When we first saw the Tudor Heritage Black Bay a few years ago (2012), we knew that Tudor had gold in its hands. An amazing timepiece that was inspired by Tudor’s own heritage (we did a report here and here on their vintage pieces). This year, just one day before the BaselWorld exhibition opened, we were invited to witness the new & old collection of Tudor. They decided to come back with a new version of the Heritage Black Bay, this time in the wonderful Midnight Blue color.
Although we already showed you the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Midnight Blue watch in this previous post, we were able to wear the watch ourselves for a couple of weeks and will now share our findings and photos with you.
Perhaps I should start by saying that the introduction of the Heritage Black Bay in 2012 was a very welcome one. Although the vintage Tudor Submariner watches are highly sought-after and collectors willing to pay impressive amounts of money for them, continuing the Tudor Submariner model would make no sense.
The Tudor Submariner used the same case, crown and bracelet as the regular Rolex Submariner models. Basically, only the dial and movement were different from Rolex’ Submariner.
With the new Heritage Black Bay, the inspiration is quite clear, but I’ve to say that it is Tudor’s own design. The hands, the dial, case, crown and bracelet (or use of the leather and soft fabric straps) are all Tudor. Whether you take a look at the burgundy model or the midnight blue model, there is definitely an aesthetic link to Rolex but nothing seems to be identical to the iconic Submariner design.
With a list price of approx. € 2500 Euro for the Tudor Heritage Black Bay with a fabric strap (and leather strap) or € 2760 Euro for the version with a stainless steel bracelet (and leather strap), the price is far more attractive than the € 6150 Euro for the Submariner No Date (114060) or € 7000 Euro for the Submariner Date (116610LN). Admitted, Rolex uses an in-house movement instead of the Tudor 2824 which is based on ETA’s 2824-2 movement but of course this doesn’t make up for the difference in price.
Whether the difference in quality of finish and used materials is different, I will tell you later based on my wearing experience. First, let’s see how Tudor is doing in terms of popularity. Checking the data of our sister-company Chronolytics, whose information is based on Chrono24 (world’s biggest market platform for luxury watches) and their 7mio visits / 60 mio page views on a monthly basis, Tudor is awfully popular compared to a few years ago. Not only in the United States and United Kingdom, but also in Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, France, Hong Kong, China, Russia and so on.
Chronolytics is also able to generate information on its competitors. Therefore, we had to set some definitions first to keep it real. We used the price range between € 2000 and € 3000 Euro and marked ‘new watches’ only. They queried all requests for watches from people, who also had been looking for new Tudor watches in this price range in the period of January 2014 till October 2014.
Based on this, the first three competitors for Tudor as a brand are 1. Omega (10% share-of-voice), 2. Breitling (5,7% share-of-voice) and 3. TAG Heuer (4,3% share-of-voice). These are BIG names. But it only counts – of course – if Tudor would be considered competitor for one of these three brands (using the same definitions) as well. So Chronolytics did, and showed us that using Omega as a starting point, Tudor is coming in as 3rd biggest competitor for them (with a 5,2% share-of-voice) in this price range and based on queries on new watches only.
Next, we asked what the first 10 competitive watch models would look like in this price range. So, people who had been requesting a Tudor Black Bay Heritage (no matter whether it is a burgundy model or midnight blue model), what are the watches from other brands they also requested. Below you see the out come of that request. Mind you that all competitive models are also according to the definitions set and that this data is based on actual market value, not list price (there might be 0% difference for highly sought-after models but we all know there is some discount on particular watches as well).
As said, I had the Tudor Heritage Black Bay in midnight blue on the fabric strap, reference 79220B. The midnight blue would be my preference over the burgundy model to be honest, as I am not particularly fond of faux patina but also because I love the midnight blue tones. It is a color not only used by Tudor, but also an official BMW color, Stockinger uses it as an optional color for their beautiful safes and Apple’s iPhone covers can also be ordered in midnight blue (the most affordable thing in midnight blue in this list, which I do own).
In fact, the blue of this Tudor Heritage Black Bay refers to the old French Navy Submariner models by Tudor in the 1970s.
The Tudor Heritage Black Bay is full of details. The crown has the famous Tudor Rose and is of course screw-down to ensure water resistance and prevent dust from coming inside the case. As you can see in the photo above, the sides of the case have a high polish finish. A nice thick facet line separates the polished side from the brushed upper side of the lugs. Like we’re used to from Rolex watches.
Although the uni-direction bezel has a much more fine set of teeth than the older Tudor models or Rolex models, it is easy to grasp and use. Sames goes for the crown basically. In all honesty, I had to get used to the shape of the crown a bit at first, but it is such an easy thing to use and it suits the shape of the aforementioned bezel.
The buckle – as you can see above – has the shape of the Tudor shield and works like a charm. The blue fabric strap is very comfortable on the wrist and unlike some of the cheap stiff NATO straps out there, which I don’t fancy at all personally. I do love the look of NATO straps, I just happen to find them cutting a bit too much in my wrist to be really comfortable. This Tudor fabric is somewhat thicker and perhaps therefore a bit softer on the skin.
As already mentioned, the movement in this Tudor has the internal 2824 reference which is basically a modified ETA 2824-2. The price of this watch (€ 2500 LP) totally justifies the use of this movement and it has got a long track record as well. The use of an in-house Tudor movement would probably crank up the price making it come to close to Rolex. Also, if the movement is a big influence on the very attractive price of these Tudor watches, I’d rather have them using these movements. I love the fact that this Tudor is actually in a very affordable price range. Above a ‘lume-shot’ as people tend to call them. Admitted, I already have worn this watch during last Summer, so it didn’t take too much effort to charge the lume. I am currently wearing a watch with no lume at all, which made me realize how much I miss it during the evening or night.
All-in-all, this is definitely a watch that would be on my short-list when I was in the market for a new modern watch with a budget between 2000 and 3000 Euro. The finish is amazing and comes very close to what I am used to from the Rolex watches that I have or used to have in my modest collection. I might find the sides a bit too high polished, but this is also due to the fact that the height of the case is a bit bigger than those of my Rolex watches. Perhaps I just should not be comparing them, as these are different watches but from the same mothership.
As I’ve said, I would lean a bit more towards to the Midnight Blue version of the Tudor Heritage Black Bay than the burgundy version. But at least you do have a choice of course.
One thing that I’ve heard some comments on while wearing (and also wondered about it myself) is the use of the wording ‘Rotor Self-Winding’ on the dial of the Tudor Heritage Black Bay. I can imagine this was something ‘cool’ on a dial when it was all kinda new when Tudor started using automatic movements, but in 2014 it doesn’t make much sense. I guess it is there for ‘heritage’ reasons, but I could have lived without. I am sure however, that there will be people who love it.
I am very curious what Tudor will be putting on the market during next year’s BaselWorld. Will they be – again – the talk of the town on the first day of Basel? Let’s wait and see. If you can’t wait and need to decide now, buy a Tudor Heritage Black Bay with confidence.
Ever since he was a young child, Robert-Jan was drawn to watches, even though it were digital Casio and quartz Swatch models at the time. In the mid-1990s, his interest increased when he started to read about mechanical watches in... read more