Is Steel & Gold Coming Back? Reviewing the Tudor Black Bay S&G Two-tone

Steel and gold, or often referred to as “Two-Tone” has been a no-go for a long time. I was very surprised when Tudor presented us with a two-tone version of their much praised Black Bay, at the Baselworld watch fair earlier this year. The Tudor Black Bay is one of the most popular watches of the last 5 years, ever since it was introduced in 2012. The first model featured a burgundy red bezel insert, and since then we’ve seen several versions with different colours for the bezel insert. Last year the Geneva based brand introduced a full black edition, and that one also hit the right note among watch enthusiasts. This year a two-tone version has been added to the collection, and again it seems destined to become a favourite.

The design of the Black Bay strikes all the right notes, and it’s probably best to describe it as a modern take on the 1958 ref. 7924 Big Crown (more about the historical models here), which is a collector’s favourite with its big crown and no crown guards. Today’s Black Bay is bigger, and chunkier than its ancient ancestor, however it certainly has that “vintage-inspired” charm that Tudor is now known for.

Tudor Heritage Black Bay Steel and Gold - M79733N

Steel & Gold… Really? 

Let’s just say it, steel and gold, or two-tone, was not very popular in recent years, well, actually decades. Most watch brands simply removed it from the collection (except of course Rolex) and also on the second-hand market the two-tone models didn’t sell as well as full steel models, or full gold models. Launching a two-tone Black Bay is a bold move from Tudor. However it turns out to be an unexpected pleasure!

It actually started as of the moment we walked into the Tudor booth, at Baselworld, where we saw the Black Bay Steel Gold depicted on the wall stretching at least 2 by 2 meters. That was quite an entry, and immediately Brice (Monochrome’s Managing Editor) and I looked at each other. A mix of surprise, a bit of disbelief and also a fast growing enthusiasm was what we felt, and expressed. Increasingly, during the presentation that enthusiasm grew to be a genuine heartfelt passion (and the urge to buy one.) Steel and gold. Really? Yes really, it’s cool, and while I certainly wouldn’t buy it from just any brand, it so much befits the very cool Black Bay. Why, you might wonder?

The Black Bay, with its big, oversized, crown, the domed sapphire crystal and the lack of crown guards, has such a vintage spirit. A vintage spirit that perfectly befits the style of the seventies, the style of casual chic, the style of… steel & gold. It’s spot on, and the entire execution, with the faux-rivetted two-tone bracelet, the big gold crown, gold tone numerals and stick markers on the bezel insert, and of course the gold trimmed bezel. The dial is black (not glossy but matte) and comes with ‘gilded’ writing, brand name and logo and a gilded rail track minute index around the dial. And of course the hands and applied hour indexes are also in gold.

Two choices – Bracelet or Aged Leather

Maybe not entirely correct in terms of period (the Black Bay has a late 1960’s Submariner style, while steel & gold didn’t become popular until the 1970’s) however somehow it works. It really does. And if the two-tone bracelet is a bit too much for you, there’s the version with aged leather strap.

You can choose between the two-tone bracelet version, that comes with an additional fabric strap, or the version with a “vintage” leather strap and folding buckle (which also comes with additional fabric strap). Both look good, no they look great, and personally I wouldn’t be afraid to be seen wearing steel and gold anymore. Tudor somehow cured me from my dislike for this mix of two different colours of metal, and I wouldn’t be surprised if more people had that exact same experience. It makes a great casual chic watch for the summer, next to the pool or even if you have to be in the office throughout the summer, it will suit you.

The price remains very… Tudor

Now with the price point Tudor also hit the exact right tones, and they’ve managed to keep it very decent, just like the full steel Black Bay models. On “aged” leather (and with additional fabric strap) the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Steel and Gold ref. M79733N has a retail price of CHF 3,600 Swiss Francs, while the version with steel & gold bracelet retails for CHF 4,750 Swiss Francs (including 8% Swiss VAT.) The extra 1,150 Swiss Francs for the bracelet version would never cover the costs of full gold mid-links, so Tudor chose gold-capped mid-links. For that you will get a great watch, with great looks, and an in-house developed and manufactured movement.

Time to go vintage-inspired, 1970’s style, casual chic!


Technical Specifications – Tudor Black Bay Steel and Gold ref. M79733N

  • Case: 41mm diameter – stainless steel with polished and satin finish – unidirectional rotating bezel in yellow gold with black insert – domed sapphire crystal – steel case back – 200m water resistant – yellow gold capped crown
  • Movement: manufacture movement calibre MT5612 – COSC certified chronometer – 4Hz frequency – 70h power reserve – hour, minutes, seconds and date
  • Bracelet/strap: Steel and gold capped bracelet with rivets with additional fabric strap – or aged leather strap with folding buckle and additional fabric strap
  • Price: CHF 3,600 for the version with aged leather strap / CHF 4,750 for the version with steel/gold bracelet
  • Reference: M79733N
  • Already available at retailers

More information at the Tudor website here.

8 responses

  1. This watch also changed my mind of two-tone design. However, I don’t understand why Tudor decided to put a date window in this watch. That’s the only but important fault.

  2. This watch did not change my mind: anyone wearing a two-tone gold-silver/steel dial watch ought to be kindly but sternly shown the door.

  3. Hi Frank,
    thanks for sharing. Two tone is not my cup of tea, however I have to admit it gives the watch a vintage feeling that can be appreciated by someone. If I have to choose, much better the leather strap version.
    In any case not sure how many other brands will follow this path (except of course Rolex as you noticed).

    The coverage of Black Bay versions is remarkable, I wonder how many iterations of it we still have to see LOL

    Regards,
    slide68

  4. Thanks Andrea, I am also curious to see how many iterations are possible. The version on leather is really nice, and honestly, this two-tone took me by surprise. By the way, AP recently re-introduced the two-tone Royal Oak (15400) and I’m curious to see who will follow suit

  5. Have a black bay blue but the TT does have some nice appeal to it. Not for everyone and probably not for me but it does hit the vintage vibe on all cylinders.

  6. The hour and minute hands are so disproportionate, I can’t even tell. Case, dial and bracelet is so fine. Oh, but these ugly and missfitting hands.

  7. I happen to like it. 2-tones have – by virtue of the ubiquitous ‘bad-rep’ – become, well.., less ubiquitous. Think it will look great if worn with something dark (jacket, shirt, etc) and the ‘fifty-fathoms’-ish look will mature well. Perhaps I will think twice if it was my only watch, but as part of a collection, absolutely…

  8. I love it. But the withe date disc is for me a no go with a black dial.
    Black date wheel and I’ll buy it.

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