TUDOR Black Bay Watches


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Buying Guide to New and Used TUDOR Black Bay Watches

A relatively recent collection for TUDOR (the sister brand to Rolex), the TUDOR Black Bay watch line was introduced in 2012. It was an incarnation of the brand’s 1950s Submariner, and it caught on like wildfire. The TUDOR Black Bay and its different renditions have become one of the brand’s most sought-after watches. 

TUDOR Black Bay History

We need to go back to the brand’s roots to understand where the TUDOR Black Bay name came from. Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf requested that the name “The TUDOR” be registered as a brand in 1926. Wilsdorf’s dream was to offer the quality and reliability of Rolex watches but at a more attainable price.  

However, Wilsdorf did not take ownership of the name until 1936 and did not create the Montres TUDOR SA company for another 10 years. In 1946 the brand became a reality. Before the company was formally established, however, TUDOR-signed watches were being made. Once Montres TUDOR SA became official, Wilsdorf arranged for Rolex to guarantee the technical aspects, as well as the distribution and service of the watches. 

Within a few years, TUDOR was branching out to create top-notch sport watches, and in 1954 it unveiled the Submariner Reference 7922. A dive watch created for professionals and recreational scuba divers, the Submariner quickly became an iconic watch. Over the years, it employed some signature elements, including oversized crowns and, later, crown guards. In 1969 the Submariner Snowflake featured broad, luminous hands that had a large snowflake-like tip on the second hand.

When modern-day TUDOR opted to create its now-famous Black Bay watches, it returned to the beloved Reference 7922 that started it all. This was the inspiration for the Black Bay and its subsequent renditions: Black Bay Blue, Black Bay Bronze, Black Bay GMT and others. In fact, today’s Black Bay is the culmination of the brand’s 60 years of diving history. 

Celebrity Sightings of the TUDOR Black Bay

As part of TUDOR’s Born to Dare campaign, the brand has enlisted top celebrities from all walks of life as brand ambassadors, including David Beckham, Lady Gaga, Jay Chou and Beauden Barrett.

Recently, David Beckham joined Norwegian Olympic snowboarder and award-winning medalist Kjersti Buaas in a backcountry adventure in the Alps. Beckham wore the Black Bay P01 based on a prototype that the brand proposed to the U.S. Navy in the 1960s. Buaas wore a Black Bay Burgundy. 

TUDOR Black Bay Variations, Features and Functions

Today, TUDOR watches still enjoy some of the benefits of its sister brand, Rolex, especially when it comes to materials and technical advances. But it has been positioned as its own brand, complete with full workshops, and is designed to compete with other top sport brands in its price range. Many of the Black Bay watches pay homage to their past. 

The Black Bay sport watches, inspired by the oversized crowns of the early 1950s Submariners, typically boast a “big crown.” These watches also utilize a modern-day interpretation of the Snowflake hands.  Considered today to be tool watches, these Black Bay watches feature rotating dive bezels in colors defined by their name: Black Bay Blue, Black Bay Black, Black Bay Burgundy, etc. They are powered by mechanical movements made in-house by TUDOR. 

One of the standout series in this dive realm is the Black Bay Fifty-Eight, which pays homage to the first TUDOR watch that was water resistant to 200 meters and introduced in 1958. It is equipped with a unidirectional rotating bezel and a manufacture-made COSC-certified chronometer movement (Caliber MT5402). Like its namesake, it is water resistant to 200 meters. These are among the most sought-after TUDOR Black Bay watches and are lauded as highly precise and dependable water watches.

Other TUDOR Black Bay watches have a more daring look to them. They typically use new materials in addition to stainless steel and may have an added complication or function. This is the case with the Black Bay Chrono and Black Bay GMT. The Black Bay Dark boasts a striking matte black PVD coating, while the popular Black Bay Bronze is crafted in bronze. Then there are the more classic-looking Black Bay watches that are simple, time-only pieces. They are offered in unisex sizes, including Black Bay 41, Black Bay 36 and Black Bay 32.

How much is a TUDOR Black Bay Watch? While TUDOR has its own manufacture today, some still believe that the watches and movements are made by Rolex. The sibling companies do share some materials, for both cases and movements, but TUDOR has established its own in-house caliber. This makes it highly desirable because buyers are getting the best of both brands. 

Still, many new collectors often wonder if the TUDOR Black Bay is worth it. The average cost of a new TUDOR Black Bay ranges from about $2,500 to $5,000. A used TUDOR Black Bay may cost a little bit less. However, the prices of used or secondhand TUDOR watches rely on supply and demand. When demand is high and supply is low, which has recently become the case, the right TUDOR Black Bay will hold its value.  In addition, because a TUDOR Black Bay costs much less than a Rolex Submariner, for instance, it remains a good investment.