Tudor Heritage Black Bay Chrono
2017 GPHG Petite Aiguille Category Finalist
Fresh from the success of a year ago, Tudor return in 2017 with its award winning Black Bay watch, but this time with a chronograph, a pseudo-manufacture movement and a crossover appearance with strong tones inspired by a famous big cousin.
When the Heritage Black Bay Chrono by Tudor was unveiled at Baselworld 2017, it quickly became one of the talking points of the show, and the subject of heated debate among Tudor enthusiasts, with the purist being unconvinced for a number of reasons, but the wider audience more than happy with its classic, sporty character, renowned superb build quality, and design cues donated by the Rolex Daytona.
To me, a strong admirer of the Tudor revival, it's something of an enigma, because whereas you get the distinctive screw-locked chronograph pushers and the racing inspired tachymetre bezel of the Daytona, there's a trade-off, and unlike the Black Bay Bronze, which won this same award last year, and indeed all of its siblings in the collection, the Chrono's practicality as a 200m dive watch is compromised because there is no rotating sixty-minute scale.
Its biggest surprise though was what was beating within, because the Calibre MT5813 was the product of a collaboration, whose existence had previously been on a 'need to know' basis only, between Tudor and Breitling. Derived from Breitling's manufacture 01 base, the Black Bay Chrono features Tudor's in house balance and escapement assembly with silicon hairspring significantly enhancing its anti-magnetism qualities. A very fine, high-grade, self winding movement as it is, watch fans are a funny lot, and to some this was a curious interpretation of the term 'manufacture'.
You might understand why opinions were divided.
Those points aside, the Heritage Black Bay Chrono is a cool, assuringly solidly built watch with great presence, and many pleasing details, such as the textured black dial with 45 minute chrono counter and constant seconds in recessed subdials and the knurled pusher screws, and I just know that it's going to be a strong contender in the GPHG 2017 Petite Aiguille category, but will it strike a consecutive one-two?
I'm not so sure. While last year's winning Black Bay Bronze would have been my choice too, I could not say the same this time around. I could see the final choice will come down to a coin toss between Seiko's First Diver's Re-creation Limited Edition and the Habring² Erwin.
The Watch Press prediction
No. Maybe history will look back on the 2017 Heritage Black Bay Chrono as the beginning of a famous cross-brand collaboration, making it a future classic, but if so, I still think that if there has been division among the Tudor community, then the jury panel as individuals might also reflect the vox pop.
CASE: Stainless steel
BUCKLE: Folding clasp
MOVEMENT: Self winding mechanical. Power reserve: 70 h, 28'800 vph
FUNCTIONS: Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Date, Chronograph
SIZE: ø 41 mm
THICKNESS: 14.9 mm
WATERPROOFNESS: 200 m
PRICE EXCL.VAT: Est. c. CHF 4'167