Crowned the winner of this year’s Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) “Petite Aiguille” category, Tudor’s Heritage Black Bay Bronze has sustained the near-universal acclaim it received upon its release at Baselworld in March 2016. Simply put, the honour marks Tudor’s ref. 79250BM as the year’s best watch with a retail price under CHF 8,000 – and it’s wa-a-y under that price.
Growing in popularity as a material for watchcases, the alloy has been used by Panerai, Oris, Bell & Ross, Ball, Hublot, Montblanc, Steinhart and a number of other houses. Part of the appeal is the material’s use throughout history in cases of marine chronometers, a whiff of nautical authenticity that permeates the timepiece. Looks, however, make bronze a real winner for those seeking a change from steel or gold: although bronze might seem like an impractical and unsuitable material for contemporary watchcase construction because it oxidises easily, it’s this attractive and unique patina created by the oxidisation that makes every piece unique and personal.
It’s another case of degradation that actually possesses its own charm for enthusiasts, like the aging of defective dials that are dubbed “tropical”. In this case, the oxidisation can be easily cleaned off, although layer of oxidisation, indeed, protects the underlying metal from further corrosion.