Today, we are going to approach this hands-on review in a very different way. Instead of focusing on all the technicalities and the pros and cons of this new watch, we will strongly focus on the emotions that surround a watch purchase and why we still love the new Tudor Heritage Black Bay Black a.k.a. the 'BBB' after 21 days of ownership. As you all watch collectors know, timepieces not only track time for us, but they also gather memories as we wear them. You guys also know —especially those of you that are compulsive watch flippers—, that many times we buy watches by impulse and as a mere 'fix' for that watch collecting addiction we have, only to end up flipping the new watch within days or just a few weeks after the purchase. Well, all we can say is that at least for us, this new Tudor BBB is a keeper.
As soon as the new Tudor Heritage Black Bay Black ref. 79220N was released on October 14th, 2015, we decided to take the plunge and buy one the next day when it was supposed to hit the Tudor authorized dealer network. It is important to clarify that regardless of our 'press status', we didn't have the chance to look at this watch before its release like other media outlets did. However, to our luck, the day the watch was released, we were en route to Las Vegas —one of the world's watch shopping paradises as we featured it here. As soon as we deplaned, we called every Tudor authorized dealer in Las Vegas to inquire about the watch. After many calls, we were devastated to hear that some of the authorized dealers didn't even know about the new release and others didn't know when the watch would make it to their boutiques.
The next day, we left the Wynn hotel on a mission, one way or another we just had to have the watch, no matter the number of stops or calls we had to make. Determined to get the watch, we headed to the only Tudor authorized dealer in Las Vegas that was aware of the release and that said they could potentially get one that day but really unsure when they would. After walking into Venetzia Fine Jewelry —located at the Palazzo— and without any preamble, we inquired about the new Tudor Black Bay Black. After approaching the first salesman we saw on the floor, we asked him whether the watch was in stock or not. The salesman named James, kindly replied: "I believe we spoke yesterday, let me double check with my colleagues". After heading to the back and talking to one of his colleagues, he came back and said: "Can you wait 10 minutes? Looks like our owner just received a piece a few minutes ago and he is on his way here." As soon as we heard those words, our heart filled with joy and we awaited anxiously. Minutes later, a female employee stepped out of the boutique to get the watch from the owner who was waiting in the valet parking area of The Palazzo. Once the watch made it in, James carefully unboxed it for us. As soon as that top lid on the box opened up, we knew it was our lucky day and we proceeded with the purchase before even trying the watch on. No discounts, no haggling, full retail straight out the door.
While many of you might think that this was a very impulsive purchase, we will elaborate carefully why it was not and also why we decided to purchase the watch and still own it after 21 days of ownership. Here are a few of our first wristshots posted on our Instagram that day. Something else that we love about this purchase, is knowing that we had to be one of the first ones in the U.S. and perhaps in the whole world to own this beautiful new timepiece as it hit the stores, and we are ultra happy about it.
Tudor Black Bay One vs. Tudor Heritage Black Bay Black
Earlier this year on June 30th, Tudor unveiled the Black Bay One unique piece for ONLY Watch Auction —as we reported here—, and that day, we had the hunch that perhaps for Baselworld 2016, Tudor would be releasing a similar version available to the public. While the new Tudor Heritage Black Bay Black ref. 79220N is not exactly identical to the Black Bay One made for the ONLY Watch Auction, the watch is so vintage inspired that we immediately feel in love with it. While we love vintage Tudors and Rolexes, lately the prices and headaches that come with owning these vintage timepieces continues to arise. Therefore, going with a vintage inspired modern execution, brings the best of both worlds.
The main differences between the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Black and the Tudor Black Bay One for the ONLY Watch Auction are as follows: the BBB has a graduated bezel with hash marks for the first fifteen minutes, the Black Bay One doesn't; the BBB lacks of depth rating in red and the 'Shock Resisting' writing; the BBB has curved text at 6 o'clock with depth rating and 'Rotor Self-Winding'; the Black Bay One lacks of end links attaching the bracelet to the case; the BBB has a matte dial opposed to a glossy dial on the Black Bay One; and lastly, the BBB is fitted with the iconic snowflake shaped hour hand and without a lollipop seconds hand, while the Black Bay One features a sword-shaped hour hand and a lollipop seconds hand.
The History & Details We Love
The Tudor Heritage Black Bay was originally launched in 2012 and three years later this black version makes an amazing appearance. Read our hands-on reviews on the Heritage Black Bay Blue ref. 79220B here and on the Heritage Black Bay Burgundy Red ref. 79220R here. For the record we've owned both, but neither comes close to the beauty of the new Black Bay Black. While the Tudor Black Bay One is inspired by reference 7923, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Black takes its inspiration from the Tudor Submariner reference 7922, launched in 1954 and pictured below by Philipp Stahl from the Rolex Passion Report. Additionally, the resemblance to the Rolex Submariner 6536/1 —photo from YorkTime.com— is definitely present on the new Tudor Heritage Black Bay Black ref. 79220N.
The character of its dome-shaped dial, a detail common to the first Tudor Submariner, is also drawn from this model. The rose gold gilt imprint on the dial is also one of those features that we love and that transports you back in time.
The imposing screw-down winding crown with the Tudor rose, is a nod to a model presented in 1958 with the reference 7924 and nicknamed “Big Crown” by collectors. The crown tube made of anodized aluminum is a nice eye-catching feature when you are paying a little extra attention to the crown rising in full glory on the case band with no crown guards.
Its characteristic angular hour hand, known as “snowflakes”, were seen from 1969 to the early 1980s. With its black dial, pink-gold hands and hour markers and cream colored luminescent material, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Black suggests the gentle warm patina of vintage Tudors or Rolexes —another feature that we love but without the headaches of vintage timepieces with unstable tritium coming off the markers or hands.
Additionally, the functionality of having lume that glows bright at night opposed to fully faded tritium that doesn't glow anymore, is another big factor on why we love this Tudor so much after almost a month of ownership. While most of us rarely look at the time while sleeping, its nice to know that if you wake up in the middle of the night, you can still tell what time it is thanks to the bright lume on the watch's dial.
Something else we just love about this watch, is its case construction. The Tudor Heritage Black Bay Black comes with a robust 41 mm stainless steel case —1 mm bigger than that on a Rolex Submariner and 1 mm smaller than that on a Tudor Heritage Chrono— with lovely 'chamfers' to die for.
A case with the end of its lugs as sharp as a scalpel, a solid case back with the iconic Tudor and Rolex serrated teeth to keep the inner workings safe from the elements and as tight as an oyster shell. But foremost, those captivating 'chamfers' no longer present on modern Rolexes and that you can only find on pristine unpolished vintage Tudor and Rolex examples. Those same chamfers, are still present on this modern but vintage inspired Tudor.
The perfectly serrated matte black aluminum bezel insert —way more matte than the bezel insert on the Red/Burgundy or Blue versions of the Black Bay— allows for perfect grip and its clicks are smooth and precise when using it. Did we mention how much we love the subtle red triangle on the bezel? A nice touch that adds historical relevance and enough contrast without being too loud. Pure watchporn here and nothing less!
Lastly, that solid Oyster bracelet with folding clasp. The Tudor Heritage Black Bay is certainly the watch that comes closest to the pioneering spirit of Tudor’s first divers’ watches. Its satin-brushed finish along with the solid construction of the clasp, make it a perfect daily wearer. Also available on an aged leather strap —not our cup of tea—, the Black Bay Black is accompanied by a second strap in black fabric for those of you that like the NATO look. The strap, woven using time-honored techniques by a traditional company, lends added value to Tudor creations.
On the Wrist Building Memories
On the wrist, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Black ref. 79220N wears slightly smaller and more like a 40 mm. While we feel the Black Bay Red/Burgundy model is more suited for Fall and Winter, the new Black Bay Black is perfectly suited for year-round wear. After 21 days of ownership, two trips with it —one international trip to Mexico—, a few beers, a handful of Negronis, one Cuban cigar, a dip in the pool, a rainy day, a Dallas Stars hockey game, ten bottles of Möet during a crazy night in Mexico and a ton of other memories with it, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Black is a watch perfectly suited for daily wear and one that will remain in a special place within our collection. For the price, you honestly get a lot of watch.
Sticker Price $3,425 USD on bracelet and $3,100 USD on distressed leather. For more info on Tudor click here.