If you’re still under the impression that a Tudor is a “poor man’s Rolex”, you must be living under a rock. Just a few weeks ago, aTudor ref. 7923 (1956 – 1957) Submariner sold for US$99,999 on Ebay while the last Only Watch Auction saw a special edition Heritage Black Bay One go under the hammer for CHF375, 000 (over 120 times its list price) — hardly the kind of price tags most of us can easily cough up, much less a “poor man”.
Tudor’s Heritage Black Bay watches in particular, first introduced in 2012, have fast become a must-buy for watch collectors of all levels of sophistication. Inspired by the brand’s diving heritage, these watches are an amalgamation of everything that made Tudor dive watches special in the past 60 years (cue the snow flake hands, domed dial and Big Crown). Equipped with a great brand pedigree, perfectly designed vintage accents and modern day sensibilities, what makes the watch even more appealing is its super attractive price point — all the Black Bay models retail for less than US$5000.
In fact, it was only a week ago at the recently concluded Baselworld fair, that the brand launched two of its priciest models (you’ll soon find out why they cost more): The Heritage Black Bay Chrono and the Heritage Black Bay S&G.
Heritage Black Bay Chrono
The Heritage Black Bay Chrono is powered by Tudor’s very first inhouse manufacture chronograph movement, the MT5813 calibre. Although the calibre bears the prefix MT, short for Manufacture Tudor, it is in fact, a modified Breitling movement — something Tudor is unabashedly transparent about. By adapting Breitling’s flagship B01 calibre to its specifications and standards, it was able to offer a robust integrated column wheel chronograph with a vertical clutch system and 70 hours of power reserve, without compromising on its promise to provide great value.
The result is a Tudor-finished movement with sandblasting on the bridges and main plate; a Tudor regulating organ complete with an amagnetic silicon hairspring, an oscillating mass made of monobloc tungsten and a 45-minute chronograph counter at 3 o’clock that replaces the traditional 30-minute counter. Other attractive features include a red depth rating, newly designed screwed down “MK0” or “millerighe” pushers and a sexy price tag of S$6912. Available from July onwards.
Heritage Black Bay S&G
With the classic styling of bi-metal and two-tone watches slowly gaining traction, Tudor releases its own version, the Heritage Black Bay S&G, the latter being an abbreviation for steel and gold. At a glance, the 18k gold portions on the bezel and bracelet resemble the aged and brassy look typical of bronze, a material that Tudor presented one of its Heritage Black Bay models in last year. But no, instead of using bronze or any special alloy, it has kept to using 18k gold with a brushed finish, as opposed to the regular polished finish that we’re used to seeing on, for example, a Rolex bracelet.
While the Heritage Black Bay S&G’s bezel and first centre link is made of pure solid 18k gold, the rest of the centre links and the crown are gold-capped. The difference between a gold-plated and gold-capped object is that the former is achieved using an electroplating process involving a thin coating of gold, while the latter is realised via a bonding process that ensures that each component is wrapped in a much thicker layer of solid gold. This means that yes, the bracelet can be polished after years of potential wear and tear.
Featuring a gilt dial, riveted bracelet or vintage looking leather strap, this 41mm ticker comes equipped with the inhouse manufacture made MT5612 calibre (like most of the other Black Bay models). This COSC certified movement features a date indicator, 70 hours of power reserve and an amagnetic silicon hairspring. Priced at S$6840, it is available from May onwards.