Hands-On with the Tudor Black Bay GMT


by Nils Rau

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June 18. 2018 - by Nils Rau

The Tudor Black Bay GMT was without a doubt one of the shining stars at Baselworld 2018, many even believe that the new luxury watch from Tudor may be the better Pepsi-Rolex. With the first models starting to be delivered - we take a closer look at the Tudor Black Bay GMT. Does the diver's watch keep its promises? We know the answer.


Black Bay GMT: The new top model of the Black Bay series

It only took a few years for the Black Bay Heritage collection to become one of the most popular watch series. With many factors leading to its success. One of the most significant is that Tudor is able to combine a perfectly dosed heritage look with the legendary Rolex DNS in addition, the price-performance ratio is extremely good.

When the Black Bay GMT was introduced at this year's Baselworld, the surprise was huge. It was was expected that a new Rolex GMT-Master with Pepsi or Coke bezel would be introduced. But hardly anyone had expected an equivalent of the stylish sister company. Making its debut as it had to: The Tudor Black Bay GMT hit like a bomb. 

The first impression of the luxury watch

A look at the data sheet reveals that the Black Bay GMT is a real jack-of-all-trades: Manufacture movement, date, second time zone, water resistance to 200 meters. In addition, the familiar Black Bay style and a striking Pepsi bezel.

The most pleasant surprise when you see this luxury watch for the first time is the aluminium bezel. While most manufacturers now equip their watches with bezels made of the glossy, robust ceramic, Tudor remains oldschool. The result: A large portion of charm. The colours of the bezel are pleasant, neither the red nor the blue look bright. The red occasionally makes an appearance - depending on the exposure to light - like a muted bordeaux tone, the blue sometimes gray-blue. Both nuances are simple. But even when the colours come into their own in all their splendour, the Black Bay doesn't look colourful, but remains harmonious. The GMT hand, which is also equipped with a snowflake element, also skilfully picks up on the red. With all of its design elements, the watch forms a plausible and tasteful whole.

The diameter of 41 millimetres - measured in today's conditions - is neither large nor small. The Black Bay makes its presence on the arm, which you quickly get used to due to its pleasant appearance. The only bothersome thing is the somewhat block-like side view, to which I will probably never really get used to. But in the end it is a question of taste. With the Black Bay 58, Tudor has shown that there is another way.

The manufacture movement MT5652 was developed by Tudor and also produced in-house.  The power reserve of the COSC-certified caliber is a generous 70 hours. The GMT function was not integrated as a module, but originally into the movement. 

A unique overall concept: diving watch with GMT function

The process of getting used to something that we often have two points of view: The first impression and the view of something after we get used to it. Once you've made your first impression and have warmed up a bit with the Tudor Black Bay GMT, you'll begin to notice the watch's unique character. Because the overall appearance of the Black Bay is ambivalent, yet totally coherent. The domed sapphire crystal, the strikingly polished case chamfers, the studded look of the stainless steel bracelet and the aluminium bezel ensure a stringent heritage look. But these elements were dosed so skilfully that one can hardly say that the watch should look like a vintage model. Rather, it is a very own style.

In addition, the features of the Black Bay GMT don’t fit the mold of previously known drawers. Originally the Black Bay was supposed to be a tribute to the Rolex Submariner. Accordingly, there has never been any doubt that the Black Bay is a purebred diving watch. If you know the Rolex collection, you know that a Submariner is always a Submariner and the GMT-Master is always a GMT-Master. But now, for the first time, Tudor has created a diving watch with Pepsi bezel and GMT function. Until recently, this seemed to be logically impossible, but - as the Black Bay GMT proves - it could be implemented without any problems. 

The conclusion: Tudor or Rolex?

The Tudor Black Bay GMT is of course not the better Rolex GMT-Master. Both watches are simply too different for this. In my opinion, the Tudor Black Bay GMT is the best Black Bay Tudor has built so far. It is a perfect all-rounder that combines all attributes better than ever before in one watch: luxury and understatement, colour and simplicity, water resistance and GMT function. So far the Pelagos is the most popular Tudor model at CHRONEXT. It won't be long before the Black Bay GMT will challenge that. And if you consider the development of the previous Tudor models, you can be curious about which variants of the Black Bay GMT will be presented in the next few years. In any case, Tudor has no lack of creativity and innovative strength.

Nils Rau

by Nils Rau

Nils is a guest author for the CHRONEXT Journal. He currently dedicates most of his free time to wristwatches – be that talking with friends, browsing through blogs and online magazines, or keeping an eye on the timepiece stock exchange. When he is not contributing to the CHRONEXT Journal, he works as a junior lawyer in Northern Germany. His articles focus on brands, trends, as well as the philosophical questions within the world of fine watches.

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