In 2017, Tudor expanded its flagship Black Bay range with a clutch of new references including a chronograph with an integrated chronograph movement for under $5,000. This chronograph was a runaway hit and went on to win the “Petite Aiguille” prize at the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) 2017.
This year, just like big brother Rolex who introduced a two tone Sea-Dweller, Tudor unveiled the new Black Bay chronograph S&G (S&G is Tudor speak for two tone steel and gold watches). However, this is not the 2017 chronograph in new livery, Tudor has introduced subtle changes that go a long way.
The watch uses a 41 mm case just like the original, but it is now slimmer by more than a millimeter. Thanks to a domed sapphire crystal that was thinned out from the inside, Tudor’s engineers were able to move the hands and dial closer to the roof of the crystal and subsequently pull the movement higher into the case and thereby reduce the thickness of the middle case. If you look closely, there is no rehaut (or flange) to the dial.
The satin-brushed bezel of the original is now replaced by a fixed bezel in yellow gold with a black anodized aluminum insert with a tachymeter scale in matching gold. The aluminum bezel insert is more in line with the rest of the Black Bay family. The screw down crown and chronograph pushers are in yellow gold and the watch has a stainless steel caseback.
The black dial has a bi-compax layout with the counters in champagne gold. The minutes counter at 3 o’ clock has a 45-minute track, characteristic of Tudor chronograph models. A running seconds hand is placed at 9. The signature snowflake gilt minute hand returns, so do the luminous hour indices. There’s a dash of red on the dial, thanks to a red-tipped gilt central chronograph seconds hand, and the depth rating print which is also in red - a nod to the Tudor designs of the Fifties. A date window anchors the dial at 6 o’ clock.
Caliber MT5813, a brand new integrated column wheel chronograph movement, is the engine powering this Black Bay. It is a result of a collaboration between Tudor and Breitling. Under the agreement, Tudor supplies Breitling with its three-hand automatic movement (used in the Black Bay) in exchange for the latter’s manufactureCaliber B01 movement used in the Chronomat series.
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 comes with a few strap options. Tudor’s trademark riveted steel and yellow gold bracelet which has a polished and satin finish, or a brown leather bund strap combination. As always, both options also get an additional black jaquard strap. The watch is priced at CHF6,500 (around $6,500) when paired with a steel bracelet and CHF5,350 ($5,350) on the bund strap.