The Tudor Black Bay GMT ref. 79830RB was released at Baselworld 2018 and without a doubt, right now is the hottest Tudor watch and even selling well above its retail price of $3,900 USD. While we really didn't care much to see the watch while we were at Baselworld —as all the attention was centered on the new Rolex GMT Master II 'Pepsi' that was released at the same time—, Rolex's little brother seemed to have hit a home run with the release of this new Black Bay GMT 'Pepsi'. Very vintage looking due to the lack of crown guards, its riveted bracelet and the blue and red aluminum bezel insert, from far away and at first glance, this new Tudor is slightly reminiscent of the Rolex GMT Master ref. 6542 —regardless that the Tudor lacks of a bakelite bezel or a gilt dial.
Things to Know About the Watch
At the time of its release, not only a big majority of the people felt that Tudor was simply copying its big brother Rolex by releasing a GMT watch with a blue and red 'pepsi' insert, but also many felt that this new watch was literally a 'poor man's' or 'wannabe' GMT Pepsi. In our case we decided to wait until we perused one in the metal before passing judgement.
While we were not absolutely excited by the Black Bay GMT at the time of its release and we only took one single look at it behind the glass at the Tudor booth, in reality, this is a watch that started growing fairly quickly on us and sparked a true interesting in owning one. Therefore, as we've done it before here at WCL, we decided to go ahead and purchase this Tudor Black Bay GMT ref. M79830RB so that we could do a hands-on review on it. Fitted with a 41 mm stainless steel case and powered by an automatic in-house movement the Tudor calibre MT5652, the Black Bay GMT allows the user to keep track of up to three time zones thanks to its 24-hour GMT red hand, its independently moveing hour hand and its bidirectional 24-hour rotating bezel.
Equipped with a bidirectional rotating bezel with an aluminum insert in blue and red, the Black Bay GMT 'Pepsi' is a sexy looking watch. While the bezel insert is what makes this watch quite special and appealing, this same insert is what has kept many on the fence when it comes to buying the watch.
First, the stock images don't portray the bezel accurately and make the blue segment look much lighter and in a hue of blue that is closer to blue jeans —like those vintage faded Rolex GMT 'Pepsi' inserts—, second, some of the some live pictures from our competitors seem not do it enough justice to the true color of the bezel or its beauty.
So after looking at the matte bezel in different lighting conditions and shooting the watch under natural light with no filters, enhancements and mostly from above or at a side angle, the blue segment on the bezel insert is slightly darker than queen blue color; however, under low light or way too much light it appears almost black —see the second picture below.
When it comes to the burgundy segment, the hue is a true 'Pepsi' bright red. As far as the choice of font for the numerals on the bezel, we are not crazy about them but the typeface seems to add a little but more 'vintage' character to the watch.
The Tudor Black Bay GMT is equipped with a matte black domed dial with silver imprint and silver applied markers. The dial is very nicely finished but the snowflake hour hand is a little bit rough on the edges. Something we were not expecting from a Tudor watch.
With regards to the 24-hour red hand, this is something we don't absolutely love and we would've preferred for an arrow shape at the tip instead of a snowflake. Not a deal breaker at all.
The Case, Crown & Bracelet
The stainless steel case is nicely finished with satin-brushed top and highly polished sides. The chamfers are a nod to vintage Tudors and vintage Rolexes.
The imposing screw-down winding crown is a nod to the Tudor model presented in 1958 with the reference 7924 and nicknamed “Big Crown” by collectors. This time the crown tube is not made of anodized aluminum in a particular color, but in satin-brushed stainless steel. The crown features the Tudor rose in relief with no black lacquer filling.
Lastly the Tudor Black Bay GMT is fitted with a riveted bracelet. This steel bracelet takes its inspiration from the brand’s riveted bracelets made in the 50s and 60s. These were famous for having rivet heads for attaching the links in evidence on the side of the bracelet, as well as a stepped construction. The bracelet features a folding clasp with safety catch. The watch is also available on a “Terra di Siena” brown leather strap with folding clasp and safety catch or on a black fabric strap with burgundy stripe. The additional fabric strap that was usually included with the watch on previous iterations of the Black Bay is no longer included and separately sold for $190 USD.
On the Wrist & Pricing
On the wrist, the Tudor Black Bay GMT ref. M79830RB wears true to its size. The wrist presence is somewhat vintage and for the price this is the perfect way to jump into the GMT 'Pepsi' bandwagon even if this is not a Rolex. Powered by an in-house movement with a power reserve of 70 hours and water resistant to 200 meters, there's nothing about this watch that would make it a 'poor man's Pepsi'. The only thing we dislike about this watch is its ultra reflective domed crystal that makes it nearly impossible for one to get a nice wrist shot for Instagram without the unwanted glare. Availability of the watch is very limited at the Authorized Dealers and secondary market selling for up to $5,500 USD, which is absolutely crazy.
Sticker Price $3,900 USD on bracelet and $3,575 USD on leather or fabric strap. For more info on Tudor click here.