Tudor Heritage Black Bay
Recently, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay won the GPHG (Grand Prix D’Horlogerie De Genève) Revival Prize 2013. The watch was a worthy winner. Angus Davies reveals a glaring oversight on his part.
This detailed review of the Tudor Heritage Black Bay includes live images and specification details.
Recently, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay won the GPHG (Grand Prix D’Horlogerie De Genève) Revival Prize 2013. The watch is a worthy winner.
Upon hearing this annoucement, I suddenly realised, in a moment of horror, I had not reviewed the watch on ESCAPEMENT. I made reference to it in a review of the Tudor Fastrider Black Shield but have never written an in-depth report.
Ordinarily, I would not worry about failing to report on a watch. Indeed, there are so many new models entering the marketplace that it is difficult to keep pace with the launch of every timepiece. However, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay is different. I feel an overwhelming sense of guilt that I have not informed readers before now of its boundless appeal. It is a glaring oversight on my part.
Whilst attending Baselworld 2012, I remember seeing the Heritage Black Bay on an aged leather strap and being ensnared by its gorgeous retro-appearance. Few watches, at launch, could rival its “destined for stardom” potential.
Much has been written, both in publications and on other websites, and some may question the rationale for devoting more column inches to this timepiece. But, it is looking at some of the notable features that arguably marks it out as a future classic. It is this area which I have, therefore, chosen to focus upon.
Timepieces which reference the past, especially models worth remembering, often exploit the nostalgia quotient very effectively. It is a strategy that has been successfully exploited by car companies for years.
The root of success, often lies in the number of adolescent wannabes who craved a particular car or watch, but lacked the fiscal means to secure acquisition in their youth. Although a reinterpretation of a former great, can be a recipe for success, it can also present a risk. A copy could well leave avid collectors of vintage pieces upset that their prized asset has been undermined.
When Tudor revisited a 1954 model and created the 2012 Heritage Black Bay, it adeptly captured the lines of the former model without creating a cynical facsimile. Where the 1954 model featured a black bezel, the latter-day watch features a burgundy red bezel along with an exquisite snow-flake hour hand. Indeed, the snowflake hands originated in the 1960s, the burgundy bezel references the Tudor Submariner models of the 1970s and the circled indexes are like those used from the 1990s onwards. In creating the 2012 Heritage Black Bay, Tudor has distilled 50 years of Submariner history into one cohesive design.
Case dimensions have been subject to various trends over the years. From mid-range sizes of 36mm – 38mm typical of the 1960s, to the oversized watches of 45mm – 50mm of a few years ago, changing tastes and, to some extent fashions, have influenced the choice of models produced.
The danger with being influenced by fashion is that a product becomes ingrained with an intrinsic obsolescence that renders it with a limited shelf-life. For instance, some watches I acquired in the 1990s, subject at the time to vows of undying love, have subsequently been sold. Their gargantuan proportions seem no longer as popular.
With a case diameter of 41mm, the Heritage Black Bay, should retain eye-appeal for decades to come. If you examine the Submariner from sister-brand Rolex, its dimensions have changed little and its popularity has never diminished, despite the onset of years.
Sometimes, I succumb to brightly coloured watches, appreciating their extrovert styling. However, the danger of seeking bright yellows, vivacious greens and plump purples is that your individual expression of personal taste may not be shared with others, especially at some point in the future should you wish to dispose of your once loved timepiece. The blight of a garish choice may result in a loveless marriage further down the road with few takers for your former love.
The Tudor Heritage Black Bay features a red bezel, with a mesmerising metallic sheen. It represents a bold and brave step by Tudor. However, I fell under its alluring spell on first acquaintance and, to date, I continue to feel drawn to its colourful cheeks. Its appeal may falter with time, but somehow, I don’t envisage this happening.
Whilst the Tudor Heritage Black Bay is available with a stainless steel bracelet along with a second fabric strap supplied as standard, it is the leather strap which is the show-stopper.
The leather strap has an aged, distressed appearance. It is reminiscent of the chic appearance typical of a vintage pilot’s jacket. The worn and comfortable characteristic has been judged with aplomb.
Hans Wilsdorf announced the launch of the TUDOR Watch Company in 1946. He said at the time, “..I have been considering the idea of making a watch that our agents could sell at a more modest price than our Rolex watches, and yet one that would attain the standards of dependability for which Rolex are famous.”
The Tudor Heritage Black Bay is priced modestly and contains a dependable self-winding Swiss movement, the Tudor Calibre 2824, based on the ETA 2824, and known to many watch collectors for its reliability.
Placing the Tudor Heritage Black Bay upon my wrist, I never felt it disclosed its affordable pricing. Quite the contrary, this watch feels a quality item, blessed with an exquisite charm that no doubt will wear the passage of time with a seemly style few will tire of.
- Model: Tudor Heritage Black Bay
- Ref: 79220R
- 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. Additional fabric strap with buckle supplied with watch
Further editorial on Tudor watches by Angus Davies