As the world of watches is now fairly driven by the internet, you certainly didn’t miss the novelties that Tudor Watches had for this year 2016. The star of the show was definitely the bronze edition of the Black Bay, followed by a second edition, this time coated with a black PVD treatment, the Black Bay Dark. Both of them are equipped with something Tudor was proud to introduce to the world last year, their first in-house movement – and that’s not a detail, knowing the history of the brand. Alongside these two proper novelties, Tudor Watches also used Baselworld to introduce an evolution of its its best-seller, the normal Heritage Black Bay. What’s new in the 2016 Tudor Heritage Black Bay 79230 and what are the benefits for you, end customers?
The old Tudor Heritage Black Bay 79220, pre-Baselworld 2016 – now discontinued
For once, we’re not going to go over all the details, to look at each components of the watch, to debate around the shape of the tip of the second hand or the slight notches on the crown. Yes, we can do that in our reviews. However, we assume that if you come on Monochrome-Watches, you have a certain love for watches and thus, you’re probably aware of what the Tudor Heritage Black Bay is. In case you need to know more about the Black Bay, here is a list of all the different articles we did in the past – which will certainly give you a rather in-depth idea of what this super-cool watch is.
- The first Black Bay, the 2012 burgundy
- The second iteration, with blue bezel and silver hands and indexes
- The third edition, certainly the most coveted and expected one, with black bezel and red triangle
- A comparative review, just to have a closer idea of how good this watch is, compared to other vintage-inspired dive watches
In bref, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay was launched in 2012 and since then, it is the brand’s largest success. We can even argue that this watch brought Tudor on the front of the scene, under the spotlights, a position that Tudor has never really seen. The BB is a vintage-inspired dive watch, which does nothing else than that, but it does it well. It has a great look, inspired by the 1950s and 1960s divers of the brand (themselves inspired by the famous Rolex Submariner – which might explain the success of the BB), with some elements that vintage collectors cherish, as for example the chamfered lugs, the absence of crown protection, the oversized crown, the gilded indexes or the snowflake hands. When launched, this watch was equipped with an outsourced movement, basically an ETA. What made it successful was clearly the possibility to have a Submariner-style watch, with cool vintage elements, for a price much lower than the version from the “Crown”, and with a superb quality.
In short, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay is one of the coolest dive watches you can have in the 1,000 Euros / 5,000 Euros range, and certainly one of the best quality / price / pleasure ratio you’ll be able to find. Even if the question of the design or the image of the brand is something that is debatable (to each is own…), the overall quality of the Black Bay has always been hardly questionable. Will the new editions change this? Certainly not.
A new movement, in-house produced
This is the main improvement here. Yes, we say improvement, simply because this movement is better in almost every aspect. Of course, the old Black Bay with ETA had the advantage of having a proper workhorse, a movement that every single watchmaker on earth know, one that is tested and approved for decades. However, Tudor is part of Rolex and knowing the quality process of the company, we have no doubt about the reliability of the new baby.
So we have a new movement, in-house developed and produced, the MT5602. Good. But this movement not only adds some exclusivity to the watch (it doesn’t share its movement with 50% of the Swiss production anymore), it mainly is an improvement for users. First of all, it is finally Chronometer / COSC certified, which will guarantee an average precision of -4 / +6 seconds per day. Then, it offers a comfortable power reserve of 70 hours (vs. 38h before). That’s enough to have your watch in the safe for an entire weekend and to have it running when strapping it on the next Monday morning.
This not all. This calibre MT5602 also has several new technical refinements. The first one is a transversal bridge over the balance wheel, something that will guarantee a better resistance to shocks and a long-term reliability (which is good knowing the tool / diver vocation of the Black Bay). Then, it features a variable inertia balance wheel, which considerably improve the precision (and might explain the COSC certification). Finally, it features a silicon balance spring, which will definitely help the Tudor Heritage Black Bay to resist to magnetic fields (and knowing that we are surrounded by magnets in our daily lives, this is not a detail).
Overall, there’s nothing to complain here (maybe the fact that this movement isn’t not visible…). Every aspect – comfort of use, reliability, precision – has been considered. As a user, it’s benefit everywhere. Now you might be afraid of the price increase. Well, you’ll be happy to know that the old Tudor Heritage Black Bay was priced from 2,910 Euros in 2015 and that the new ref. 79230, with its in-house movement, is now priced from 3,160 Euros – which makes an increase of 250 Euros, so less than 10% of the final price – an increase that might also include the yearly correction of prices… To us, this is well invested money.
A dial with new inscriptions
For its new edition of the Tudor Heritage Black Bay, the brand had to show the evolution in a certain way. What we talk about here are minimal evolutions, nothing to be scared about. The dial is 90% similar and evolves in the details. While the old BB had the vintage “Rose” logo printed at 12, in-between the large triangle marker and the name “Tudor”, it now bears the actual logo of the brand, the shield – be reassured, the rose is still present on the crown.
Then, in order to mark the arrival of a COSC certified in-house movement, the “smile” that was printed at 6, with “Rotor – Self-Winding” is now replaced by more classical inscriptions linked to the pedigree of the movement. We now find two lines of text with “Chronometer – Officially Certified”, just below the “200m : 660ft” depth rate inscription. This is the evolution we certainly like less. The old “smily face” of the Black Bay had a certain outdated charm. The new one is more serious, more technical. However, we’re talking details here. The rest of the dial is similar – same matte grained surface, same indexes, same hands, same minute track and same domed profile.
A new bracelet, with rivets
Visually, the main evolution concerns the bracelet. Previously, you had the choice between an aged leather strap with finding clasp (option that is still available) and an “Oyster-style”, 3 links bracelet. This bracelet has been replaced by something very, very pleasant, a sort of tribute (with the quality of the 2010s) to the antique rivet bracelets that could be found on the early Tudor Submariners. These were famous for having rivet heads for attaching the links in evidence on the side of the bracelet, as well as a stepped construction.
The old Tudor Heritage Black Bay had a serious bracelet, with a look close from the Oyster bracelets. 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 new bracelet shows this specific stepped construction. The links are perfectly straight and you can see the changes in width from a link to another. The sides are adorned with rivets (which are the end of the transversal bars) and closing pieces, even if, unlike the old rivet bracelets, the links are now full (and not folded). The finishing remains the same, with flat surfaces satined and sides polished. The buckle is also equal – a rather simple but solid folding clasp.
This bracelet adds a lot to the vintage charm of the Tudor Heritage Black Bay, without losing the solidity of the old one. Furthermore, it improves the exclusivity of the model and the perceived quality. Again, it is to us beneficial to the end customers – and this bracelet must be more expensive to produce than the old one, something that the price seems not to reflect.
The rest is untouched and that’s good
All the rest of this watch remains equal. And that’s fine! You still have the choice between 3 colors (black with pink gold accents, blue with silver accents, burgundy red with pink gold accents). You still enjoy the superbly manufactured case, solid as a rock, with its chamfers on the lugs and nicely satined flat surfaced, the domed sapphire crystal, the pleasant-to-use bezel, the large crown with Rose logo and the overall versatility of this nice dive watch, which can be used is almost every situation.
The Tudor Heritage Black Bay has evolved, and only in positive (even if the old one will have its aficionados…). It’s not a revolution, but it is a profound technical update that is not much reflected in the final price (something that is far from being the norm in the watchmaking industry). Prices are 3,160 Euros on leather strap and 3,460 Euros on steel bracelet (both editions having an extra fabric bracelet included in the box). More on www.tudorwatch.com.
Specifications of the Tudor Heritage Black Bay, ref. 79230 2016 edition
- Case: 41mm diameter – 316L stainless steel – domed sapphire crystal on the front – 200m water resistant
- Movement: calibre MT5602, in-house, COSC certified – automatic winding – 70h power reserve – 28,800 vibrations/h – hours, minutes and seconds
- Strap: aged leather strap on folding buckle or stainless steel riveted bracelet on folding buckle