Grab a cup of coffee, and get ready for a new Sunday Morning Showdown. For this week’s battle, we have selected two new Tudor introductions. During Watches and Wonders this year, many watch fans agreed that Tudor’s releases were more exciting than Rolex’s. So what if we put two popular Tudor watches up against each other? Let’s find out which one is the Fratelli favorite. Robert-Jan picked the Tudor Black Bay 58 GMT, while Jorg picked the black-dial-and-bezel Tudor Black Bay Master Chronometer. You get to decide which watch wins!

This week’s match-up is somewhat different than our usual Sunday Morning Showdowns. Instead of letting two different brands go head to head, we opted to make it a Tudor affair. So, if you are looking for a new Tudor, which of the two contestants would you pick? Would it be the Black Bay Master Chronometer with its black dial and bezel? The clean aesthetic without any faux vintage elements was somewhat of a revelation, making this an instant favorite for many Tudor enthusiasts. Or would you pick the new Black Bay 58 GMT that people had been wanting for years? With this smaller and slimmer Black Bay GMT, Tudor finally delivered a GMT that fans adored instantly. It’s time for Robert-Jan and Jorg to make their cases, so stick around, read their arguments, and vote for your favorite.

Last week, on Sunday Morning Showdown…

Before we get into this week’s battle, let’s look at last week’s results. Daan’s Doxa Sub 200T battled it out against Mike’s Aquastar Model 60. They are two distinct watches inspired by dive tools from the past. Ultimately, the Doxa Sub 200T took the win quite comfortably with 66% of the votes, leaving the Aquastar with 34%. It was a clear win for the more outspoken watch out of the two. However, quite a few people expressed their support for the Aquastar and dislike for the Doxa’s looks in the comments. In the end, it’s the votes that count, and that makes the Doxa the clear winner! Now it’s on to this week’s battle. Gentlemen, take it away!

Jorg: Tudor Black Bay Master Chronometer

As some of you know, I love GMTs. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised to see the Black Bay 58 GMT added to Tudor’s lineup. Finally, the brand graced us with a slimmer GMT in the Black Bay range. The Black Bay GMT and Black Bay Pro are known for their chunky profiles, which make them hotly debated among Tudor fans. I had been on the fence about buying a Black Bay Pro until recently because of its chunky case. But just two months ago, I had a chance to take the Black Bay Pro for a spin on a trio of Forstner bracelets, and that’s when I knew it was the Tudor for me.

Fast-forward a month to Watches and Wonders 2024, and that newfound assurance was shaken with the introduction of the Black Bay 58 GMT. Tudor’s designers had seemingly cracked the code to win me over with a thinner GMT. But, sadly, they didn’t do it with the Black Bay Pro. That’s exactly why I am not defending the Black Bay 58 GMT. If I had to pick a Tudor GMT, it would always be the Black Bay Pro. I prefer its first-generation Explorer II-inspired looks over those of the Rolex GMT-Master-inspired Black Bay GMT models.

The Tudor dilemma of cosmetic aging

In addition, the new Black Bay 58 GMT falls into the familiar Tudor trap of cosmetic aging tricks. I understand that Tudor likes to show that it takes inspiration from the past. But the design itself already does the trick without the faux-vintage details. The gilt-tone minute track, hands, and numerals on the bezel insert are too much. The new METAS-certified Black Bay in black, on the other hand, shows that Tudor doesn’t need such things. The moment I laid eyes on this new 41mm Black Bay, it became my favorite model in the current Tudor collection.

I have defended the new Black Bay Master Chronometer in a previous installment of our Sunday Morning Showdown series, where it lost to the current Rolex Submariner ref. 124060. It’s also where I explained that Tudor does not need the retro style. The vintage-inspired touches are often a bit too much, and that was my one big complaint with the Black Bay “Burgundy” that came out last year. I loved wearing that watch, but I got tired of it after a couple of days. As I explained in the review, I am not looking for a modern 41mm watch with vintage looks. It’s clearly mimicking something it’s not.

Crisp, modern looks with a hint of vintage inspiration

Tudor proves that the aging tricks are unnecessary with the new black version of the same watch. The new Black Bay looks crisp and clean, and it is as close as Tudor has ever come to producing a modern version of its classic Submariner. The good thing is that it can be yours for €4,510. You don’t have to pay the inflated prices for vintage Tudor Submariners, which sometimes even top those of their five-digit Rolex counterparts. It’s a crazy realization because, with the modern Black Bay, you will get an undeniably better watch.

The Black Bay is simply the full package. It starts with clean looks that make it a modern dive watch with subtle visual hints linking it back to the Submariners from the 1950s. The main reminders of the past are the aluminum bezel insert and the Oyster-style bracelet with its fake rivets. I would always buy it on that bracelet rather than the Jubilee-style one because I think it suits the style better.

The details of the Tudor Black Bay Master Chronometer in black

Complementing the dial and bezel is the 41mm stainless steel case, which measures 13.6mm thick and 50mm long with a 21mm lug spacing and 200m depth rating. Inside it, we find the Kenissi-produced caliber MT5602-U. The 25-jewel automatic movement is certified as a Master Chronometer by METAS, operates at 28,800vph, and offers 70 hours of power reserve. The combination of the updated design, improved case dimensions, and METAS-certified movement undoubtedly make this the best dive watch under €5K.

It also is my favorite of the two watches in this battle. If I want a Tudor GMT, I will pick the Black Bay Pro. To me, the Pro looks much better than the 58 GMT because it doesn’t suffer from contrived faux-vintage details. And that is also why I love the new Black Bay Master Chronometer so much. Both watches perfectly display why Tudor doesn’t need to mimic watches of yesteryear. The brand is perfectly capable of creating modern timepieces that take just enough inspiration from the past without plundering it. That is why the new Black Bay Master Chronometer in black is the clear winner for me.

Tudor Black Bay 58 GMT

Robert-Jan: Tudor Black Bay 58 GMT

When I laid my eyes upon the new Tudor Black Bay 58 GMT, my thoughts drifted to roughly 25 years ago. I was still a student, and my dream watch was the Rolex GMT-Master II 16710 with the Coke bezel. Only a few years later, in 2003, I purchased my first GMT-Master (a reference 1675 from 1971). Then, in 2006, I purchased a brand-new Rolex GMT-Master II 16710. I also collected all three available bezel inserts, which were easy to swap using a pocket knife.


The allure of a GMT

I remember that the price difference between a Rolex Submariner 16610 and GMT-Master II 16710 was about €100 back then. Rolex charged just a little bit more for an additional complication. Today, the difference between the steel Submariner Date and the GMT-Master II is (just) €400. But the difference between then and now is also that the Submariner Date has a €10,700 retail price, while the GMT-Master II comes in at €11,100.

Interestingly, not only did the Tudor Black Bay 58 GMT remind me of the GMT-Master II 16710 that I longed for so much, but the €4,670 price is also close to what the Rolex model cost back then. On top of that, the difference in price between the Black Bay 58 GMT and the Black Bay diver is €160 in favor of the latter.

Now, the small difference in price should never be a reason to pursue the Black Bay diver instead of the Black Bay 58 GMT (or the Submariner and GMT-Master). It should all be about looks and appeal.

Tudor Black Bay 58 GMT

The Black Bay 58 GMT ticks many boxes

So, comparing these two Tudor watches is not so much about specifications as it is about style and taste. I always preferred the GMT-Master (II) over the Submariner (although I bought several of those later). The GMT-Master (II) remains one of my favorite Rolex sports watches, and the 16710 is the one I regret selling the most (as you can see in this video we made).

I never cared enough about Rolex’s Explorer II to buy one, so the Black Bay Pro that Jorg mentions is also not for me. The GMT’s attraction for me was always the colorful bezel and the fact that one could even read a third time zone (which is also possible with the Tudor Black Bay 58 GMT). The Tudor Black Bay 58 GMT combines several elements from different GMT-Master iterations but still uses the typical Tudor style for the case, dial, and hands.

My view on Tudor changed

For a long time, I had some issues with buying a Tudor watch. Call me a Gen X-er, but when I bought my first Rolex watches 25 years ago, Tudor watches were copies that used ETA movements. That image stuck with me for a long time, which is entirely on me. The brand has done a fantastic job with the Pelagos and Black Bay series, and it has jumped into the gap to provide watches that look similar to the Rolex models that younger customers’ dads (or moms) bought in the 1980s or ’90s.

Tudor Black Bay 58 GMT dial close-up

We have some of these younger people working here at Fratello, and they have none of the qualms regarding Tudor versus Rolex that people my age (or older) have. They see Tudor as a grown-up brand, independent from Rolex (which it kind of is, especially concerning production). Tudor does an amazing job with many of its new watches, partnerships, and marketing campaigns. These things speak to a young(er) audience perhaps even more than Rolex and many other brands that operate in the same realm.

Tudor Black Bay 58 GMT on rubber strap wrist shot

The GMT-Master II ship has sailed, and I can’t see myself spending 15 grand on a watch I once bought new for €3,500 (with a discount — ha!). I think the Tudor Black Bay GMT 58 is a pretty neat alternative. I believe there’s little to criticize unless you don’t like this watch’s gold-tone elements. Then, there’s the Tudor Black Bay that Jorg is defending, which might be your choice. I think that’s an excellent alternative to the Submariner. Without the crown guards, these two new Tudors even combine some vintage looks (Submariner 6536/5508 and GMT-Master 6542) with modern technology and design.

Tudor Black Bay 58 GMT case profile

Is it better than a five-digit Rolex reference?

I might insult a few Rolex owners with this one, but I also believe that the new Tudor Black Bay Master Chronometer and Black Bay 58 GMT are better than or at least on par with the Rolex models from the past. The so-called five-digit references, like the GMT-Master II 16710 and Submariner 16610, were and are still great watches, but the bracelets do not stand a chance against the modern Tudor bracelets. The new Master Chronometer movements from Tudor also perform better than the Rolex 3135 and 3185 calibers. The only reason to go after the five-digit Rolex models is a sentimental one, which can be extremely valid. Regarding aesthetics, these new Tudors are so close to the mentioned Rolex models that if you like those, you will also like these Black Bay. The money you’d spend today on a five-digit GMT-Master II or Sub would allow you to purchase both of these new Black Bay watches.

Tudor Black Bay 58 GMT dial close-up

If I had to choose, just as I did 20 years ago when going after a Rolex, it would be the Black Bay 58 GMT. I prefer the GMT function over the diving bezel and love the additional colors. While the water resistance might have played a role in the past with Rolex (100 meters for the GMT-Master, and 300 meters for the Submariner), it doesn’t with these Tudor watches. Both are guaranteed water resistant to 200 meters.

Ultimately, it boils down to taste. Do you prefer a GMT or a diver? Do you like some colors and gold-tone elements or a monochromatic-themed diver? It’s now up to you to cast your vote and let us know which one you prefer!

Tudor Black Bay 58 GMT vs. Tudor Black Bay Master Chronometer