Black or White: TUDOR Presents Two Black Bay Chrono Versions For 2021
To mark 50 years of its chronographs, TUDOR rolls out its Black Bay Chrono in steel with a re-designed case and two dial options
In 2017, Tudor released the Black Bay Chrono, featuring a 316L stainless steel case with a solid black dial. It was hugely popular with the cognoscenti due to its amalgamation of various Tudor elements of yesteryear. As an homage to the brand’s first chronograph launched in 1970, Tudor has relaunched the Black Bay Chrono this year to mark its 50th anniversary.
The relaunched Black Bay Chrono retains key aesthetic elements of the 2017 timepiece. It features a satin-brushed and polished 41mm-wide case with a fixed bezel—both in 316L stainless steel—and a black anodised aluminium insert with a tachymetric scale; “Snowflake” hands—a brand signature for divers’ watches since 1969—with Swiss Super-LumiNova luminescent material; as well as the Calibre MT5813. The Manufacture Chronograph calibre, which boasts a power reserve of approximately 70 hours, is certified by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) and equipped with a silicon balance spring and a column wheel and vertical clutch.
The new Black Bay Chrono’s key differences lie in its new dials and case. Its new dials come in a matte black or opaline version, with two hollowed sub-counters of contrasting colours—white opaline on the matte black dial, and matte black on the white opaline dial—for optimised readability. It also features a slimmer, reworked 41mm case with a trimmed down height of 14.4mm, from the original 14.9mm.
The Black Bay Chrono come with three options: a black Jacquard fabric strap, a bund strap in black aged leather or riveted steel bracelet. And to underline Tudor’s dedication in producing durable and precise watches, it is offering a five-year transferable guarantee, without registration or mandatory maintenance checks upon purchase of the Black Bay Chrono.
50 Years of Excellence
For the last five decades, Tudor has been investing time and effort in improving the aesthetics and performance of its chronographs. Here are the key milestones
Series 7000 or “Homeplate”
The first Tudor chronograph, the Oysterdate was launched in 1970 and powered by the robust and reliable manual-winding Valjoux 7734 calibre. It featured generous proportions and was designed as a highly masculine and racing-inspired watch. It also stood out for its dial design which came with painted luminous hour markers in a pentagonal shape. The unusual design earned it the moniker of “Homeplate” in reference to the property plate on a baseball field.
Series 7100 or “Monte-Carlo”
The 7100 series was the second generation of Tudor chronographs and remained in its catalogue until 1977. Nicknamed the “Monte Carlo” among enthusiasts, the watch, which retained the case of the original, sported roulette wheel-styled dials. Besides the slight difference in dial design, the watch is also fitted with the manually wound Valjoux calibre 234, which was an upgrade from the calibre 7734 and equipped with a clutch and column wheel.
Self-winding or “Big Block” Chronograph (Series 9400 And 79100)
The year 1976 represented a momentous milestone for Tudor as the new Prince Oysterdate chronographs were the first to be equipped with self-winding movements. This new movement, the Valjoux calibre 7750, resulted in the case being made 1.5mm thicker which gave the watch its alias, the “Big Block”. This new movement also led to a redesign of the dial. An hour counter was added, the counter group shifted left and the date aperture was moved to 3 o’clock.
“Sapphire” Chronograph (79200 Series)
The Tudor Prince Oysterdate Chronograph received a significant facelift in 1995. The straight, sharp lines of the original case were replaced by rounded and softer curves—this softened its sporty character, lending it a more refined look. Besides the case re-design, the fourth-generation chronograph was also fitted with a sapphire crystal—hence its nickname among collectors—and a leather strap, and also came in gold and steel variants.
The “Homeplate” Returns
In 2010, Tudor unveiled the Heritage Chrono, as a tribute to mark the 40th anniversary of the brand’s first chronograph. This was a modern take on chronographs bearing elements from various vintage Tudor creations. It adopted the main looks of reference 7033, a 1970 prototype with hourly graduated rotating bezel, while its dial, available in two variations, was inspired by the Seventies. This was why the dial featured the iconic “Homeplate” pentagon-shaped hour markers. As a first, Tudor offered the watch with a black, grey or orange Jacquard fabric strap on top of a regular steel bracelet.
Fastrider and Mastering Ceramic
The Fastrider Black Shield was introduced in 2013. Breaking away from its usual traditional aesthetics, this chronograph was a sporty matte black chronograph that demonstrated Tudor’s prowess in employing high-tech ceramic. Angular and detailed, the monobloc high-tech ceramic case required ultra-high-temperature injection processes and a high level of technical expertise to create.
In 2017, Tudor combined its motorsports lineage with the aquatic heritage of the Black Bay family of watches to launch the Black Bay Chrono. What was particularly significant was the use of the Tudor Manufacture Chronograph Calibre MT5813, a high-performance movement that featured a column wheel mechanism and vertical clutch, and boasted a 70-hour power reserve and silicon balance spring. It being COSC-certified only proved how highly functional and reliable the movement was.
Tags: Tudor; Tudor Black Bay Chrono; Tudor Manufacture Calibre MT5813
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