Under The Radar: The Tudor Black Bay Steel & Gold Get In-House COSC Movements
Normally, I stick to writing about sports watches, but something caught my eye today deep within the Tudor PR release. The Black Bay Steel & Gold models now have in-house movements and COSC certification! On top of that, they look the part as well.
Big-time Rolex Explorer fan clocking in for duty here. Therefore, I take notice of watches that are thematically similar. When we think of the Black Bay series, it’s the divers that frequently come to mind. However, there are a really nice series of smooth-bezel models existing in 31, 36, 39, and 41mm case sizes. Up until recently, though, these models were amongst the last Tudors with third-party movements. For now, the steel pieces will remain that way, but the Black Bay Steel & Gold models get an update to in-house powerplants. I know that the “Root Beer” GMT and the new Pro will garner most of the looks, but these new “base” models are worth a real look.
The Black Bay Steel & Gold
Last year, Rolex dropped the new Explorer in two-tone (shown above) and 36mm — it was a polarizing release. Still, it was notable, and in the end, I think a solid addition to the lineup. Now, with a year under our collective belts, here comes Tudor with its Black Bay Steel & Gold series, and the brand has decided to bring these upmarket. I say that because the watches, no matter the size, have an in-house automatic and it seems that the gold bits are actually gold now. Tudor makes no reference to plating or capping and the pricing suggests that this is, in fact, gold at work here.
In-house movements and COSC
As mentioned, the Black Bay Steel & Gold watches all receive in-house movements and COSC. Interestingly, all four sizes receive four unique calibers. The 31mm uses the MT5201, the 36mm uses the MT5400, the 39mm uses the MT5602, and the 41mm uses the MT5601. All movements have a hacking function and run at 28,800vph. All pieces have screw-down crowns and 100 meters of water resistance.
Two dial choices
From a dial perspective, things get interesting. There are some diamond-enhanced and pattern dials that I won’t discuss here, but there are two traditional choices. There’s a silver model that I like, and then there’s a black version that I love. The black model, in particular, feels like a great alternative to the Explorer, especially when taking into account the size options on the table. Loads of folks were upset about the move of the Explorer from 39mm down to 36mm. Now, this Tudor can potentially fill that gap.
A great-looking bracelet
I’ve had the opportunity to go hands-on with quite a few modern Tudor models. The bracelets are nice and the clasps are typically decent. What I find with the clasps is that they’re just not quite as nice as what one would find on a Rolex. They open somewhat easily and “feel” less precise. However, it seems that Tudor has been busy working on its clasps because this looks really nice! I like the combination of matte and polished finishes along with the gold shield on the flip-lock. The bracelet takes on a Jubilee-style and uses gold intermediate links. Needless to say, I’m excited to try one of these on to test the clasp and the overall finishing on the links.
Final thoughts and pricing on the Black Bay Steel & Gold
As far as pricing for the Black Bay Steel & Gold models, the 31mm is priced at €4,600, the 36mm at €4,700, the 39mm at €4,800, and the 41mm at €4,890. For certain, these aren’t inexpensive, but there’s much more added value with these models than there was in the past. The worth of an in-house movement can be debated, but adding COSC and some level of gold content adds to the price. I really like the black-dialed version in 36 or 39mm and think it would make a great daily watch if two-tone is your thing. Most importantly, I wanted to ensure we highlighted these pieces. In the wake of all the sports-watch talk during Watches & Wonders 2022, pieces like this often get lost in the shuffle! Oh, and perhaps this release serves as a bit of foreshadowing for what could come to the steel models in the future.
For more information, visit the official Tudor site.