Tudor added a new bronze model to its Her­itage Black Bay col­lec­tion in 2016. Like its pre­de­ces­sors, this dive watch dips into its his­tory with a ma­te­rial that ap­peals to con­tem­po­rary tastes.


By Martina Richter and Mark Bernardo | Tudor added a new bronze model to its Her­itage Black Bay col­lec­tion in 2016. Like its pre­de­ces­sors, this dive watch dips into its his­tory with a ma­te­rial that ap­peals to con­tem­po­rary tastes.

The 43-mm bronze case of the Tudor Her­itage Black Bay makes aes­thetic ref­er­ence to a ma­te­rial that was once used for ships and div­ing equip­ment. But the alu­minum and cop­per al­loy used for its case is not ex­actly like the his­tor­i­cal ma­te­rial, since bronze is gen­er­ally a tin-bronze al­loy. The alu­minum bronze used here is a prod­uct of mod­ern met­al­lurgy: Tudor calls it a “high-per­for­mance al­loy.” And it still de­vel­ops a patina over time that gives it an in­di­vid­ual look – a pri­mary rea­son for cre­at­ing a bronze-cased watch in the first place.

High per­for­mance is ex­actly what this Tudor’s case of­fers. Brushed fin­ishes over­all make it vir­tu­ally non­re­flec­tive, and wa­ter re­sis­tance to 200 me­ters makes it suit­able for div­ing. The case­back is threaded and is made of bronze-tone Pvd-coated stain­less steel. On the front, a uni­di­rec­tional dive bezel of an­odized alu­minum with golden nu­mer­als and line mark­ers com­pletes the en­sem­ble. Deep grooves make the bezel easy to grasp. It can be de­pressed slightly, but even with­out the spring-loaded sus­pen­sion, it’s easy to turn, and it ex­hibits per­fect tac­tile

and acous­tic clicks set in one-minute in­cre­ments.

While the bezel is a new de­vel­op­ment at Tudor, other de­sign el­e­ments take their cues from the brand’s his­tory, like the con­tin­u­ous drilled holes on the lugs and their dis­tinc­tive slop­ing edges, and the fa­mous Ref­er­ence 7924 “Big Crown” from 1958 with its rose en­grav­ing from the early Tudor em­blem. The large crown is eas­ily re­leased from its se­curely locked po­si­tion, and the man­ual wind­ing, hand set­ting and re-con­nec­tion lock in a sturdy tube.

THE TUDOR’S DIAL, whose color co­or­di­nates well with the bronze tones of the watch, as well as the dra­mat­i­cally domed front crys­tal, were mod­eled after the first Tudor dive watches. Both strongly re­in­force the retro feel­ing of this watch. The time is al­ways very easy to read be­hind the anti-glare sap­phire crys­tal. Dur­ing day­light, the nu­mer­als, line mark­ers and

strik­ing “snowflake” hands ap­pear beige, while at night, ev­ery­thing glows a deep, sat­u­rated green. The snowflake hands orig­i­nated on watches that were sup­plied to the French Navy in the 1970s: it can be said that func­tion­al­ity is this watch’s mil­i­tary duty. The hands are easy to dis­tin­guish and, there­fore, per­fect for div­ing. The long, slim min­utes hand co­or­di­nates well with the divers’ bezel, and the glow­ing di­a­mond shape on the end of the sec­onds hand serves as a func­tion check when vis­i­bil­ity is not op­ti­mal. As it makes its way around the dial, trac­ing its way along the hour mark­ers, the pre­cisely en­gi­neered de­sign – like the di­a­mond in the hour hand or the length of the min­utes hand – re­veals its im­por­tance. It is mas­ter­ful ge­om­e­try in the ser­vice of time mea­sure­ment.

The Her­itage Black Bay Bronze is the ben­e­fi­ciary of Tudor’s in-house Cal­iber MT5601. This move­ment has a larger di­am­e­ter and is a vari­a­tion es­pe­cially de­vel­oped for this Her­itage model.

The move­ment mea­sures 33.8 mm in di­am­e­ter (in con­trast to the 31.8 mm of the Cal­iber MT5602, Tudor’s first in-house move­ment, which was de­vel­oped for the Her­itage Black Bay and the

Her­itage Black Bay Dark mod­els) and 6.5 mm high, so it’s no small thing and hints at the sta­bil­ity of the struc­tures be­neath. This is essen­tial due to the forces ex­erted from the bar­rel to make a power re­serve of 70 hours pos­si­ble.

THE BAL­ANCE IS sup­ported se­curely be­neath a bridge. It vi­brates at a rate of 4 Hz with a vari­able mo­ment of in­er­tia and a sil­i­con hair­spring. A bal­ance screw is pro­vided for fine reg­u­la­tion and at a level that earns it a chronome­ter rat­ing – the MT5601 was awarded a Cosc-cer­ti­fied chronome­ter cer­tifi­cate. The Her­itage Black Bay Bronze showed bal­anced rate re­sults on our tim­ing ma­chine – in the var­i­ous po­si­tions as well as over the di­min­ish­ing power re­serve. On the wrist, the re­sults were even bet­ter: a gain of not quite 2 sec­onds per day.

For daily wear, the Her­itage Black Bay Bronze can be fas­tened to the wrist with a dis­tressed leather strap. Its rough style and an­gu­lar pronged bronze buckle pro­vide a rus­tic look and a se­cure and com­fort­able fit. The watch also comes with an ad­di­tional green-and-beige fab­ric strap that is a clever nod to the sailors of the French Navy who – when they re­ceived sup­plies of strap­less Tudor watches in the 1970s – crafted unique, mostly hand­made straps to at­tach the case to the wrist. One of these vin­tage straps was an elas­tic band from a para­chute that had a dis­tinc­tive yel­low stripe run­ning down its cen­ter. This was the de­scen­dent of our test watch’s tex­tile strap.

Although the tex­tile strap on our test watch wasn’t elas­tic, we thought per­haps it should have been to al­low for vari­able ad­just­ment while div­ing. The strap ex­ten­sion within the pronged buckle (also made of bronze) is dif­fi­cult to use. Oth­er­wise, there is hardly any­thing to com­plain about on this dive watch, ex­cept maybe the lack of a date dis­play.

The en­graved rose on the screw-down crown is from the early Tudor em­blem and the “snowflake” hands can be traced back to the 1970s.

The ab­bre­vi­a­tion “MT” in the cal­iber name “MT5601” in­di­cates its high man­u­fac­ture qual­ity. The sturdy Tudor Cal­iber MT5601 re­mains hid­den be­hind a solid threaded case­back.

The Her­itage Black Bay Bronze comes with both a leather strap and a tex­tile strap.

This dive watch is wa­ter re­sis­tant to 200 me­ters and is easy to read un­der all light con­di­tions.

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