The TUDOR Black Bay GMT is a watch of exceptional quality. Its most notable feature is the incredibly useful multiple time-zone complication, also known as the GMT function, which allows for the tracking of local time while also keeping track of the time in two other time zones. The watch’s recognizable rotatable bezel features a deep blue and burgundy color scheme borrowed from other models in the Black Bay line, but in a matte version. This is a nod to the early days of the aviation style.
Recently, TUDOR has added an all-new opaline dial option that perfectly complements the iconic color scheme of the Black Bay GMT. The opaline dial has a slight silvery hint and is not quite white. Through a galvanic process, the dial is given a matte white-grey finish, while the marker surrounds are darkened to create a noticeable contrast. The charming opaline dial is not only reminiscent of the mid-century boom in commercial aviation, but it is also highly legible.
The red “Snowflake” GMT hand, which rotates around the dial in 24 hours, is TUDOR’s hallmark aesthetic feature and is used to indicate additional time zones. The bidirectional rotatable bezel is also calibrated for 24 hours, allowing for easy tracking of different time zones. The burgundy section displays the twelve daylight hours, while the blue section shows the night-time hours.
The Black Bay GMT model has a 41mm diameter steel case and is designed to withstand the elements, with a waterproof rating of 200 metres (660 ft). The winding crown tube is made of satin-brushed steel, which is new for the Black Bay line and complements the case and winding crown aesthetically. The contrasting opaline dial ensures legibility in all conditions, including at night, thanks to its luminescent hour markers.
TUDOR developed the Manufacture Calibre MT5652 for the Black Bay GMT models, featuring an integrated GMT function, jumping hour hand, and retrograde date setting. This exemplifies TUDOR’s approach to technical development, where new functions are integrated through a flexible architecture instead of stacking additional modules. This detail is a defining characteristic and is highly sought after by watch enthusiasts who prefer a pure and authentic design.
The Calibre MT5652 boasts the typical appearance and finish of TUDOR Manufacture calibres. Its openwork rotor is satin brushed with sand-blasted details, and its bridges and mainplate feature alternate polished sand-blasted surfaces and laser decorations.
The design of the Calibre MT5652 prioritizes robustness and precision. The variable inertia balance wheel is supported by a sturdy traversing bridge with a two-point anchoring, ensuring its stability. The non-magnetic silicon hairspring also contributes to the accuracy of the watch, allowing the Manufacture Calibre MT5652 to function within a tolerance range of 6 seconds (-2/+4) when tested on a fully assembled watch.
Additionally, the MT5652 Manufacture Calibre has a power reserve of 70 hours, making it “weekend-proof.” This means that the watch can be taken off on a Friday evening and put back on again on Monday morning without needing to be wound. Whether you’re heading out of town for the weekend or just taking a break from your watch, it will always be ready when you are.
TUDOR introduced the fabric strap to its products in 2010, becoming one of the pioneering watchmaking brands to do so, and it has since become a hallmark of the company. The strap is made using traditional weaving techniques on 19th century Jacquard looms by the Julien Faure company in France’s St-Etienne region, providing unparalleled manufacturing quality and comfort. In 2020, TUDOR celebrated a decade of collaboration with the 150-year-old Julien Faure company, with their partnership commencing at Baselworld 2010, where the Heritage Chrono was unveiled as the first model to feature a fabric strap created by the skilled artisans.
The Black Bay GMT from TUDOR comes with a black strap, with a burgundy accent woven into it to match the bezel, and is also available with a stainless-steel bracelet inspired by TUDOR’s folding riveted bracelets from the 1950s and 1960s. These bracelets were renowned for their visible rivet heads on the side that held the links together, and their distinct stepped construction. The current bracelet design retains these two aesthetic elements while incorporating modern manufacturing techniques such as solid links and laser finished rivet-style heads.
The Black Bay collection pays homage to TUDOR’s diving watches from the 1950s with its dial designs. The iconic “Snowflake” angular hands, introduced in the brand’s 1969 catalogue and beloved by collectors, are also present. The absence of shoulders on the crown and the spring bar holes that go through the lugs are characteristic of the first-generation TUDOR diving watches.
The Black Bay series represents a harmonious blend of classic aesthetics and contemporary watchmaking techniques. It is not a mere reproduction of a vintage watch but rather an amalgamation of over six decades of TUDOR’s dive watches, while being firmly rooted in the present. The concept is neo-vintage, but the manufacturing methods, durability, robustness, and finish quality meet modern, rigorous standards.