The Tudor Black Bay 'Monochrome': Simply a Winner (Live Pics)

The Tudor Black Bay 'Monochrome': Simply a Winner (Live Pics)

Last year Tudor completely overhauled the Black Bay. In addition to the its new movement and METAS certification (more on that later), the new Black Bay introduced a slimmer case with improved finishing and ditched the coin-edged bezel, coin-edged crown, and color-matched crown tube. I’m frankly just scratching the surface – this was a true overhaul of the model. The new mechanical and aesthetic take on their Heritage Black Bay (2012) made me so excited that I went out and bought one immediately. I absolutely love it. However, Tudor restricted this overhaul to just one colorway: the gilt-dial, burgundy-bezel version, leaving behind last generation's all-black and blue-bezeled references we’ve grown to love. To me, and many others I spoke to at last year's Watches and Wonders, this was somewhat of a let down. Good news, spirits are about to be lifted.

Approaching Watches and Wonders 2024, Everest predicted that Tudor would add to the updated Black Bay lineup with two variations: one all-black and one with a blue bezel and black dial. We were 50% right with this prediction. Tudor graced us with an all-black Black Bay (nicknamed the ‘Monochrome’) but not the blue-bezeled version we dreamed of. I just checked Tudor’s website and I see that the blue bezel is still available in the old variation (along with a lot of steel and gold variations). As time progresses, we will likely see this existing model (and maybe more) join the redesigned METAS-certified family, but for now, we have just two colorways that have seen the shift.

Tudor’s Adoption of METAS Certification

Tudor METAS certification

Image Source: Tudor

One thing to note is that Tudor has drastically upped their game with their latest releases. Tudor, like Rolex, emphasizes mechanical accuracy and reliability, primarily via certifying bodies like COSC. COSC is a Swiss organization that times and tests uncased watch movements, ensuring they meet a stringent set of guidelines that define a Swiss-made chronometer (accuracy measured across various conditions). Recently, Tudor has also adopted METAS certification with their new Black Bays. METAS ‘Master Chronometer’ certification brings a comprehensive suite of testing, not just with the movement, but with the fully-cased watch. It ensures that the watch is water resistant at or beyond its listed rating, has a power reserve at or beyond its listed rating, is accurate within 0/+5 seconds per day, and is resistant to magnetic fields. This is something that only a few watch brands are doing; it shows that Tudor is going the extra mile on its watches, and what better place to start than their core Black Bay line? 

Tudor Black Bay Monochrome

Tudor Black Bay Monochrome

Digging into the aesthetics of the Black Bay Monochrome, the watch is available in three bracelet options: a five-link variation similar to a Rolex Jubilee bracelet, a rubber strap with integrated steel endlinks, and a classic three-link Oyster-style bracelet with faux-riveted links. All three bracelets utilize Tudor’s adjustable T-fit clasp (which is awesome). 

The dial and bezel are monochromatic, hence the nickname Black Bay ‘Monochrome’. The dial features a semi-matte black sunray finish and the bezel looks to be entirely matte with silver numerals. The dial and bezel do not have the heritage-inspired gilt accents of the burgundy-bezeled version, presenting as a definitively-modern watch. (It definitely throws Rolex 14060 vibes). Because of its simple presentation of historical design elements, this no-date diver is frankly a classic, appealing to a broader market than both the burgundy bezel Black Bay and the previous generations of Black Bay. Keen observers may wonder why the ‘Monochrome’ has done away with gilt accents; they've been integral to Tudor’s heritage-inspired revival. While I understand that perspective (and felt it myself at first), it’s important to realize that it’s in Tudor’s best interest to shift this collection a bit more agreeable and mainstream. In this writer’s opinion, the Monochrome does exactly that.

Tudor Black Bay Monochrome Clasp

With Rolex watches being so difficult to obtain at retail, especially the Submariner and GMT-Master II, I personally find it refreshing that Tudor aims to occupy that void in the market. They allow those with moderate budgets to have all the bells and whistles of a modern Rolex with a bit of a unique twist and some serious history to boot. I see the ‘Monochrome’ as a go-to recommendation for anyone seeking an understated, accurate, durable mechanical watch. This is, in many ways, the embodiment of Tudor’s modern refresh – the new-and-improved Black Bay in its simplest, monochromatic form.

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