Ahead of the Rugby World Cup starting in Japan this week, Tudor has cemented its partnership with the New Zealand All Blacks team with the launch of a limited edition Black Bay Chrono Dark (Ref. 79360DK): a 41-mm, blacked-out version of their popular chronograph.

The Black Bay chrono first debuted in 2017. Pic by Roger Ruegger

The decision to produce a blacked-out version was a no-brainer, it matches the jersey color of the legendary All Blacks team, winners of the Rugby World Cup on three occasions (1987, 2011, and 2015). The most successful team in the game’s history, they are also the defending champions at this year’s tournament.

This limited edition uses the same case construction as the updated S&G chronograph unveiled this year which features a slimmer case (14.4 mm, versus the 14.9 mm of the 2017 edition). 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.

The case is slimmer now thanks to some clever engineering

If you look closely, there is no rehaut (or flange) to the dial. The steel case is PVD-coated with titanium carbide. It has a black satin-brushed finished and is paired with a matching tapering bracelet. The crown and chronograph pushers are all in black. The case is water-resistant to 200 meters like all the other watches in the Black Bay line. The case has a black aluminum bezel insert with a tachymeter scale printed in contrasting white.

The watch is powered by Caliber MT5813, an integrated column wheel chronograph movement. 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 manufacture Caliber B01 movement used in the Chronomat series.

The tapering bracelet misses the rivets of the Black Bay family

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 limited to 1,181 pieces (the number of players that have served the legacy of New Zealand’s national rugby team since its creation in 1903); the one number that will not be available to collectors is #1115, which belongs to Beauden Barrett, who holds the world record for consecutive wins since his first test (19 wins from 19 tests). It is available immediately, at a retail price of $5,925.