2020 will forever go down in history for more reasons than any of us can count, and if we’re being honest, who really wants to remember all of the events that made it so tumultuous. Much like the rest of the world, the watch industry seemed to be in a bit of a standstill last year. Sure, we saw a few brands debut watches early in the year, but with in person events cancelled and brands scrambling to put together digital platforms there was a noticeable lack of energy and excitement. Some companies trickled down smaller releases and others played it safe by not launching any new novelties. In fact, there were strong rumors that some of the most major brands like Tudor, Patek, and Rolex were not going to release any new models in 2020.
We were well in the midst of handling the pandemic, summer was in full swing but had essentially been cancelled, and we assumed watches were going to meet the same fate. Then out of nowhere, rumors of a secret launch from Tudor began circling the web. Forums, Facebook groups, Instagram, and even our own Everest Journal were flooded with speculation, all pointing to a blue Black Bay. We were skeptical! Well, I can say I was definitely skeptical.
After all, do you remember 2019? Tudor had us all believing that a new Black Bay was coming, posting teasers featuring a dive watch all over Instagram for weeks prior to Baselworld. What did we get instead, the P01 (yes technically a Black Bay, but definitely not the one we had anticipated). As it was perfectly written here, “The Tudor Black Bay P01 was possibly the most shocking and divisive release of the entire show, and almost everyone has a strong opinion on the watch”. It was possibly the biggest, “you shouldn’t even bother to guess because you really have no idea what’s coming” moment in the watch world and taught us just how little we all knew.
2019’s Tudor P01 (Image Credit)
Maybe it was the lack of excitement from new watch releases or the increase of boredom many of us experienced while working from home, but this time it felt different. There was a fresh hope and flurry of excitement that hadn’t been experienced in some time, and the speculation only increased once leaked photos from an AD started circling the web. The image quality was terrible, but in that watch coffin floating around the internet was most certainly a blue dial, blue bezel Black Bay 58.
Tudor officially announced the Black Bay Navy Blue just a few days later and the waitlists started immediately. Every AD was sold out and secondary market prices soared. Almost a year later and it’s still not the easiest watch to find in a dealer showcase when you walk up. That being said, the dust has settled and it’s definitely attainable. While Tudor has had a hard time stepping out of the “Rolex shadow”, the Black Bay Blue had finally given the brand more credibility amongst watch collectors than ever before.
With Watches and Wonders right around the corner, can Tudor do it again? Can the brand with its own rich history and heritage finally stand out as their own brand without the all too easy “Rolex sibling” comparison? The rumors are already starting...green bezel Black Bay and bringing back the Ranger collection among so many others. Maybe a Black Bay with a date? Unlike many of their counterparts, Tudor keeps their lips pretty sealed when it comes to new releases. And I’m sure any hints that dealers would have had before have all but been eliminated after last year’s leaks so we may just have to wait until Watches and Wonders to know for certain what the brand has in store for us. Will they keep up the hype? Or will Tudor get lost among the dozens of other watches being launched at the same time?
They say lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice. Personally, I’m hoping Tudor is the exception and finds a way to shock the watch world once again (maybe in a more positive way than the P01 did).
Looking to enhance your current Tudor collection in the meantime? We've got you covered with a variety of Swiss-Made straps, watch rolls, pouches, tools, and accessories.
By: K. Wells