Tuesday, July 24, 2018

TUDOR Heritage Black Bay 'Midnight Blue' Rivet Steel Bracelet Reference M79230B-0001 - Simple, non-complicated timepiece, A Review (plus Video)

When Tudor announced back in 2015 that the brand will start to ship its watches with in-house movement instead of using external parties' such as ETA got me interested in the brand. After a few years, I finally got the Pelagos. Now, I am in a position to be able to acquire the Black Bay with the in-house movement.

The Black Bay is synonymous with Tudor. Since its release in 2012, a lot of watch collectors have a spot in their collection that earmarked for the Black Bay. For many budget conscious collectors, it has the pedigree yet not the expected price premium generally associated with such an icon.

The Tudor Heritage Black Bay is an icon. The genesis started from the Tudor Oyster Prince Submariner reference 7922 back in 1954. It was a self-winding watch and features a case with a screw-down back and a crown with 100 meter water pressure rating. Very practical in design, well proportioned and excellently built. I love to have it in my collection.



The Tudor Heritage Black Bay is paired with Tudor’s in-house MT5602 movement, one of three in-house movement launched by Tudor in 2015. This upgrade is not just in the movement. Gone is the curved text at bottom hemisphere of the dial as well as the vintage rose at the upper hemisphere of the dial. Instead, there are now three straight lines of text and the Tudor shield. In addition, a new riveted bracelet has been introduced to pay homage to the original design of bracelets on the 1950s era divers.

The Material

The Tudor Heritage Black Bay is made out of stainless steel and highly polished with satin finish. The bezel is also stainless steel with anodised aluminium inserts.The crown tube is also made out of anodised aluminum. Sapphire crystal is used for the dial window.

The Dimensions

The watch has a width of 41 mm across the case (excluding the crown). With the crown, the width extends to 45 mm. Lug-to-lug width is 50 mm with a height of 15 mm. Lug width is 22 mm. The bracelet starts at 22 mm at the lugs and tapers to 18 mm at the clasp.

The crown is bigger than contemporary dive watches with a width of 8 mm. It sits in a blue tube made out of anodised aluminium that extends 1.5 mm out of the main watch casing.

The sapphire crystal has a box design that extends 2 mm above the bezel. This gives it a vintage look that I appreciate immensely.

Overall, these dimensions fit well for my wrist which  has a circumference of 7.25 inches (or 184 mm).

The Dial

The watch has a simple 3-hand set complication. It has a flat-black dial with bright white metal applied markers (round and rectangular) and hands plus a matching white minute track. The dial is set deep inside the watch casing. The chapter ring is polished steel which improves the brightness of the dial somewhat. The dial is well balanced, symmetrical and legible.



Tudor's famous Snowflake Hands is used on this watch. The square diamond head used on the hours and seconds hands is what gave the iconic namesake to Tudor. All the hands (for the seconds hand it is only the Snowflake head) and the hour markers are painted with luminous Superluminova paint which gives a green glow in the dark.

There are six lines of texts and logo on the dial, split into the upper quadrant and the lower quadrant. All the texts and logo are printed in normal white paint.

The midnight blue bezel and silver printing provides an additional usability to the watch. The bezel is made out of stainless steel and covered with a matte blue anodized aluminum disc. The scale is very traditional with minute markers provided for the first 15 minutes. The required illuminated pip is located at 12 o'clock and is the only part of the bezel that is painted with Superluminova paint. The coin-edged bezel is satisfying to use as it is not wobbly and clicks in place confidently.

The large button crown, signed with the Tudor rose, is easy to manage. When screwed down, the crown sits against a matching blue tube made out of blue anodized aluminum. Having the crown not sit flush against the case is very vintage is design which plays nicely with the other vintage design cues on the watch. Moreover, the Tudor rose engraved is black-lacquered for a stunning visual effect.



Unfortunately the chamfered lugs does not have drilled-out lug holes to help facilitate bracelet or strap changes. Care should be taken if you want to change the bracelet to a strap or vice versa as the awkwardness of reaching the lugs increases the possibility of accidentally scratching a polished surface on the watch.



The watch comes standard with a unique bracelet. This bracelet is a tribute to the old rivet bracelets found on the early Tudor 'Submariners'. It consisted of 3 solid links next to each other, with side links being slightly cut, to create a straight line from the lugs to the buckle. The sides are then adorned with a thin plate that is satin finished and connected to the links by rivets.



The buckle is a solidly built folding clasp with a two-point locking system. Three micro-adjustment points are provided help in re-sizing the bracelet. As you can see in the photo above, the clasp is made out of machined parts instead of stamped metal. This is another indication of the level of manufacturing quality practiced by Tudor. Unlike the Tudor Pelagos, the bracelet of the Black Bay does not have any divers' extension mechanism in place.

The additional strap provided with this watch is called the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Navy Blue 22 mm NATO Strap & Buckle. This is a deep navy blue fabric strap with clasp and sewn-in metal keepers with beveled edges. Unlike a conventional NATO or Zulu, the spring-bars are sewn into sleeves in the strap, ensuring the watch both sits evenly and cannot slide free of the strap as you take it off.

Picture taken from the net. I've packed the given spare strap in storage before I realised I forgot to take a picture of it. This is similar.

Tudor fabric bands are manufactured using the tedious and traditional process on a Jacquard loom by a specialist in France. The resulting strap has a dense weave with a high thread count, giving it a thickness and weight superior to most fabric watch straps.

Other aspects of the unique strap is the shape of the buckle that has some semblance to Tudor shield logo. Both the buckle as well as the loops are finished with alternating brushed and polished surfaces.



The screw-down case-back is solid and devoid of much information apart from the simple description of the movement used. The serial number of the watch can be found on the lug (top right of the photo above. The number on the lug on the bottom right is the model reference number).

The Movement

In 2015, TUDOR announced its first series of in-house movements. The MT5602 (simple 3-hand automatic movement), the MT5612 (3-hand automatic movement with date) and the MT5621 (3-hand automatic movement with date and power reserve indicator). In my collection I already have the MT5612 (see here). This will be first MT5602 in the collection.



Beating to a frequency of 28,800 BHP or 4Hz, the movement has 26 jewels. Some of the innovative technologies used for the MT5602 series are the free sprung balance wheel, bidirectional winding, a balance bridge, silicon hairspring, sleeve bearing and monobloc rotors.

The most obvious performance enhancement is the very impressive 70 hour power reserve, well above the industry standard of approximately 40 hours under this price point. It is also a Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) certified chronometer.

The Wearing Experience

Compared to the Pelagos, the Black Bay is smaller although weight wise, they are comparable. As such, in my opinion, the Black Bay is more useful and flexible in different settings and body size of wearers.

I must say the Black Bay is a real wrist candy. The domed sapphire crystal and the rivet plates on the bracelet are eye catching and good conversation starters. A few times I was asked about the watch from people I just met while wearing this timepiece.



The lack of some form of divers' extension is a bummer in my view. Granted such mechanism, however basic, will increase the dimensions of the clasp. However, without such system in place, the watch will feel 'incomplete' as a bracelet diver. I guess, this is why the watch came with a fabric strap (not after 1 July 2018). Unfortunately, if you get the watch today, the packaging will not come with any additional straps. Tudor, I seriously recommend you continue with your previous offering of the extra strap.

Below is a video of the watch on my wrist. For reference, my wrist is approximately 7.25 inches in circumference.




CONCLUSION

In many reviews about the Black Bay, the subject of Rolex and how it compares generally comes out. A lot of people are quite curious on how Rolex looks at Tudor considering Tudor is a subsidiary of Rolex. Some gleefully conclude that Tudor is a real value-for-money when compared to a similar Rolex timepiece (in this case with a Rolex Submariner). 

I decided against doing such a comparison because I believe Tudor is positioned in a different class from Rolex and it would not be a fair to judge them both as equals.

To me, Tudor is a Swiss brand that competes with other second-tier Swiss brands such as Oris, Victorinox, Hamilton etc. The choice of creating its own in-house movement is commendable but it may elevate it to a higher competitive plane which may not do justice in the long run. 

I hope Tudor keeps it focus on simple, non-complicated timepieces. Affordability is becoming a major variable in the world of horology and Tudor must recognize that fact. Those that can afford very expensive watches are generally not prolific watch collectors as their interest only blossom when they can afford to buy such expensive items. Personally, some of the very expensive timepieces are so ugly and devoid of any horological significance that the only reason such watches have the level of 'desirability' is purely for the bragging right of owning something grotesquely expensive.     

Most collectors like myself buy watchers due its significance on the horological evolutionary tree. Price is definitely a key factor when deciding what gets on the 'to get list' and what gets on the 'wish list'. Unfortunately, Tudor is getting close to the edge of the 'to get list'.


The Series

The Tudor Black Bay is Tudor's most famous line. The design specification of this series has been developed from 60 years of Tudor diving watch experiences. The series was updated in 2016 with an in-house movement and current consists of 10 models. These are:

The 'Burgundy' sub-series consisting of the (L to R): Rivet bracelet M79230R-0003, aged leather strap M79230R-0005, burgundy fabric strap M79230R-0009 and black fabric strap M79230R-0010.



The 'Black' sub-series consisting of the (L to R): Rivet bracelet M79230N-0002, aged leather strap M79230N-0001 and black fabric strap M79230N-0005.



The 'Midnight Blue' sub-series consisting of the (L to R): Rivet bracelet M79230B-0001, aged leather strap M79230B-0002 and blue fabric strap M79230B-0006.



The series consist of three different bezel colours (burgundy, black and blue), two styles of dial &  hands (the first is with the rose gold-toned framed hands, markers and cream coloured luminescent coating and the second is with the polished steel framed hands & markers and white coloured luminescent coating) and five types of bracelet and strap combinations (rivet steel, aged leather strap, burgundy fabric strap, black fabric strap and blue fabric strap).

The Reveal

I was made to understand that Tudor has given instructions to stop providing a spare strap with the purchase of any Black Bay from 1 July 2018. Since I bought mine on 28 June 2018, I was still entitled to get one.

The packaging comes in three parts. The first is the white cardboard packaging box with the brand printed in silver at the front top corner with some production codes.

 

Underneath this is the main traveling box in black and printed with the brand (in white) and logo (in red).



Underneath this is the main watch-box with the logo in dark relief. Flipping it open (hinges at the back) and you will find the watch as well as all the documents associated with it.



There is a small hidden drawer just North of the watch (with the red tab) where you can put any extra links from the bracelet after resizing. In here, you will also find the extra fabric NATO strap.




The Price

The MSRP for the Black Bay is RM13,430.00. I got this example from the Swiss Watch Gallery in NU Sentral, Kuala Lumpur. I was able to get for RM11,679.00.



Specifications


CASE
Steel, 41 mm, polished and satin finish
BEZEL
Unidirectional rotatable bezel in steel with matte blue anodized aluminum disc
DIAL
Black, domed
CRYSTAL
Domed sapphire crystal
BRACELET
"Rivet" steel bracelet
STRAP
Additional fabric NATO strap with buckle supplied with watch
CROWN
Screw-down steel winding crown, with the TUDOR rose engraved and black-lacquered, with blue anodized aluminum winding crown tube
WATERPROOF
Waterproof to 200 m (660 ft)
MOVEMENT
Manufacture Calibre MT5602 (COSC). Self-winding mechanical movement with bidirectional rotor system
POWER RESERVE
Power reserve of approximately 70 hours






Photo Gallery




1 comment:

  1. I fancy your posts because they are suitable for me. I can read them easily and I think they are awesome. The articles give me many lessons and tips. Look forward to your next posts.
    https://autoketing.com/
    best app currency converter
    currency converter app download

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

CONTRIBUTE FOR THE UPKEEP OF THIS BLOG

Any contributions is appreciated!