Tudor Black Bay Steel
Ah, Tudor. The sister brand to Rolex. Or is it brother? Cousin? They are in the family for sure. All joking aside, when you think of Rolex, many things may come to mind. Luxury, Wall Street, Celebrities, Expensive, Heritage, Prestige- I can go on, but I think you get the point. When one thinks of Tudor, some of those same things may come to mind. Tudor definitely has the heritage, the prestige, they have celebrity endorsements, many would consider them luxury, but they are not as expensive as Rolex. Actually, for the most part, they are half or sometimes a third of the cost depending on the models you would be comparing. Up until a few years ago, Tudor had not been available in the United States for quite some time.
Tudor Black Bay Steel Specifications:
- 41mm Stainless Steel Case
- 50mm Lug to Lug
- 22mm Lug Width
- 14.5mm Thick
- Sapphire Crystal
- Movement: Manufacture Calibre MT5612 (COSC)
- 200 Meters WR
- Leather Strap or Rivet Bracelet
Price $3475 (Leather) $3800 (Bracelet)
Please consider purchasing from Timeless Luxury Watches
When they made their re-debut and released the Black Bay, man it caught on like wildfire. Here we are in 2018, and there are more variations of the Black Bay than I can remember. Bronze, Black Bay Black, blue bezel, red bezel, green bezel, chronograph, on and on. The one I have had on hand for a few weeks is the Tudor Black Bay Steel. This came to me from Timeless Luxury Watches, an authorized dealer out of Texas. (Link Above). When looking at 3-hand Black Bay models, many look the same with the exception of color, but not this one. This one is a little different.
What are some of the differences between the Tudor Black Bay steel and the rest of the variations in the lineup? Well, one is that this version actually includes a date window. I believe this is the only 3-hand Black Bay with dive bezel to currently have a date wheel. The other difference would be the stainless bezel insert as opposed to the traditional aluminum that Tudor normally uses. It does give it a different look for sure. It is less vibrant but in a good way. It is diver watch that is not an in your face diver watch. A little more subdued. Of course with a brushed stainless bezel insert such as this, if you plan on roughing it up in the ocean, expect it to show scratches pretty quickly.
Speaking of scratches, the Tudor Black Bay Steel case sides are all high polished. Scratch and mark magnets. I so wish it had an all brushed case, not only would it show fewer scratch marks, it would also make the case look less thick. The Black Bay is not exactly a slim watch at almost 15mm. Being honest, I have never been sure why so many watch brands brush the top of the case (and in this case the bezel as well), only to completely mirror polish the sides. As I spoke about in the video review, I understand that the Black Bay is more of an elegant or dress diver as opposed to a tool diver, like the Pelagos.
If the Tudor Black Bay Steel (and the Black Bay in general) is the dress diver, why did they choose to go with a matte finish dial? I can’t answer that obviously, but it did make me scratch my head. The BBS has chrome finished applied markers of course and overall dial finishing is superb, I just think an enamel or sunburst dial would have stood out a bit more. One of the big improvement with the newer in-house movement versions of the Black Bay is the new text on the dial. Gone is the smiley face text of “self-winding” and in its place the water resistance and “chronometer officially certified. The Tudor flower is also now a thing of the past and replaced with the shield logo.
For many, including myself, one of the great attributes of the Tudor Black Bay Steel and other new Tudor models is the in-house movement. With a power reserve of 70 hours, the Manufacture Calibre MT5612 is not only completely made by Tudor, but it is also COSC certified. First introduced in the North Flag a few years ago, this movement has made its way to the Black Bay and its titanium cousin the Pelagos. Much like Rolex, Tudor chooses to keep their movements hidden, under a recognizable and very plain case back. I feel at times like Rolex and Tudor just say screw it, we are at the top of the mountain, we don’t need a fancy engraved case back.
For some reason, I chose to have Timeless Luxury send the Tudor Black Bay Steel on the distressed leather strap. I am not sure what I was thinking. I love a leather strap and wear straps more than I do bracelets these days, but the Black Bay is just not a strap watch in my opinion. The leather is supple and the strap looks great; so does the custom Tudor deployant clasp. Unfortunately, there is only one set of lugs holes on the BB, and there is a significant gap when paired with the OEM strap. For some reason, the buckle is upside down as well. It’s, well, ODD. I also did not find it overly comfortable because of this. I should have reviewed the bracelet version. This watch, at this current point in time, is meant to be on the bracelet. Period.
Tudor Black Bay Steel Lume
I can’t end a review on a negative note like that, not on a review of a Tudor Black Bay Steel…The reality is, it is a Tudor. It is a fantastic watch, no doubt about it. The crown and bezel action is crisp, smooth and just plain superb. It is a classic looking Tudor and the steel bezel insert makes this watch even more attractive to me. Having a COSC in-house movement for just under $3500 is nothing to sneeze at either. Yes, I would rather it on the bracelet and the high polished sides are not my first choice, but it is hard to argue that this watch is not a value. Sure, it is not pocket money to most, but it is also not $8000 + for a Rolex Sub or Seadweller. If I am being perfectly honest, I think the Pelagos would just be more my speed, but I will say this with no qualms- If you have been contemplating getting a Black Bay but were not sure, trust me when I tell you it is worth the asking price. Just get it on the bracelet, and do so from Timeless Luxury Watches. :-)