Lost in the furor of the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Bronze, a strapping good looking 43mm timepiece if there ever was one, was the quiet new little brother of the Black Bay line, the Heritage Black Bay 36. Part Rolex Explorer, part Tudor snowflake Sub, and yes, part Heritage Black Bay with its unique crown and crown insert, the BB36 stakes out its own territory as an understated sports / business casual watch.
The proportions of the Black Bay line are there, but obviously altered to accommodate the size while keeping the look. No rose gold hands or hour markers here. All are stainless steel, contrasting to perfection with the black dial and minimalist dial printing.
The combination of brushed and polished steel on the case and bracelet is a detail you don’t notice – until you notice that said detail really makes the entire look of the watch. The crown is screwed down, helping to keep the innards dry to 150 meters. Yes you could snorkel or (gasp!) SCUBA dive with the piece if you wanted to, but the BB36 is not a diver (though the dial offers a conflicting opinion).
The engine protected thusly is the ubiquitous ETA 2824, tuned by Tudor’s watchmakers, with a power reserve of about 38 hours.
A sapphire crystal and your choice of the aforementioned steel bracelet, or aged leather or camouflage fabric straps complete the package.
At 36mm, does the BB36 represent a new trend toward smaller watches?
Who knows, but it’s interesting to note that IWC presented a 36mm Pilot watch and Blancpain showed a limited edition 38mm Bathyscaphe at Basel this year. This follows Rolex’s downsizing of the next generation Day-Date by a millimeter (41mm to 40mm) last year, along with a whole series of sub-40mm Oyster Perpetuals.