two points. Like all Tudor in-house movements, it carries a chronometer certification by the Swiss testing agency COSC, though Tudor proudly reminds us that its own in-house standards for precision are even stricter than COSC’s: between -2 and +4 seconds of deviation per day as opposed to the -4 and +6 permitted for the certification.
How Much? The new Tudor GMT retails for $3,975 on a fabric strap and for $4,300 on a “rivet-style” bracelet.
The Background: In 2018, in response to growing consumer demand both for more modest case sizes and for greater period authenticity in vintage-style timepieces, Tudor introduced the Black Bay Fifty-Eight, named for the year 1958, in which Tudor released the Oyster Prince Submariner Ref. 7924, the most clear forerunner to the Black Bay. That watch matched the 39mm case diameter of that vintage model, which became the default case size of the Oyster Prince shortly after the first models were sized at 37mm.
What’s New: You saw where this was going, right? Tudor has now resurrected the original 37mm sizing of the original Oyster Prince from 1954 (Ref. 7922) in a new model called — you guessed it — the Black Bay Fifty-Four. At just 11.24mm thick in stainless steel, and topped with a unidirectional bezel sans hash marks — a nod to the early days of SCUBA diving and early watches for divers — Tudor calls it “the purest modern expression of the brand’s first-ever dive watch.” Inside the 200-meter water resistant case beats the automatic Tudor Caliber MT5400, with a COSC chronometer certification and a 70-hour power reserve. Both versions of the watch — on either a riveted bracelet or a rubber strap, feature the “T-Fit” adjustment mechanism.
How much? Prices are $3,625 on the strap and $3,850 on the bracelet.
The Background: Notable for their smooth, stationary bezels — which replace the functional, rotating divers’ bezels of the “classic” Black Bay — the smaller line extensions of the core Black Bay collection, in 41mm, 39mm, 36mm, 32mm, and 31mm case sizes — take the Black Bay out of its usual milieu as a stylish tool watch for divers and place it firmly within the “everyday” sports watch category. Tudor has launched a plethora of colorways in this dressier line extension to do justice to the array of sizes and, hence, wearer among both men and ladies.
What’s New: Four case sizes in steel, all connected to five-link steel bracelets, made their debut at Watches & Wonders 2023, each of them hosting one of three new vibrant dial colors: blue, anthracite, and champagne. Some are also available with diamond-setting. Demonstrating how far Tudor has come since it re-entered the U.S. market in 2013, all of these watches are now fitted with in-house, automatic Tudor movements, all COSC-certified and boasting antimagnetic silicon balance springs: Caliber MT5201 in the 31mm watch, MT5400 in the 36mm, MT5602 in the 39mm and MT5601 in the 41mm.
How Much? MSRP on the new Black Bay models ranges from $3,725 to $4,050.
The Background: It’s not quite all Black Bay from the Tudor factory these days. Tudor founder Hans Wilsdorf introduced the watch that inspired the Tudor Royal way back in 1926 — predating the Oyster Prince Submariner that inspired the Black Bay by decades. The Royal, which was first called by that name in 1950, is a dressier family than the Black Bay, while still fairly “sporty-chic” in its design, with either a notched or diamond-set bezel and that ever-popular integrated bracelet.
What’s New: Two new sunray-motif dials make their debut on this year’s Royal models, which like the previous smooth-bezel Black Bays are available in multiple case sizes: 28mm, 34mm, 38mm and 41mm — one salmon-colored, the other chocolate brown. Also making their debut are models with mother-of-pearl dials and applied diamond or Roman numeral hour markers; a total of 13 new styles are available. The five-link integrated bracelets, depending on the model, are either all steel or steel and gold and feature the T-Fit easy-adjustment system.
How Much? The salmon-dialed Royal models range from $2,300 to $2,450; the chocolate-brown, from $3,450 to $3,675.
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