Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue
Angus Davies reviews the Heritage Black Bay Blue.
This detailed review of the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue includes live images, specification details and pricing.
I have waxed lyrical about Tudor on several occasions, ever since I first clapped eyes on the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Red with its eye-catching burgundy bezel. However, I have harboured a long held frustration about this Genevan brand, it has not been available in my native England. I would see the brand’s gorgeous watches on my travels and lament they were unavailable from authorised retailers, here in the UK.
Now, Tudor has smoothed my ruffled feathers with the announcement that it is returning to the UK after a prolonged absence of 12 years. I am now elated, because my friends can visit a high-street watch emporium and see with their own eyes the focal point of my unswerving praise for the last couple of years. Indeed, I have become somewhat of a Tudor bore, repelling fellow guests at parties with talk of gorgeous crowns, super-smooth cases and snow-flake hour hands.
Tudor has returned to its second home
In 1905, Hans Wilsdorf founded a company in London, specialising in the distribution of watches. A few years later, Wilsdorf established Rolex, a brand known to all and subsequently registered the “Tudor” brand name in 1926.
However, whilst no doubt many of my fellow journalists will expend much energy, and column-inches, writing about Rolex, I don’t intend to bring up its name again. This is not a slight on the brand with the crown, but to keep mentioning it in the same breath as Tudor is to serve an injustice on the younger, Genevan brand.
Tudor, in recent times, has become a remarkable brand in its own right. It arrests attention with its own unique design codes and evinces a very distinct character which elicits much praise.
It now seems befitting that Tudor has returned to England, the place Wilsdorf once called home.
Creating future classics
Davide Cerrato is the design director at Tudor and, together with his colleagues, has studied former Tudor horological gems. He has masterfully captured some of the essence of the brand’s former models, spanning the period of the 1950s – 1990s. With its huge back catalogue of classic designs, there has been much to provide Cerrato with inspiration.
However, Cerrato has not sought to create replicas of former models, this would undermine the values of highly prized vintage pieces and, no doubt, alienate followers of the brand.
Today’s models capture some of the beauty of former designs, but grant a fresh appearance. It would seem the classics of the past, seen through the refracted image of Cerrato’s spectacles, have led to him to sketch some incredibly handsome models, distilled for today’s audience. The latest Tudor models and destined to be tomorrow’s classics, of this I am certain.
In 2013, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Red won the “Revival Prize” at GPHG (Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève). The esteemed panel of judges share a wealth of experience and their seal of approval is coveted by every watch brand. Moreover, this is not restricted solely to Swiss watches, entries from Germany and Austria have been given the nod of approval from GPHG over the years.
An aspect of being a watch journalist, I hate the term “blogger”, is that your path often crosses with fellow writers. After a few drinks, sat among said journalists, a few off-duty watch company executives and the occasional designer or watchmaker, the conversation enters the world of “off-the record” opinion.
On several occasions, individuals who have no relationship with Tudor, swear words of undying love for its models. I can immediately think of several fellow journalists who have made the leap and parted with their own promissory notes to acquire a Tudor. Invariably it is the Heritage Black Bay which has been the focal point of our watch collecting avarice. However, the brand just keeps producing more pulchritudinous stars, deserving of attention.
Red or blue?
I have never been very successful at the roulette table, invariably selecting red, when black was where the sensible chips were being placed. In this instance, Tudor does not offer the choice of red or black, but rather red or blue.
A few months ago a friend asked me, whether she should purchase the Heritage Black Bay with a red bezel or blue. I recall saying, “Pick the red version, it will always be the classic, especially after wining the GPHG prize in 2013.”
At the time, I had only spent a little time with the blue and had not seen too many examples. However, a friend of mine in Holland recently showed me his Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue on a steel bracelet. Interestingly, he had the case back inscribed with his newborn son’s date of birth. It seems in years to come, the little boy will become the owner of a timeless classic.
Furthermore, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue has now been pre-selected by GPHG for a prize in the “Men’s” category. The competition is stiff, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Tudor doesn’t go home with a bit more silverware to add to its growing collection.
Choosing can prove difficult
Tudor has not made selection an easy affair. I have already informed my wife that I want a Tudor Heritage Black Bay and vacillate between both blue and red options. However, the cognitive dissonance is heightened by the choice of strap or bracelet.
All models are supplied with a Tudor fabric strap, black in the case of the red bezel option or a blue item for the blue bezel variant. These straps are not to be confused with a regular NATO strap, these are of a different design and adjustable in length.
Tudor grants more choice with the option of a co-ordinating aged leather strap, presented on a deployant or a satin-finished steel bracelet with folding clasp.
Ordinarily, I like choice, but I have driven my wife to distraction. In Madeira a few weeks ago, I tried on various models at David Rosas and settled on the red bezel with aged leather. Two weeks ago I pressed my nose against the previously smear-free window of Yvan’s Jewellers in Brussels, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue with steel bracelet was winning me over, just before my wife grabbed my arm and pulled me away.
Last week in Switzerland, I placed the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue with steel bracelet on my arm and now I am in a quandary. Which model should I buy?
In the coming weeks, I have no doubt my decision will be made. I just pray Tudor doesn’t throw another dial variant into the mix or I will forever be stood outside a retailer’s window in a state of indecision. At least I don’t have to travel as far to be spoilt for choice.
- Model: Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue
- Ref: 79220B
- Case: stainless steel; diameter 41.00mm; water resistant to 20 bar (200 metres); sapphire crystal to front and solid caseback.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; central seconds.
- Movement: Tudor Calibre 2824, self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz), 25 jewels; power reserve 38 hours
- Strap: Aged leather strap with folding clasp or satin-finished steel. Additional adjustable Tudor fabric strap with buckle supplied with watch
- Prices: £2120 (RRP as at 19.8.2014) on aged leather strap. £2330 (RRP as at 19.8.2014) on bracelet