Last year, Tudor celebrated 50 years of chronograph making with the Black Bay Chrono. This watch immediately struck a chord with watch enthusiasts, thanks to its combination of precision modern specs, and thoughtful nods to the brand’s long history.
The Black Bay Chrono is so much more than a heritage watch remake. It draws strongly from both the maritime and motorsports lines that made Tudor watches a household name. It’s a fully functional and rigorously tested chronograph that’s up to the challenge whether on the road, on the water, or anywhere in between.
As Rolex’s sister company, Tudor has a reputation for offering the dependability and sheer luxury of a Rolex, at a slightly lower price point. The Black Bay Chrono shows this pedigree in spades. The price point is affordable for most collectors, yet this is a watch that wouldn’t look out of place in even the most luxurious collection.
We especially love the easy combination of diving and motorsports in this unique release from Tudor. The luminous hands, readability, and waterproofness clearly call to mind Tudor’s classic diving lines. Meanwhile, the racing-inspired dials and column wheel have a motorsports vibe.
And it all hangs together perfectly in a rugged yet thoroughly classy looking watch that’s built to go anywhere and do anything.
Tudor released its first diving watch, the Oyster Prince Submariner Reference 7922, in 1954. At first, the Submariners carried the Rolex name on the case, crown and strap. But as the years passed, the Submariner developed its own personality and reputation.
The first Oyster Prince Submariners used Rolex’s three-part Oyster case to make a watch that was water resistant down to 100 metres. For the time, that was impressive! Large indices and hands made sure the watch was readable even under water.
In 1958, the Tudor introduced a new model. The Big Crown Reference 7924. With its water resistance to 200 metres and large crown, it was an instant attention-grabber. Tudor continued to create new iterations of their diving watches until 1989, when the first Submariner Oyster bracelets appeared with the Tudor logo rather than Rolex.
The line was retired in 1995, but in 2012 Tudor revived their maritime heritage with the Black Bay line. The original Black Bay models paid homage to older Tudor diving watches in a variety of ways:
- Domed dial and glass, like the original Tudor Submariner models.
- A distinctive large crown reminiscent of the “Big Crown” Tudor used in 1958.
- The return of the snowflake hands.
- The round indices last seen on the final Submariner model in 1995.
The Tudor Black Bay Chrono also features a bracelet design that looks very similar to the 1950s and 1960s models. The 45 minute counter and six o’clock position of the date window are also a gentle homage to the older diving watches. Meanwhile the chronograph features and high contrast dials are a clear shout out to Tudor’s motorsports history.
To celebrate this new release, Tudor have reworked the case of the Black Bay Chrono. This version features a deep black dial with contrasting dot counters, and of course the classic Tudor snowflake hands. On this model, only the hour hand has the snowflake shape. It’s a nice nod to Tudor’s classic look, without being overwhelming.
The dial is domed, another callback to classic Tudor models, but extremely readable. The matt black of the finish is the ideal background for the minute track and dot markers, visible even in low light.
The face has two sub dials, plus a date window in the six o’clock position. The second hand boasts a subtle red tip which gives just a pop of colour without making the watch look too sporty. The silver of the sub dials contrasts nicely with the black of the face. The overall effect is a feature-rich dial that still managed to be clean and clear.
The 41mm steel case is worn on a polished and satin finished steel riveted bracelet.
Features and Specs
One of the first features we noticed about this watch is the 70 hour power reserve. This is generous even for a watch of this calibre.
The Tudor Black Bay Chrono is water resistant down to 200 metres, so you can take it with you to the beach, the pool, or out on a boat.
Other features worth a mention include:
- Powerful self-winding movement.
- Luminescent hands and dot markers with Super-LumiNova so you can read it easily even in low light.
- 41mm steel case with dual finish steel bracelet.
- A continuous seconds sub dial at the nine o’clock position, and a minute counter at three o’clock.
- Date marker at six o’clock.
- Fixed bezel with tachymetric scale and black anodised aluminium disc.
- Steel screw-down pushers positioned at two o’clock and four o’clock.
- Folding clasp and safety catch on the bracelet for comfort and security.
Under the hood is a Manufacture Chronograph Calibre MT5813. This powerful movement is certified by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) and not only passed, but exceeded their standards.
We think the Tudor Black Bay Chrono tops the league in the wearability stakes. It’s got both form and function on its side.
The waterproof depth and 70 hour reserve make this a practical watch that you can take with you from your workday to your weekend. And if you take it off over the weekend, it will be ready for Monday morning and still keeping time.
The combination of polished edges on the bracelet, with plenty of brushed steel detailing, gives the Tudor Black Bay Chrono just the right amount of shine. It looks smart, but it’s also rugged enough that you won’t be scared to scratch it while wearing it. Yet at 41mm, the case doesn’t feel overly bulky.
The chronograph and crown pushers are water resistant, and the waterproof depth of 200 metres is unusual for a motorsports inspired watch. Yes, the Tudor Black Bay Chrono can trace its lineage to the Oyster Prince, but it has a motorsports edge to it. This is a truly versatile watch, in a way not many models can truthfully boast.
Our only slight con on a watch full of pros is that it takes a bit of effort to release the pushers and start the chronograph. This isn’t a design flaw – the resistance comes from the fact that these features were designed to be rugged and waterproof – but it could be irritating to some wearers.
On the other hand, the large crown with its iconic Tudor rose is delightfully smooth and straightforward to use, with a satisfying feel and reassuring click to it.
As for looks, you won’t get more versatile than the Tudor Black Bay Chrono. The subdials and pushers give it a look that’s sporty, but in the vein of classic cars and derring-do on the waves. The look is modern, but the feel is vintage. The black and steel finishes contrast in a way that wouldn’t look out of place in the boardroom.Cost
The Tudor Black Bay Chrono retails for £4,220.
Sometimes you come across a watch that seems to have it all, and dare we say the Tudor Black Bay Chrono is one such watch. You dive with it, drive with it, and wear it anywhere. It’s clearly been crafted to the highest standards, and features a reliable calibre under that gentlemanly exterior.
The Tudor Black Bay Chrono is an assertive, reassuring watch, with the specs you need to be as practical as it is handsome. Highly recommended.