Tudor Heritage Black Bay Bronze

Angus Davies review the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Bronze Ref. 79230BM.

This detailed review of the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Bronze includes specification details and pricing.

Tudor_Heritage_Black_Bay_Bronze_wrist - ESCAPEMENT magazine - watch reviews by Angus Davies

This summer thousands of British citizens will travel to various Mediterranean beach resorts, eager to escape the rainy skies of Blighty. Two weeks of sun worshiping seems de rigueur. An array of different body shapes will spend an inordinate amount of time lying recumbent, doused in suntan oil and searing beneath the sun’s ubiquitous smile.

For the fortunate few, their bodies will morph into toned, bronzed figurines evincing a healthy glow and appearing most becoming. Regrettably, for the less fortunate, a diet of relentless UV exposure will result in their anaemic flesh adopting a less than attractive, radioactive lobster-red shade.

The beguiling beauty of a bronze torso has not escaped the watch industry with several brands in recent years, including Panerai, IWC, U-Boat et al., releasing various models in the attractive case material. Now, Genevan-based watch company, Tudor, has entered the fray with a bronze cased version of its popular Heritage Black Bay.

Tudorphiles

I confess, like many, I became a Tudorphile when I first clapped eyes on the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Red when it was released in 2012. Its burgundy bezel, snow-flake hands and clean appearance immediately distinguished the sports watch as special. Indeed, I was clearly not alone in my opinion as the following year the watch received the GPHG revival prize.

Tudor later released a blue bezel version of the Heritage Black Bay and like many observers I vacillated between the two variants offered, pondering which was my favoured option. I continue to be undecided.

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In 2015, Tudor completed the trilogy of steel cased Heritage Black Bay models, releasing a model sporting a matt black bezel and red triangular index at noon. To be honest, I found this version a tad conservative but, nonetheless, very handsome. In many respects this model was intended for those Tudorphiles I term the ‘archivists’.

The ‘archivists’ recall reference numbers of vintage models with impressive alacrity. They obsess over small details such as the colour of text on the dial and the presence or, conversely, the absence, of a particular logo. Such individuals crave knowledge about long-since forgotten models and are highly active on the pre-owned watch scene, seeking rare vintage examples.

Tudor has tapped into the desires of the ‘archivists’ with impressive results. However, I probably fall into a second category of Tudorphile, the ‘aesthetes’. My attraction to specific models is based on the overall styling and it is for this reason that I find the Heritage Black Bay Bronze, recently launched at Baselworld 2016, to be a very comely concoction.

The dial

The dial of the Heritage Black Bay Bronze is a delicious shade of chocolate brown. Its mouthwatering colour scheme exhibits a slightly aged character, akin to a sepia-toned photograph. The snow-flake hour hand along with the minute and central sweep seconds hands lucidly pronounce the prevailing time, against a domed dial surface.

Tudor_Heritage_Black_Bay_Bronze_side - ESCAPEMENT watch blog by Angus Davies

Once again, Tudor has imbued the dial with subtle differences from the original Heritage Black Bay models of 2012 and 2013, providing additional facts for the ‘archivists’ to recount. The Tudor rose logo has been replaced with the Tudor shield motif. Moreover, the latest model proclaims its chronometer status upon the dial. These changes have been applied to all Tudor Heritage Black Bay models for 2016.

The dial on the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Bronze includes another specification detail which differentiates it from its steel cased siblings. The rectangular shaped hour markers which typically feature at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock are replaced with bold Arabic numerals. This latter aspect not only adds an additional soupçon of style but augments the already impressive readability of the dial still further.

The case

The case is formed of a bronze and aluminium alloy which is intended to acquire a ‘subtle’ patina with the passage of time. The diameter of the case is 43mm, a couple of millimetres larger than the steel models. This detail may irritate the traditionalists who prefer the more diminutive steel versions, however, I liked the additional girth of the Heritage Black Bay Bronze.

A bronze unidirectional rotatable bezel features on the watch and incorporates a matt brown anodised aluminium insert. Consistent with other Tudor models, the Heritage Black Bay Bronze includes an additional fabric strap, providing a stylish alternative to the aged leather strap also supplied with the watch. Unlike steel variants, a metal bracelet is not available for the Heritage Black Bay Bronze at the time of writing.

Tudor_Heritage_Black_Bay_Bronze_caseband - ESCAPEMENT watch review site by Angus Davies

Tudor has not totally eschewed its rose logo, choosing to continue featuring it upon the screw-down winding crown which, in this instance, is formed of bronze. The caseback is bronze-coloured PVD-treated steel, sidestepping the current trend for exhibition casebacks.

I found the finish of the Heritage Black Bay Bronze to be very impressive, free of sharp edges and with no signs of cost cutting, despite the comparatively modest asking price of CHF 3,800 (VAT included). Indeed, the tactility of each facet of the case exudes a welcome sense of solidity and quality.

The movement

Early examples of the Heritage Black Bay incorporated an ETA Calibre 2824, however, Tudor has reaffirmed its watchmaking ambitions by moving to its own MT5601, Manufacture Tudor self-winding movement for its Bronze model. Meanwhile, the 41mm steel Black Bay models for 2016, now feature the company’s similar, albeit smaller, MT5602 movement.

Tudor_Heritage_Black_Bay_Bronze_movement - ESCAPEMENT watch magazine by Angus Davies

The MT5601 incorporates a bidirectional rotor system and includes a hacking seconds facility, proving ideal for synchronisation with a reference clock. The otherwise traditional Tudor incorporates a state of the art silicon balance spring and precision is assured, courtesy of COSC certification. The power reserve of approximately 70 hours also proves very impressive.

Closing remarks

The Tudor Heritage Black Bay Bronze is a welcome addition to the brand’s 1950s Submariner inspired range of timepieces. Its fusion of summery and autumnal tones provides a splendiferous alternative to the cool temperament of steel.

This latest timepiece proffers an array of other attributes, including quality construction, precision and a manufacture movement. Furthermore, despite the brand stating the watch is 100% Swiss, with the additional manufacturing expense this implies, this timepiece remains very competitively priced.

Indeed, this model reaffirms why I am a Tudorphile, ensnaring my gaze with its bronze torso. However, unlike some of my sun-worshipping compatriots whose excessive exposure to UV light will one day result in a less than desirable wrinkled appearance, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Bronze will acquire a beautiful patina with the onset of years and, with time, I suspect will appeal to both ‘aesthetes’ and ‘archivists’ alike.

Technical specification

  • Model: Tudor Heritage Black Bay Bronze
  • Reference: 79250BM
  • Case: Bronze case with bronze-coloured PVD-treated steel caseback; diameter 43.00mm; water resistant to 20 bar (200 metres); sapphire crystal to front and solid caseback.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; central sweep seconds
  • Movement: Calibre MT5601; self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz); power reserve approximately 70 hours
  • Strap: Aged leather strap with bronze pin buckle. Additional fabric strap with bronze buckle also provided.
  • Price: CHF 3,800 (Swiss price including VAT as at 4.4.2016)

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