Tudor scored a major hit at Baselworld 2016 with the GPHG-winning Black Bay Bronze. This year it expanded its flagship Black Bay range with a clutch of new references including a chronograph with an integrated chronograph movement for under $5,000.
Meet the Black Bay Chronograph, which seeks to merge the company’s “Aquatic Heritage Line” with Tudor’s history of producing chronographs for motorsports. So the watch has the signature design elements that the Black Bay is famous for – the domed sapphire crystal, the snowflake hand, the big crown – but mixes these elements with classic chronograph styling. In theory this may look odd; a diver’s watch with a tachymeter scale may not be to everyone’s tastes but somehow to their credit, Tudor pulls it off.
The watch has a domed matte black dial with hollowed sub-counters. The minutes counter has a 45-minute track, characteristic of Tudor chronograph models. It uses the signature snowflake minute hand and circular luminous indices save for the inverted triangle hour marker at 12. It also has the depth rating in red, a nod to the Tudor designs of the Fifties. The only jarring bit in the dial is the date window at 6 o’clock, which is frankly unnecessary.
The 41 mm steel case has a fixed bezel in circular satin-brushed steel with an engraved tachymeter scale. The chronograph is fitted with pushers inspired by the first generation of Tudors. It is worth mentioning here that Tudor presented the Prince Oysterdate Chronograph in 1970, a successful model for the brand.
Caliber MT5813, a brand new integrated column wheel chronograph movement, is the engine powering this new Black Bay. It is a result of an interesting collaboration between Tudor and Breitling. Under the agreement, Tudor will supply Breitling with its three-hand automatic movement (used in the Black Bay) in exchange for the latter’s manufacture Caliber B01 movement used in the Chronomat series.
However, Tudor has considerably modified the movement to make it its own. It has a new regulator (Tudor uses a silicon balance spring in the escapement), MT 5813 has the brand’s signature movement finishes (a mix of sandblasted and brushed surfaces) and it uses a Tudor’s bi-directional rotor. In keeping with the purest watchmaking traditions, the movement uses a column wheel mechanism and a vertical clutch. Like all of Tudor’s in-house movements, this comes with COSC-certification.
The watch is paired with the characteristic stainless steel riveted bracelet or sold with a leather strap with folding clasp and safety catch. Both models come with a really impressive navy blue denim-like fabric strap. Like all of Tudor’s fabric straps, this is woven on 19th century jacquard looms by a 150-year-old family from Saint-Étienne in France. The watch will retail at $4,800 (steel bracelet) and $4,500 for the leather strap.