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First launched in 2012, the Tudor Black Bay collection is the brand’s lineup of heritage-themed sports watches that draw their design inspiration from the historic models that make up the brand's archives. Although Tudor Black Bay watches typically embrace vintage-inspired design traits, they are thoroughly contemporary watches and are built using modern materials and manufacturing techniques.
While the Tudor Black Bay was initially a time-only dive watch, the collection has since expanded to include a wide variety of different timepieces, including non-dive watch models, chronographs, date-displaying variations, and even a version with a true GMT movement. Regardless of the specific model, all Tudor Black Bay watches are characterized by their water-resistant cases and automatic self-winding movements.
While the Tudor brand has a history that dates all the way back to 1926, the Tudor Black Bay collection was only just introduced in 2012 and has seen remarkable success in the years since it initially made its debut. After spending many years caught in the massive shadow of its internationally renowned parent company (Rolex), Tudor had a global re-launch in 2009 and immediately started to pick up momentum among watch collectors and enthusiasts.
The release of the Tudor Black Bay collection came at a time when vintage sports watches were reaching an all-time high in terms of value and popularity. While vintage Rolex watches are extremely desirable and collectable, the prices required to attain them - particularly for sports models such as the brand’s iconic dive watches - place them outside the reach of many collectors and enthusiasts. Additionally, even for the individuals lucky enough to own them, their high monetary value combined with the shortage of genuine replacement parts makes wearing them through adverse conditions anything but a worry-free experience.
Due to the massive interest in vintage sports watches but the inherent obstacles that are associated with wearing them on a daily basis, the vintage-inspired Tudor Black Bay collection found immediate success with modern-day buyers. Offering much of the same general aesthetics as vintage dive watches, but with thoroughly modern materials and specifications, the Tudor Black Bay provided collectors with a vintage watch that could be worn care-free in the modern era.
Building upon the success of the original Tudor Black Bay dive watch, a number of other variations were released in the years that followed. In addition to additional colors for the inaugural dive watch design, non-diver models were also released in a range of different sizes, and these were later joined by bronze-cased variants, two-tone versions, date-displaying models, and even both chronograph and GMT versions of the Tudor Black Bay.
In 2016, Tudor updated its Black Bay dive watches to feature in-house movements, replacing the ETA-based calibers that had been used to power the original models. While the non-diver models still rely on off-the-shelf, ETA-based movements, all of the current Tudor Black Bay dive watches, along with the GMT and chronograph models feature in-house movements that boast COSC chronometer certification.
Today, the Tudor Black Bay range is home to a remarkably diverse assortment of watches that cater to a wide variety of different lifestyles and personalities. Despite their different functions, appearances, and features, all of the various models that make up the current Tudor Black Bay collection are characterized by their vintage-inspired aesthetics and premium construction.
Retail prices for Tudor Black Bay watches vary in price depending on the specific model, its case size, and its features. The least expensive Tudor Black Bay watches are the 32mm non-diver models on leather or canvas straps. Consequently, the Tudor Black Bay watches that cost the most are typically the various chronograph models, with the most expensive one being the two-tone steel and gold Black Bay Chrono S&G on a matching bracelet.
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The price range of Tudor Black Bay watches can vary quite a bit depending on the specific model and its configuration. However, since all Tudor Black Bay watches were produced after 2012, there are no vintage Black Bay models that command steep premiums like other watch collections from Tudor.
Generally speaking, the price of Tudor Black Bay watches increases with case size, complications, materials, and features. The least expensive Black Bay references are the time-only, non-dive watch models that are fitted with canvas or leather straps. Among these watches, the larger examples typically cost more than the smaller ones, and those fitted with matching stainless steel bracelets are more expensive than comparable models with straps.
The various 41mm Tudor Black Bay Dive watches are the next most affordable options; however among even these, there exists a decent range in price depending on traits like size (39mm vs. 41mm), movement type (ETA vs. in-house, date vs. no-date), color (red, blue, black), materials/finishing (steel, black PVD, steel and gold), and bracelet style. While all these models are accompanied by noticeably different prices when purchased at retail, the price difference between the different variations becomes less significant on the secondary market.
The most expensive Tudor Black Bay models are typically the ones with the most complicated movements, meaning that it is often the Chronograph and GMT models that command the highest prices, both at retail and on the pre-owned market. Just like the various other Tudor Black Bay watches, models with matching metal bracelets cost more than otherwise identical watches fitted with leather or canvas straps. Additionally, two-tone models typically cost more than their stainless steel counterparts, especially at retail. Consequently, the most expensive Tudor Black Bay watch is the Black Bay Chrono S&G on a matching two-tone bracelet.
For certain Tudor Black Bay watches, demand exceeds supply, leading to used examples selling for slight premiums above their retail prices on the secondary market. Both the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight and the Black Bay GMT are incredibly desirable, and although they are only offered in one size and are exclusively crafted from stainless steel, pre-owned examples often sell for values that are as much - or sometimes more than their original retail prices.
Given the extensive range of variation within the Tudor Black Bay collection, there are not that many traits that are consistent across all models. Case sizes can range from 32mm to 43mm in diameter, and features can include everything from simple, time-only movements to self-winding integrated chronograph calibers with date displays.
Despite this range of differences, the two key features of the Tudor Black Bay collection that can be found across all watches from this range are water-resistant cases and automatic self-winding movements - the same two key features that served as the foundation for all Rolex and Tudor watches for many years.
Depth ratings for Tudor Black Bay watches can be either 150m or 200m depending on the model; however all Black Bay models are fitted with screw-down case-backs and winding crowns, which help guarantee the water-resistance offered by the collection. Additionally, all Tudor Black Bay watches, regardless of the model, feature vintage-inspired ‘snowflake’ hands that recall an instantly-recognizable design that was first introduced on Tudor dive watches during the late 1960s and 1970s.
The Tudor Black Bay 36 is the mid-sized version of the non-dive watch Black Bay models. Like its name suggests, the Tudor Black Bay 36 has a case diameter of 36mm, and it is powered by a time-only, ETA-based automatic movement. Boasting a 150m depth rating, available in either stainless steel or two-tone, and offered with a black, blue, or champagne-colored dial, along with a variety of different strap and bracelet options, the Tudor Black Bay 36 is a perfect everyday watch that is built to the highest possible standards.
The Tudor Black Bay dive watch is the original vintage-inspired model that served as the basis for the entire collection. Offering users a 41mm stainless steel case with a 200m depth rating and the options of either a black, red, or blue bezel, the Tudor Black Bay makes a great everyday watch that is also highly capable for scuba diving purposes. Originally released with an ETA-based movement, all current-production Tudor Black Bay dive watches now feature the brand’s own in-house calibers, which boast an increased power reserve and COSC chronometer certification.
Although the standard 41mm Tudor Black Bay was already a wild success, its moden case size made it slightly too large for certain smaller wrists. Additionally, many collectors wished that this vintage-inspired dive watch adhered more closely to historic proportions, rather than embracing a more-modern case diameter. At 39mm, the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight has a very similar profile to vintage dive watches from the 1950s and 1960s; however just like the rest of the Black Bay collection, it is constructed from modern materials and boasts contemporary specifications. Additionally, just like the current-production 41mm models, the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight is powered by an in-house, chronometer-certified automatic movement.
At Baselworld 2018, Tudor released the Black Bay GMT with a red and blue ‘Pepsi’ bezel. Offering the same movement functionality as the Rolex GMT-Master II, but with an increased depth rating of 200 meters, the Tudor Black Bay GMT became an instant success and was the perfect and more affordable alternative to the stainless steel Rolex Pepsi GMT-Master II that was released that same year. With a red and blue aluminum bezel insert and largely brushed surfaces, the Tudor Black Bay GMT has a much more utilitarian appearance than modern Rolex GMT watches, which makes it particularly desirable for vintage collectors.
Given the legendary desirability of the Rolex Daytona, it only makes sense for Tudor’s chronograph to also rank among the brand’s most popular models. Although it represents a significant aesthetic departure from Rolex’s legendary chronograph wristwatch, the Tudor Black Bay Chrono boasts an in-house, chronometer-certified movement with an integrated chronograph complication and a vertical clutch - two features seldom seen among mechanical chronograph watches at this price point. Additionally, as it is paired with a durable case, a date display, and a 200m depth rating, the Tudor Black Bay Chrono is a great contender for an everyday watch that can be worn through a variety of different circumstances.
For many years, Tudor was stuck in the massive shadow of its parent company (Rolex); however this has been increasingly changing in recent years. Although the Tudor brand has a history that dates all the way back to 1926, it was not until the re-launch of the brand in 2009 that Tudor watches started to pick up momentum with a more mainstream audience, and today, the Black Bay collection is one of the brand’s most successful and popular.
Tudor Black Bay watches have become a popular favorite with a number of top celebrities. Generally thought of as ‘less flashy’ when compared to Rolex models, you can spot Tudor Black Bay watches on the wrists of a number of different well-known individuals.
Given that the Tudor Black Bay is manufactured by a company that is owned by Rolex, all Tudor Black Bay watches, regardless of the specific model, are fantastic timepieces that are crafted to incredibly high standards. Although they occupy a significantly lower price point than their Rolex counterparts, Tudor Black Bay watches are Swiss-made luxury timepieces that are built to last a lifetime.
The Tudor Black Bay is a diverse collection of vintage-inspired sports watches that draw their aesthetics from legendary models from the brand’s archives. Originally created as a heritage inspired dive watch, the Tudor Black Bay collection has since expanded to include a variety of other models, including non-dive watches, chronographs, and even a version that is equipped with a true GMT movement, complete with jumping local hour hand.
Just like the various models produced by Tudor’s legendary parent company (Rolex), Tudor Black Bay watches make solid investments, and they are generally able to retain much of their value, despite receiving daily wear and use. Given that the Black Bay collection is a relatively new addition to the Tudor lineup, simply not enough time has passed to confirm how they perform as investments in the long run. However, despite the collection’s relatively short history, it is worth noting that the vast majority of used Tudor Black Bay watches are still worth close to what their owners originally paid for them when they purchased them at retail.
When compared to other Swiss-made luxury sports watches, the Tudor Black Bay collection represents excellent value for the money. While they are typically priced significantly lower than comparable offerings from Rolex, many Tudor watches offer similar specifications and features. Although they are in no way inexpensive, the various Tudor Black Bay watches are certainly worth their asking prices, and many models offer a level of performance that far exceeds their price point.
Although Tudor is owned by Rolex and is often referred to as Rolex’s sister company, Tudor is actually its own unique brand and manufacturers its own watches. In the past, many Tudor models featured outer case components manufactured by Rolex, and relied on generic, off-the-shelf movements to power them; however that has all changed in recent years. Tudor has increasingly been using in-house movements to power its new watches, and every single one is a model entirely of its own design and they no longer share external components such as crowns and bezels with their Rolex-manufactured siblings.