Tudor added four new models to the Black Bay line in the Heritage collection at Baselworld 2017. It’s hard to argue with the success of the existing models, so what could they have added?
The first model to debut is the Black Bay Chrono. It’s a snowflake hands-equipped two register chrono with date at the six o’clock position. It certainly fits within the same context that a 1957 Omega Speedmaster fits. If you like a vintage look chronograph with a modern movement, the Black Bay Chrono might be for you. It will sell for $5050 on a riveted bracelet that fits that era it’s recalling without paying homage to any specific model.
The Heritage Black Bay Steel is the latest addition to the Black Bay line, and following the previous models, it’s a 3-hander with snowflake hands on the diver mid-case that’s been in use since Black Bay was introduced. Here, the bezel is now a brushed stainless steel instead of the previously anodized aluminum in colors. Here, Tudor is recalling a model that was introduced in 1995. If I’m honest, it wasn’t the watch for me then, and it isn’t now.
The Heritage Black Bay S&G is a steel and gold affair, with the common two-tone elements: gold crown, gold center link oyster bracelet, gold rotating coin edge bezel, with black and gold bezel insert. If you always wanted a steel and gold Submariner, this is your watch. It’s odd: I can see the people who would buy it in my mind’s eye, but I’d much rather wear a 30 year old gold and steel Datejust than the Black Bay S&G.
Lastly, Tudor round out the new Black Bay additions with the Black Bay 41. Where last year we had the Black Bay Heritage 36mm with smooth bezel, this year it’s been upped to 41mm, which means it can share a case with the Tudor Ranger, keep the snowflake hands, and get the benefit of the MT in-house movement with 70 hours power reserve. This is sensible, and if you were thinking you’d like a 39mm Rolex Explorer, the Black Bay 41 should have your attention.
In my opinion, Tudor has some hits and some misses. I think they’re making a mistake introducing so many new Black Bay variations. The quintessential Black Bay is the Black Bay Red. The blue, black, and bronze all make sense. One smooth bezel variant is a little out there, using a diver dial for a dress style watch, but all these borders were blurred a few years ago. Making a larger size of the same watch to force the migration to in-house movements is a mission I can understand. The steel and gold, and the stainless brushed bezel are misses for me. They don’t make sense unless they’re trying to capture the market for people who want to wear a watch that looks like a Submariner in gold, can’t afford one, but do have 4750 CHF, in which case, more power to you. I don’t know who you are if you want the stainless bezel insert Black Bay. Some things are vintage, and should be paid homage; other things are just old. This is the latter.