It’s a poorly kept secret, but I have a very particular addiction. My friends and family know, my colleagues know — hell, even the source of my obsession is aware of its power over me. Today, I am sharing it with Revolution readers: I am a Tudorholic and withdrawal is a bitch. I had not bought a new Tudor for five weeks, until… this year’s Baselworld proved too strong a temptation and I succumbed, offering a home to two fabulous new Black Bays, which will keep company with the three I already own.
Every year in the run-up to the Basel fair, I dogmatically declare that Tudor can’t possibly keep reinventing the (watch) wheel with the Black Bay, and every year I have to eat my words as we see yet another great selection of BBs from the rose-and-shield. This year was no exception, even offering up the Black Bay complication that we all expected to see last year: the GMT. Beyond the wonderful BBs, there was also a new collection, based on Tudor’s archives and sure to be a commercial success thanks to its astounding price point.
On that note, please allow me to introduce the Tudor 2018 line-up:
Black Bay GMT
At once familiar, the Black Bay GMT marks the dawning of a new age for Tudor. Striving to re-establish itself after its jubilant second coming in 2013, Tudor was determined to stay independent of sister-brand Rolex and comparisons were actively discouraged by both companies. Today with a stronghold in both the vintage and new markets, the brands are keen to be seen as a happy family that offers horological accessibility to all — and no watch better represents this than the 2018 GMTs, with both Tudor and Rolex coming to the watch party in unexpectedly similar garb.
I will leave the news of the new steel GMT Master II for another story, as the Black Bay GMT — one of the shining stars of Basel and a huge commercial success already — deserves a mention all of its own. With the iconic (and as all Revolution contributors and editors will tell you, this is not a word I use lightly) rotating 24-hour “Pepsi” bezel — which draws inspiration from the first two BB models: Burgundy and Blue — and red snowflake hand, the watch allows easy and legible reading of local time as well as that in two other time zones.
Housed within the 41mm steel case waterproof to 200m is the new automatic manufacture Calibre MT5652 with integrated, rather than modular, GMT function. Featuring a variable inertia balance and silicon balance spring, the movement has 70-hours of power reserve and is COSC-certified. A trio of choices for the strap mean that the watch is available on a “Terra di Siena” brown leather strap, black and burgundy striped fabric strap or, in a flashback to the 1950s and 1960s, a bracelet with visible rivets.
Self-winding manufacture Calibre MT5652; COSC-certified; bidirectional rotor system; jumping hour (second time zone); 24-hours, minutes and seconds at the centre; date; silicon balance spring; 70-hour power reserve
41mm steel case with polished and satin finish; bidirectional rotatable 48 notches bezel in steel
with 24-hour graduated anodised aluminium disc in matte burgundy and blue; steel screw-down winding crown, with Tudor rose in relief; waterproof to 200m
Riveted steel bracelet, with polished and satin finish, or “Terra di Siena” brown leather strap with folding clasp and safety catch, or black fabric strap with burgundy band
Black Bay Fifty-Eight
For me this was one of the highlights of Baselworld for its design aesthetic, accessible price point and versatility – at one Basel dinner it was tried on by every guest at the table and, regardless of age or gender, it looked astonishingly good on every wrist. A self-confessed Black Bay lover, the proportions of this piece, which are closer to the dimensions of original Tudor dive watches, have somehow made the model even better. The name of the watch is a further reminder of the year Tudor launched its first dive watch waterproof to 200m: 1958.
The steel case is 39mm in diameter and waterproof to 200m. Touches of gold have been added to the hour markers, hands and minute track of the bezel. The winding crown tube is in satin-brushed steel, while the crown itself features the Tudor rose logo in relief. The watch is powered by the COSC-certified, in-house Calibre MT5402 and displays hours, minutes and seconds. It is available on Tudor’s new riveted bracelet, a brown leather strap with folding clasp or black fabric strap with a gold-coloured band.
Self-winding manufacture Calibre MT5402; COSC certified; centre hour, minute and seconds hands; variable inertia balance; silicon balance spring; 70-hour power reserve
39mm steel with polished and satin finish; unidirectional rotatable bezel in steel with 60-minute graduated disc in matte black anodised aluminium and pink gilded markings and numerals; steel screw-down winding crown with Tudor rose in relief; waterproof to 200m
Riveted steel bracelet with polished and satin finish or brown leather strap with folding clasp and safety catch or black fabric strap with a gold-coloured band
Black Bay 32
When the 41 and 36 were introduced last year, sans bezel, it took the Black Bay in a more subtle, subdued direction. The 36 in particular had a distinctly vintage feel and was a favourite amongst certain fashionistas in the Revolution and Rake offices. For 2018, the brand has taken it one step further in terms of choice, launching a new mini model: the 32.
As the latest member of the Black Bay clan, the 32 may be small but it is also mighty with a steel case water-resistant to 150m, housing an automatic movement. The blue or black lacquered dials are treated to the familiar BB luminescent hour markers.
As well as this diminutive new model, last year’s 41 and 36 are also treated to a makeover with new blue dial options.
32mm steel with polished and satin finish; steel screw-down winding crown, with Tudor rose in relief; waterproof to 150m
Self-winding Calibre 2824, 38-hour power reserve
Steel bracelet with satin finish, or brown leather strap with folding clasp and safety catch or black fabric strap with buckle
Black Bay S&G
Last year, the Black Bay S&G proved to be the sleeper watch of Baselworld. Hiding in the shadow of the BB Chronograph, the S&G stepped up to its rightful place as best-seller when it became the watch of choice for one of Tudor’s new ambassadors; at the same time, it gained the unofficial nickname of “the David Beckham watch”. For 2018, the S&G is back with the same COSC-certified manufacture Calibre MT5612 and date window at 3 o’clock, but now featuring a bezel and crown made from yellow gold. The dial is available in either black or champagne and the watch comes on a fabric strap, leather band or a riveted bracelet with the middle links capped in gold.
Self-winding manufacture Calibre MT5612 with bidirectional rotor system; COSC-certified; centre hour, minute and seconds hands; date; 70-hour power reserve
41mm steel case with polished and satin finish; unidirectional rotating bezel in yellow gold with 60-minute graduated matte black anodised aluminium disc; gold markings; yellow-gold screw-down winding crown; waterproof to 200m
Steel and yellow-gold bracelet or aged leather strap with folding clasp and safety catch, or fabric strap with buckle
As much as this year was another raging success for the Black Bay, there was one surprise in Tudor’s arsenal, in the form of a brand-new family of watches aimed at the first-time buyer. It is a full 92 years since Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf registered a new brand name: The Tudor. And in honour of the year of its birth, Tudor has launched the 1926 collection which stays true to the brand’s original aim of supplying technically excellent, aesthetically pleasing watches at an accessible price.
Equipped with self-winding movements, the watches have a 38-hour power reserve and are available in 28mm, 36mm, 39mm and 41mm in steel or steel-and-gold cases, the dials of the 1926 collection are a nod to Tudor’s illustrious past, featuring a vintage-style “waffle” design in a choice of silver, opaline or black. Applied even-numbered Arabic numerals are complemented by arrow-shaped hour markers or diamond-set markers and sword-shaped hands. A bracelet made up of seven brushed and polished links of different sizes hugs the wrist
With prices ranging from CHF1,600-2,750, the 1926 represents a new standard for entry into the mechanical watch world and is sure to be a winner for Tudor in 2018.