Leaving a memorable first impression, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Black arrived practically in a personal armored car. After its arrival I received an anticipated phone call for a secret and secure code to be used upon delivery to unlock a steel-clad traveling safe – how impressive! Once the watch was out of its fortified surroundings and on my wrist I was hooked. This sporty dive watch has well-balanced proportions and reliable mechanics meshed with an overall vintage appeal. I did not want to take it off.
The Heritage Black Bay collection holds true to the design codes of its history while injecting contemporary updates. In 2012, the first Tudor Heritage Black Bay model was presented with a rich brown color palette and a burgundy-red bezel (Reference 79220R), followed by a version with a deep blue bezel and flat black dial (Reference 79220B). Then came an all-black version to round out the offerings, in 2015. Each draws inspiration from the 1950s Tudor watches, and furthering its appeal, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay was awarded the prestigious Revival prize at the 2013 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. Of the three models, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Black (Reference 79220N) is a favorite in my eyes and luckily it is the watch I was able to test drive.
The references on the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Black version to the rich past of Tudor, a sister brand to Rolex, is a major attraction for me. The unidirectional black bezel displays the red triangle, originally found on the Tudor Submariner Reference 7922, setting itself apart from the burgundy-red and blue models as they feature a white triangle on the bezel. The coin-edged bezel has a great feel and pleasant sound as it rotates, and the 60-minute diving scale with one-minute marker is essential for diving in the depths or for timing my short sprints on the treadmill. The black aesthetic and revival of the red triangle are not the only draws. The slightly convex matte-black dial, inspired by the 1954 version of the Tudor Submariner, along with the snowflake hands in a golden color originally brought into the Tudor design codes in 1969 complete the vintage aesthetic. Adding to the appeal, the hands and applied markers are fitted with luminescence having a powerful glow in dim lighting. The domed sapphire crystal with rounded edges completes the throwback design.
The 41mm 316L stainless steel case is easy to wear, and the tapered and beveled lugs offer a finished look. The watch is offered on a steel bracelet or an aged black leather strap with folding clasp; either option comes with an additional fabric strap. Although the bracelet presents a sporty and versatile style, my preferred choice is the sophisticated woven fabric strap with its NATO style. The woven strap offers a few nice touches: the spring bars are sewn into the strap and the extra length of the strap perfectly tucks into the stainless steel loops.
Essential for diving, the watch is water resistant up to 200 meters, so I am covered. The dial also has a PVD-coated crown tube matching the bezel. Knowing the storied history of the Tudor Rose, this design element is a nice touch on the crown, but I believe it could be absent from the dial.
The polished and satin-finished stainless case contains a self-winding mechanical movement, Tudor caliber 2824, powering the hours, minutes and seconds and having a 38-hour power reserve. It is based on the ETA movement 2824, and Tudor has removed the date feature and provided some enhancements. This movement will provide a long life and rock-solid reliability.
After logging thousands of steps I can say I really enjoyed the overall ease of use and reliability of the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Black. Granted, I like wearing large sporty watches and the 41mm case fit comfortably on my wrist. Moreover, it received some serious inquiries and stares of envy from my husband, realizing that this might be the ideal shared watch for us.
The Tudor Heritage Black Bay Black is priced at $3,425 on a steel bracelet and $3,100 on black leather.
*Written while jamming to the tailor-made Tudor playlist on Spotify – so cool – Tudor even knows what types of tunes I like.