If I told you about a watch selling at auction that brought 83 times its pre-auction estimate, would you think I’m crazy? If I asked you to name it, could you? (No fair peaking at the archives here on Everest Journal.)
If you guessed Patek Philippe, you’re wrong. If you guessed Vacheron Constantin, you’re wrong. If you guessed Rolex, you’re wrong.
Well, mostly wrong. Because the watch that sold for 83 times its pre-auction estimate a few months ago was none other than a Tudor Heritage Black Bay.
Now, to be fair and in the interests of full disclosure, the watch I’m talking about was the Heritage Black Bay One. It’s a unique version of the Heritage Black Bay that was produced for the charitable auction, Only Watch.
Tudor Heritage Black Bay One
Tudor of course, is owned by Rolex, which is why if you guessed Rolex, you’re not totally wrong. But these days, Tudor is more like a wholly owned subsidiary than a puppet brand. They make their own calls with respect to design.
And the price paid for the Black Bay One raises some interesting points, don’t you think? Makes you a little curious what’s behind the Black Bay? What’s it’s heritage and so forth? After all, “heritage” is in the name (the watch is part of Tudor’s Heritage line). Well, I’m here to satisfy that curiosity.
Tudor released the Heritage Black Bay in 2012, when they came back to American Shores. As the name implies, it’s a dive watch with a heritage that includes the Tudor Submariner that served the French, Canadian, and US Navies in the 1970s.
But the Black Bay reaches farther back than that, back to the 1950s and Tudor Submariner references 7922, 7923, and 7024, when men were men and dive watches had no crown guards. Indeed, the Black Bay One bears a striking resemblance to the James Bond Rolex Sub, ref. 6538. Tudor’s website states the Black Bay’s crown “is a nod to a model presented in 1958 and dubbed ‘Big Crown’ by collectors.”
The Black Bay currently comes in three flavors – burgundy, icy blue, and most recently, black (I guess black is the new black). The burgundy and icy blue are a hat tip to patinated bezels found on some of the old Tudor Subs. And black of course reflects the original color on those old watches.
Stay tuned to the Everest Journal in the coming weeks. We’re going to be taking a closer look at watches in the Tudor lineup, both past and present.