Tudor introduces the third iteration of its headline watch, the Black Bay. The original burgundy bezel watch from 2012 has been given a subtle makeover aesthetically and a major movement revamp now boasting Master Chronometer certification.
As a Tudor die-hard, I remember vividly the opening day of Baselworld 2012 and the unveiling of the original 41mm Black Bay. It was truly a moment in the industry, with both modern watch collectors appreciating the watch as a cool, retro dive watch and vintage fans going nuts for a Big Crown watch that could be worn at the beach, in the pool and the general daily grind. Fast forward 11 years, and the Black Bay has become Tudor’s MVP having spawned a number of incredibly cool family members.
The 2023 edition has some tweaks to the case and the dial and hands. Whilst the case remains at 41mm, the profile is slimmer at 13.6mm. The bezel edge has also been reworked to be easier to use, and the insert’s numerals have a new curved font that flows with the curve of the bezel. Like the Black Bay 54, the hands are new too with a minute hand that is pinched at the center and a lollipop seconds hand, both of which are historical touches.
Bracelet options are new too, with the introduction of a five-link steel bracelet and a rubber strap with steel clasp that supplement the existing steel rivet-style bracelet. All three bracelet options are fitted with the T-Fit rapid size adjustment system. This has proven to be very popular with Tudor fans and will be a welcome addition to the watch.
The Black Bay was born in 2012 with a modified ETA movement, before having the manufacture caliber in 2015. The biggest shake-up is the inclusion of the MT5602-U Master Chronometer rated movement. To get the watch up to Master Chronometer specification, Tudor had to make a number of changes to their in-house movement. The Master Chronometer certification is bestowed upon a watch by METAS, which stands for METrology and Accreditations Switzerland or the Federal Institute of Metrology. The certification has several requirements and stipulations that each watch must meet around timekeeping. It also assures all the claims made by a brand about elements such as power reserve and depth rating, which COSC does not. To receive Master Chronometer status a watch must: be Swiss made; house a movement that is COSC-certified; have a level of precision with a daily tolerance interval of 0 / + 5 seconds; be unaffected by magnetic fields of up to 15,000 gauss; have the claimed power reserve; and lastly, be waterproof in line with the manufacture’s claims.
It’s important to remember that Tudor has its own rigorous in-house standards that are higher than even COSC. The COSC tolerance for its certification is -4 to +6 seconds a day, so 10 seconds in total. Tudor shaves two seconds off each of that for its own in-house standards, achieving -2 to +4 seconds a day, so six seconds in total. METAS insists on a 0 to +5 seconds per day as part of its Master Chronometer standard. Additionally, this performance has to be in six positions at two different temperatures, at both 33 percent and 100 percent power reserve and after being exposed to a hypothetical magnetic field of 15,000 gauss!
Tudor Black Bay
Movement: Manufacture Caliber MT5602-U that is both COSC and METAS certified
Functions: Hours, minutes and stop-seconds
Case: 41mm stainless steel
Dial: Black domed sunray finish with gilt accents
Strap: Three-link or five-link stainless steel bracelets with polished and satin finish, or rubber strap, all with “T-fit” clasp.