The sports watch section of any watch awards is often the most difficult to judge because of the simple fact that sports watches often come with a diverse range of complications. Of course, the contending watches must always be rugged and water-resistant. But they must also be fit for their specific purposes, meaning that the additional features will vary greatly from an alarm to a stopwatch, compass, tachymeter for calculating speed, thermometer and tide indicator.
Not surprisingly, it was one of the most hotly contested of the Revolution Awards 2016, with timepieces covering the worlds of air, land and water all considered. At the end of the day, however, one watch stood out from the rest of the pack thanks to its stunning on-trend design, innovative use of materials and ultimate value for money. An established diving model revisited and reinvented with today’s watch buyer at its heart, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Bronze ticked every box.
The 43mm warm pink-colored case is made of a unique blend of aluminum and bronze, which, over time, acquires an aged appearance as a result of reactions to air, humidity and wear. The patina is unique to each owner and adds a customization that money cannot buy. And, for the first time, Tudor has incorporated a chocolate-brown color for the dial and bi-directional bezel, which, together with the creamy numerals and gold accents, gives a feeling of a nicely aged “tropical” dial — but without the associated cost of the natural variety.
Eschewing the polished surfaces of the previous stainless-steel models, the entire case is brushed, ensuring a subtle and even ageing and patination process. The caseback has been treated to a bronze-colored PVD finish and while not the most retro-looking of the Black Bay family, the model retains the historical “Big Crown”, domed sapphire and snowflake hands that are signatures throughout the collection. As has become the norm with Black Bay timepieces, the watch comes with a choice of straps — in this case, a brown aged leather strap plus a woven fabric one based on the elastic of a vintage French rescue parachute.
Adding to the interest in this new iteration of the Black Bay is that Tudor has this year introduced an automatic, COSC-certified, in-house movement — cal. MT5601. Beating at 4Hz and featuring a variable-inertia oscillator with silicon balance spring, the movement provides 70 hours of power reserve.
Water-resistant to 200m, the Black Bay Bronze is the perfect choice for confirmed divers, novice seafarers or aquaphobic landlubbers with a penchant for originality and style, making it our top choice for the Best Sports Watch of the year 2016.