Hands-On: The New Tudor Black Bay Chrono M79360N (Both Versions)
Now that the Watches & Wonders dust has settled, it is time to have a closer look at some of the new watches. One of the most discussed watches is definitely the new Tudor Black Bay Chrono M79360N.
Truth be told, I saw the Tudor Black Bay Chrono M79360N first on pictures, not in the flesh. A day after its introduction, we received the new Tudor Black Bay Chrono M79360N watches in our office, however. These models are chronographs with column-wheel and vertical clutch mechanisms. They are priced around €5,000/$5,225.
Tudor Black Bay Chrono M79360N
My colleagues Gerard and Lex were in Brussels at Rolex and Tudor, on the day of introduction. Consequently, those of us back at HQ received some quick snaps and takeaways from our colleagues on the road, but that just whetted the appetite further. I wanted to see and try the watches myself before shaping an opinion. As such, I was thrilled when they arrived…
Before even opening the Tudor boxes, I did have one quite robust thought: I think that the price for a chronograph with this type of movement is on point. Prices are creeping up quite a bit in general, and it is getting tougher year on year to find something from the big brands in this specific price range. That is especially true when it comes to chronographs.
Panda and reverse panda
Just like the Rolex Daytona, the new Tudor Black Bay Chrono is available in two dial variations. There is a white dial with black sub-dials (panda) and a black dial with white sub-dials (a reverse panda). Based on the press pictures and first impressions of the actual watches, my pick was the white dial Tudor Black Bay Chrono. The white of the dial doesn’t look like RAL 9010: it seems to be slightly creamy or off-white, even. The white isn’t as “hard” as the Explorer II dials, for example.
The new Tudor Black Bay Chrono M79360N-0002 dial (the 0002 is for the panda version) has quite a bit going on. After a few days on the wrist, and going back-and-forth between the panda and reverse panda (M79360N-0001), I came to a different conclusion. I favor the reverse panda, so black with white sub-dials. Why? Mainly because I think it is easier on the eyes and more timeless. But that’s all relative of course, as a Daytona 6263 with this color scheme is considered quite timeless as well. Just as with the current Daytona, it might give you this feeling of “did I buy the right one?” even after years of ownership. Luckily, you can’t really go wrong, so just pick one.
The chronograph movement inside this new Tudor Black Bay Chrono is basically the same as previously used. So instead of going into details (you can read about them here), let me recap the story around this movement briefly. Tudor developed its own three-hander movement but uses a Breitling B01 chronograph caliber as a base movement for the Tudor Black Bay Chrono.
Tudor made some interesting changes though: a silicon balance spring and a 45 minutes totalizer instead of a 30-minute scale. Now, for me, the biggest question remains why Tudor chooses to use a movement developed by Breitling. It must be a strategic move as the Rolex mothership must be perfectly capable of creating a two-register chronograph for Tudor as well. Regardless, the Breitling B01 caliber is a good movement, and by adding the silicon balance spring Tudor has even managed to improve it.
On the wrist
The Tudor Black Bay Chrono has a 41mm case diameter, and a thickness of 14.4mm. Also important to many of you is the lug-to-lug size, which is 49.9mm. It is a chunky watch for sure, but definitely looks cool and wears comfortably on the wrist. The black dial (reverse panda) being my favorite execution of the new Tudor Black Bay Chrono, one of the first things to notice is the date aperture at 6 o’clock. It might have looked better if the date disc is black and the writing in white, but my eyes prefer a white disc with black printing. It is also not disturbing because of the other white elements on the dial, such as the hour markers, subdials, and hands.
I am not so much a fan of the snowflake hands, because the hour markers are (still) round. I know it is not the first Tudor watch that combines round and square shapes, and I don’t have OCD, but I prefer some alignment here. The Tudor Submariner above is an example of snowflake hands with square hour markers.
Operating the Tudor Black Bay Chrono
To ensure water-resistance of 200 meters, this Tudor Black Bay Chrono has a screw-in case back, screw-down crown, and pushers. It means you have to unscrew the crown and pushers before you can put them to use. Unscrewing a crown before use is fine in my book, as you don’t need to do this on a daily basis. Since it’s an automatic movement, you might not have to unscrew it all for a while as long as you keep it running. What does bother me though, are screw-down pushers. I want a chronograph to be ready whenever I am ready. If you have planned/scheduled activities to time, it is not really an issue. But it will prevent you from spontaneous use of the chronograph complication. I used to own an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph and briefly had a Rolex Cosmograph Daytona that also have screw-down pushers. It is not for me for sure, but others might not be bothered by it. Just make sure to give it a thought before you buy a watch with this “feature”.
Bracelet and strap options
The two Tudor Black Bay Chrono M79360N watches we received are both on the stainless steel bracelet. A bracelet that is clearly based on the Oyster one, with some important differences of course. It all feels a bit heavier and bigger than the bracelets of its big brother, and certainly of proper quality. The clasp is a bit chunky for my taste, but it does the job and has a flip-lock for safety. In the clasp, you’ll find three positions to which you can adjust the length of the bracelet. So no easy adjustment system, but good old resizing using a small tool. I don’t mind doing this at all, and it might prevent the clasp size from being even bigger. Now here’s what I don’t fancy: the riveted links. I get it, those vintage rivet bracelets look cool and Tudor is also about looking cool. And it does look cool, but it has no function whatsoever.
A riveted bracelet on the Tudor Black Bay Chrono
And that’s where I feel things get a bit weird at times. I recall that when I was in the market for an AP Royal Oak Chronograph, the one I mentioned earlier in the article, there was a predecessor reference that — of course — had the bolts in the bezel, but those at the left and right side had no function. They didn’t go all the way through the case like on the original Royal Oak and the newer Royal Oak Chronograph (26300). That, for me, was a reason to ignore that earlier reference, despite the more interesting price point. That said, I would always pick the Tudor Black Bay Chrono with stainless steel, but it’s a design decision I would have taken differently.
Bund with folding clasp
Then, Tudor also offers two sorts of straps for the new chronograph. A fabric strap, of very nice quality, and a leather Bund strap. This military-looking strap was also on Paul Newman’s Paul Newman (I love writing that) when he was on the cover of this Italian magazine. And admitted, the new Tudor Black Bay Chrono looks very nice on the black leather Bund strap with its white stitching. But, here I don’t get Tudor’s choice for a folding clasp. A Bund is utilitarian, it’s tough looking and should give you the idea of wearing a proper tool watch. A folding clasp doesn’t fit that image for me. Of course, I get why Tudor did it. It fits the picture of a luxury watch, and perhaps some customers expect a folding clasp when spending nearly 5,000 euros or dollars on a watch. And rightfully so, but also on a Bund strap? I don’t know. Anyway, this for me wouldn’t be an issue as I would go for the stainless steel bracelet. If I want the Bund strap for the Tudor Black Bay Chrono — and again, it does look neat — I’d go for one without the folding clasp.
Some thoughts on the Tudor Black Bay Chrono M79360N
The playground for proper chronographs around €5,000/$5,225 is getting really small. Especially if you only consider watches from established brands. Tudor is one of the few brands out there that is able to offer a chronograph with a movement like this (Tudor refers to it as a manufacture movement), with these specifications. It makes it an incredibly interesting purchase for people who want to have a properly vintage-inspired watch, offering great value when it comes to quality. The Tudor Black Bay Chrono has a few things that I would love to see differently, but none of these things would I consider to be a deal-breaker. More information via Tudor online.