HANDS ON REVIEW: Tudor Black Bay Ceramic

HANDS ON REVIEW: Tudor Black Bay Ceramic

Tudor Black Bay Ceramic Fade

Over the last decade or so, watch case and bracelet materials have moved pretty far away from the run of the mill steel and precious metals. For a while even wood watches were quite the thing—not sure who thought that was a great idea? Ceramics started to catch popularity with Chanel  in their watch lines about fifteen years ago. Rolex has used ceramics for their bezel inserts on their professional watches, Omega has created a few full ceramic cases and many other brands have given it a go with ceramic also. To be honest, the majority of ceramic watches seemed to really just be a gimmick, until now. The new Tudor Ceramic Black Bay is the real thing.

The Tudor Ceramic looks a lot like the Tudor Only Watch

The recent Tudor Black Bay ceramic design was originally an Only Watch Auction design from 2019 with a few minor design twists. The Only Watch version had all black lume plots and the strap seems to be an alligator strap in black. I see in one picture on WatchesbySJX that the case back was open with a black rotor, but a silver movement. The production version differs with an entirely black movement. Other than that, I do not see many other changes from the pictures on the internet of the prized timepiece that went for 350,000 CHF.

Only Watch Ceramic Tudor Back Bay

Image From Hodinkee's Review of the Tudor Only Watch 

A Recap of Recent Tudor Releases 

The watch was released May 25, 2021, was honestly opened to mixed reviews. I think a lot has to do with the fact that Tudor has released some really off brand designs over the last few years. The all gold Black Bay 58 to me was somewhat of a dud. It is only offered on an alligator strap and you cannot purchase it on a bracelet. The silver Black Bay 58 was cool, but somewhat of a confusing metal choice. The Black Bay P01 frankly should not have come out in this writer’s opinion. But, all has not been lost. The Black Bay 58 in Navy Blue is unreal. The new Tudor Chrono may have been the most impressive watch to come out of Switzerland in 2021 and the Royal is just a great dress watch overall. So with the combination of a unique material choice for Tudor and it being unexpectedly released much after the Watches and Wonders show where Tudor released its new offerings for 2021, most of us including myself felt this may be another watch meme joke on Instagram. We were all wrong.

Crown Side of Tudor Black Bay Ceramic

Image From Tudor's Press Images for the Tudor Black Bay Ceramic 

The Tudor Ceramic watch differs from the Tudor Black Bay 41 in many ways

Size and Comfort

Now that you have heard the history of where the design came from, let's talk about the watch itself. The biggest change over other Tudor Black Bay 41 designs is the overall case thickness. It is quite different. The watch is significantly thinner, the dial seems to be much closer to the crystal, the case back is open and the crown position is much higher on the overall design. These changes make the watch sleeker and far more beautiful then the current variations from a case design. The comfort is instantly noticeable and I am simply not sure why this is not the base case design of the entire collection. It is perfect. The watch in total is 14.4 mm thick, which would make most watch nerds sick to their stomach, but the crystal is quite tall and is about 2.0 mm or more off the edge of the bezel edge giving the watch a very vintage look. The standard Black Bay diving watch is around 15 mm thick and the case profile really makes the watch look hefty. The reduction of the case itself makes this watch feel and look so much better than its predecessor.

The Finishing and Function

Additionally, I really like the finishing of the case. The top of the lugs and the sides of the case are a blasted finish and there is a high polish chamfer. The bezel functions beautifully and the radial brushing on the insert is really a unique feature that I knew could be done in ceramic but I have never seen before. There is an absence of paint in the bezel insert, and at first I was somewhat disappointed that it did not come with it. However, after seeing the watch in person I feel that the full black look of this watch really screams cool. This Tudor is not for every watch collector but really for a buyer who may have a few watches already and wants to dabble in something that really is unique. 

Video From Tudor's YouTube Channel about the new Black Bay Ceramic

The Movement 

The movement inside the watch is something that we should discuss. Over the last few years Tudor has been upping their game by offering watches with their own in-house calibers. Not every Tudor watch has an in-house Tudor designed and manufactured movement. This particular model has the best offering Tudor has right now. With this latest release from Tudor, they took the time to make the movement really incredible looking with beautiful engravings and a blacked out finish. Tudor has decided to offer this watch with METAS certification. This is a newer certification in Switzerland that makes this model a Master Chronometer and is quite a comprehensive overall check of the watch. It is far beyond just the timing of the movement, the watch already must be COSC certified, have a 70-hour power reserve, a water-proofness of 200m, must be resistant to 15,000 gauss of magnetism and must be able to perform well in different temperatures. Quite a lot for a sub $5000 watch.

Dial of Tudor Black Bay Ceramic

Image From Tudor's Press Images for the Tudor Black Bay Ceramic 

The Straps

Moving to the straps offered with the watch. I am a huge fan of the NATO-like fabric strap and have been since they started coming with each Black Bay in 2012. I could give or take the leather/rubber combined strap that is offered with this watch. I may have just preferred it to have a rubber strap and been done. I guess my reasoning is that the finishings and ceramic material of the Tudor Black Bay Ceramic scream rubber, they do not however say much for a leather bracelet. The redeeming black fabric strap with a gold/yellow stripe to accent the lume on the dial and hands is perfectly matched. Again, overall this watch in my opinion is a stunner.

Video From Tudor's YouTube Channel about the METAS Certification process

Final Thoughts on the Tudor Ceramic

In conclusion, if you are looking for a ceramic watch offering today, this should be on the top of your list. It is comfortable, unique, black and overall really cool. The METAS certification is a unique addition but in reality it is the overall package that makes this Tudor offering just so fantastic.

Black Bay Ceramic Tudor from Tudor WebsiteImage From Tudor's Press Images for the Tudor Black Bay Ceramic

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