Heavy metal

Tudor updates an award-winning timepiece to make it even more a ractive and versatile than before The previous iteration of the Black Bay Bronze, introduced in 2016


AS A MATERIAL, bronze looks set to stay, especially when used in sports watches.

Case in point: this supplement alone has three timepieces that are cased in bronze. The alloy is a versatile one, as it acquires different properties depending on its exact compositio­n. Bronze can be made sonorous and casted into bells, for example, or formulated for low friction and made into machine bearings. Other variants are corrosion resistant, which make them suitable for marine applicatio­ns ‒ or as watch cases.

Bronze’s viability (and success) as a case material can be credited to Tudor. The brand wasn’t the first to have used bronze for a watch case, but the Black Bay Bronze that it released in 2016 marked a paradigm shift when it won the “Petite Aiguille” prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève that same year.

The Black Bay Bronze here is an iteration of the original from 2016, but comes in a new colourway that features a slate grey dial and bezel. The former has a subtle gradation that darkens towards the edges to create depth and, by extension, visual interest. The usage of grey here makes the watch significan­tly more versatile, unlike the original’s brown hues that may be too “warm” for some wearers.

Colours aside, Tudor has kept the Black Bay Bronze’s winning formula unchanged, including the aluminium-laced bronze alloy, which appears to be the material de rigueur for bronze in watchmakin­g today. This variant acquires a warmer, brownish patina over time, instead of the green that eventually develops in common bronze alloys a la New York City’s Statue of Liberty. Here, the watch’s case is entirely satin brushed to allow it to develop a uniform patina that will be unique to each watch. Its case back, however, is rendered in steel with a bronze-coloured coating to minimise any risk of skin allergies.

As a vintage-inspired timepiece, the Black Bay Bronze is an amalgam of various early Tudor dive watches. Its general design, for instance, is inspired by Tudor dive watches from the 1950s, while the dial’s angular “snowflake” hands first appeared in 1969. No detail is overlooked: the drilled-through lugs are a feature found in first generation Tudor dive watches.

The Black Bay Bronze is powered by Tudor’s in-house, COSC-certified MT5601 movement. It bears a non-magnetic silicon hairspring, and has a long-ish power reserve of 70 hours. The watch is priced at $5,544.

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