Tudor was created and designed to be a less expensive Rolex from its inception in 1946. And most of the time, it is just that. But what happens when a Tudor model starts to creep up to those prices of its bigger sister (grey market that is). Is it justified? Today, we’re going to take a look at the Tudor Black Bay Harrods.
When Tudor brought in the Heritage Black Bay in 2012, it was an instant hit. They managed not only to bring back the aesthetic of one particular diver but rather bring back the spirit of past Tudor as a whole. It is also most likely to blame for resurrecting Tudor and bringing them into the spotlight again. In 2016 Tudor accompanied an in-house movement to their Black Bay line that made fans even happier. The new MT5602 was COSC certified, and it had enough power reserve for you to leave it in the safe on Friday and pick it back up Monday morning with it still ticking away.
Read why we love the Tudor Black Bay line here.
With colors available in red with gilt, blue bezel no gilt, and the black bezel red triangle version, there was plenty to choose from. With the change from ETA to In-House, the ETA aka “Smiley” versions that featured the signature rose on the dial, had suddenly become slightly more popular and were trending for a little higher on the grey/used market. This is the first time we see what the power of Tudor had on the market. Rolex isn’t the only one who has a huge fan club.
Between 2012, when the Tudor BB was first released and 2017, something was happening in the market. We were seeing major climbs in prices with Rolex. With the discontinuation of the Rolex Kermit in 2010, Rolex quickly brought on the “Hulk” to help satisfy those green lovers. But the Hulk was so “in your face” and wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. In comes the green Tudor Black Bay Harrods in 2017. The watch was to only be sold through London’s most famous department store, Harrods. The watch isn’t a limited edition but limited in production. Tudor and Rolex fans alike immediately went crazy for it. Because the watch was only obtainable through Harrods Fine Watch Room in London, it meant getting a hold of one was difficult, not impossible but certainly not easy. Especially if you live across the globe. Priced at around €3200 there wasn’t a markup on this edition from the other Black Bays. You simply just had to go over there to get it. And therein lies the problem.
There’s not much difference in the Harrods Black Bay compared to its Heritage brothers and sisters. The bezel is an olive shade of green matching that of the Harrods retailer and the tip of the second hand is green as well. There is a special engraving on the back of the watch and on the dial, you will notice that feet read first rather than meters to reflect on the British aspect of the watch. Other than those things, everything else is the same. As of the time of this article, you can still get your name down at Harrods to purchase one. Although, word has it the wait list is 7-10 months long and talk of discontinuation has swirled for the past year. This is perhaps why grey market prices have increased so much over the last year.
With the new 2020 releases a few weeks ago from Rolex, we saw a new green “Starbucks” Sub in town and the discontinuation of the Rolex “Hulk”. For some reason, the prices on the Harrods Tudor Black Bay also majorly increased, they are now trending at almost 2x the retail price. Is the Harrods Tudor Black Bay too hyped?
For me as someone living in the US and cannot travel into the U.K. at the moment, I’d say if you really want one, you’d have better buy one now before they are officially no longer available. Sure, they’re hard to get now but when they are officially off the market, I can see prices skyrocketing just like the Rolex Kermit and Hulk Sub did. Is it justified? No, but in the luxury watch world, rarely anything is.
I wonder if this is a sign of the times that Tudor is becoming closer to Rolex than we watch consumers would like. After all, most people have to get their names on a list to get a hold of the new Black Bay 58’s. The original 58 mind you, came out a few years ago and people still have to wait to retrieve one. (read our thoughts on the BB58 here) No doubt, the Harrods filled a void for a lot of people who loved the Rolex Kermit but couldn’t afford the mark up. With Rolex’s new green “Starbucks” Submariner, the Sub and Black Bay now share the same 41mm size. One could argue the Harrods is still much more subtle in nature and remains vintage inspired unlike the more modern Submariner.
Tudor was meant to be the “poor man’s Rolex,” but we’re not seeing that too much these days. The watches are no doubt of stellar quality but will this deter fans and customers away from the brand? We think they’re still a more affordable way into high quality luxury watches but the grey market has gone a little crazy with some. The Harrods is just stunning and so different from anything else. But is it worth 2-3 times its MSRP? Well….that’s a tough one to answer, but we lean on the side of no. With the new Submariners available at $9550, you may be better off saving for a Sub. It’ll be interesting to see where the Harrods Black Bay goes and what other collaborations Tudor has in mind. We in the U.S. wouldn't mind seeing a Tiffany’s Edition Black Bay in the future, right?
Have a Tudor Black Bay you want to preserve as much as you can? Look into swapping your bracelet out for one of our Everest Curved Ended Rubber or Leather Straps designed to fit perfectly with the Black Bay line. Click here.
Written by K.T. Morales