Hands-On With The New Tudor Black Bay Ceramic In Amsterdam
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 15+ years of collecting watches, it’s that we watch lovers will never completely unite on anything. But, sometimes, we can come pretty damn close. I can’t claim to speak for everyone in the watch-loving community right now, but having taken a passing glance at the comments on Tudor’s Instagram release video of the Black Bay Ceramic, the overarching sentiment is clear: the Shield just pulled a straight-up grandma move! Like a sweater on Christmas for the ninth year in a row, today we have been given yet another Black Bay. This time, however, we’ve got a ceramic case to deal with. Good move/bad move? Let’s discuss…
Now, props to grandma; she’s trying to be “hip to the groove!” This newest variant comes to us in a modern-sized 41mm matte black ceramic case. The black PVD stainless steel bezel features a ceramic insert with engraved numerals. In very Zenith-esque fashion, the watch comes on a hybrid leather strap with rubber lining, ensuring year-round wearability without the damage nor unpleasant odor potentially caused by a sweaty wrist.
A handsome movement on display (for once)
Following suit with this year’s precious metal Black Bay releases from Watches and Wonders, the Black Bay Ceramic also features a display case back, under which we see Tudor’s solid in-house caliber with 70 hours of power reserve. This go around, however, the MT5602 has been finished with a matching black treatment, and for the first time ever, certified by METAs as a Master Chronometer. This certification ensures anti-magnetism of up to 15,000 gauss and a daily accuracy of 0 to +5 seconds. Tudor dubs this the Manufacture Caliber MT5602-1U.
This? This is cool. We like this. But what kind of message is it sending to the rest of the industry? To me, it seems to make a bold statement: “Move over Omega; you’re not the only one bringing Master Chronometers to the party anymore.
I do think that the METAS certification will not only serve as a testament to Tudor’s pursuit of quality in manufacturing but will be an important step toward normalizing the highest standards achievable in mechanical movements today. When it really comes down to it, who would argue against improved accuracy and reliability? Not only can those things be appreciated by many of us accuracy-obsessed watch nerds, but they also make the watch more usable for anyone relying on it as their go-to timepiece.
Not the present we wanted?
But back to our dear old Gran, for a moment. She never fails to give us a present on Christmas, true, but despite her well-meaning nature, it more often than not misses the mark. With Tudor announcing its renewed partnership with the Marine Nationale just weeks ago, many enthusiasts hoped for a watch to commemorate it. Yes, we heard the chatter that nothing was coming for the MN partnership until later in the year also. We also heard the opposite (from reliable sources). We also heard that nothing at all (in terms of watches) would come from the Marine Nationale partnership. So for anyone that feels like pointing out how obvious this release was, we now agree with you. We just dared to dream…
A limited-edition Pelagos, a different blue Black Bay, or even, perhaps, a revived Tudor Submariner? The watch community has literally been begging for that last one for years now. But, like its parent company, Tudor seems to have adopted an attitude of indifference to the utmost desires of die-hard fans.
No sub this time
I think, deep down, we all knew a Submariner revival was just not in the cards, and that another Black Bay was coming. Given Tudor’s track record, how could it not? But the questions that seem to be haunting the minds of many watch enthusiasts today are plenty. Why not utilize the increasingly popular Fifty Eight case? Why not at least give us another option for the GMT?
Why stubbornly continue to hold on to (what I truly feel) is a dead-and-gone trend of blacked-out watches for the sake of another release? If Tudor just had to release another ceramic watch (I didn’t forget about you, Fastrider Black Shield), why not do so in a gray or bronze-toned ceramic for a refreshing and “born-to-dare” take on the material?
Priced at €4,410 (in Germany) and unlimited in its production, the Black Bay Ceramic certainly does offer a phenomenal value for anyone looking for a rugged, reliable, and respectable watch as a daily wearer. Perhaps that market is the one this release was intended for, and if so, it will probably do quite well. But let’s just say, especially this morning, I do not envy the dude who manages Grandma Tudor’s Instagram account! Have your say below. Is the community’s skepticism justified or is this a new classic-in-waiting? We can’t wait to hear your take. Learn more about the watch here.