Tudor Heritage Black Bay Chrono

Angus Davies reviews the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Chrono, a watch equipped with a column wheel mechanism and vertical coupling.

This detailed review of the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Chrono includes live images, specification details and pricing. 

Tudor Heritage Black Bay Chrono

When David Bowie sang, ‘Oh you pretty things’ he could easily have been describing two variants of the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Chrono. Indeed, these two versions, one with a bracelet and another with a brown leather strap, are so incredibly beautiful, the word ‘pretty’ seems very apt.

The Tudor Heritage Black Bay Chrono fuses the water resistance of a diver’s watch with the stopwatch facility of a  racetrack chronograph.

Tudor Heritage Black Bay Chrono

Aesthetically, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Chrono has several elements which conjure thoughts of a bygone era. Similar to its sibling, Rolex, Tudor often makes reference to elements on earlier models and fuses these details to glorious effect.

The dial

The black domed dial together with the white circular hour markings confer an abundance of contrast. The ‘snowflake’ hour and minute hands possess straight sides, eschewing curves and exhibiting a welcome sense of neatness.

Tudor Heritage Black Bay Chrono

The bi-compax dial layout bestows balance, delivering a sizeable quotient of visual evenness. A 45-minute chronograph register is positioned adjacent the crown, while opposite there is a small seconds display. Each subdial is concave in profile.

A date display resides at 6 o’clock. The chapter ring is marked with ¼ second integers. Encircling the dial is a static bezel marked with a tachymeter scale.

Positioned below a triangular index at noon is the brand’s nomen in white text, while above 6 o’clock the watch’s chronometer credentials are proclaimed. In addition, the maximum water resistance of the watch is shown in eye-popping red text. This soupçon of red adds a flourish of colour which is relatively conspicuous compared with the otherwise conservative dial.

There are no gimmicks with this dial merely an abundance of clarity, so there are no excuses for being late, everything is highly legible.

The case

Tudor always avoids the perils of excess. The 41mm case proves inoffensive and should not alienate any would-be wearers. The surface of the case blends polished and satin finished surfaces to stylish effect. In particular, the bevelled edge of the lugs gleam resplendently.

Tudor Heritage Black Bay Chrono

The sapphire crystal is domed, inviting ambient light to flood the dialscape. The chronograph push-pieces are ‘inspired by the first generation of Tudor chronographs’ and look magnificent. The crown is prominent and sports a rose logo on its vertical flank. The knurled grip sits slightly away from the case-band, facilitating adjustment. A slither of black anodised winding crown tube is left exposed, nestling between the case-band and knurled crown, proffering a further dose of visual interest.

The steel bracelet is ‘inspired by the folding riveted bracelets of Tudor watches produced in the 1950s and 1960s’. The appearance of the rivets is subtle, adding a delightful dose of interest to proceedings.

Tudor Heritage Black Bay Chrono

Both the models, supplied on either a steel bracelet or leather strap, are accompanied with a complimentary Jacquard woven strap.

The movement

One of the big stories of Baselworld 2017 was news of a collaboration between Breitling and Tudor. Each company is supplying the other with movements. Breitling is supplying Tudor with a chronograph, based on its excellent Breitling 01 calibre, while Tudor is reciprocating with the supply of its MT5621 movement.

Tudor Heritage Black Bay Chrono

In both instances the respective companies are modifying these movements to meet their own precise needs. In the case of Tudor, the modifications include the fitment of its own oscillating mass and silicon hairspring.

The glorious movement is hidden from view behind a solid case-back, nevertheless, actuate the chronograph and your forefinger will perceive the pleasingly positive action. By pressing the push-piece at 4 o’clock, the central chronograph seconds hand returns to zero with a welcome absence of wobble. 

The reason for the Calibre MT5813’s impressive performance is the column wheel mechanism and vertical clutch. In terms of execution, chronographs seldom get better, making this the cognoscenti’s choice.

Closing remarks

This watch could not be described as a pure diver’s watch or a pure racetrack chronograph but more of a hybrid. This may not please purists, but on the other hand there are an array of attributes which will sate the desires of most connoisseurs.

The dial is achingly gorgeous with its domed surface, concave subdials and judiciously applied text. The period rivets affixed to the metal bracelet are charming.

However, the pièce de résistance has to be the movement which is fantastic. It operates with a positive action and the central chronograph hand zeroes without any annoying kerfuffle. Where this watch truly surprises is with its pricing. Despite being equipped with a high quality fully integrated movement, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Chrono is agreeably priced at £3,430 (bracelet) and £3,220 (strap).

Technical specifications

• Model: Tudor Heritage Black Bay Chrono

• Case: Stainless steel; diameter 41mm; water resistant to 20 bar (200 metres); sapphire crystal to front and solid caseback.

• Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; date; chronograph.

• Movement: Calibre MT5813; self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); 41 jewels; power reserve 70 hours.

• Strap: Stainless steel bracelet or leather strap with folding clasp and safety catch.

• Price: £3,430 (bracelet) / £3,220 (strap) – RRP as at 16.6.2017

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