Tudor announced its third-generation Black Bay dive watch at Watches and Wonders 2023 in March.
Representing the latest evolution of Tudor’s Black Bay line, the new model has a redesigned case, a flatter crown, a new Metas Chronometer-certified in-house movement, and two choices of bracelets, plus a rubber strap option.
After the original Black Bay was launched in 2012, it was subsequently upgraded with an in-house caliber in 2016, and now, for 2023, Tudor’s top-selling collection has been fully revamped. The Black Bay (Ref. M7941A1A0RU) comes in a stainless steel case, with a 60-minute unidirectional dive bezel with a burgundy anodized aluminum insert. Tudor states that “the case keeps the original proportions of a 41 mm in diameter case with a thinner profile,” however we’ve not received a confirmation of the thickness of the case from Tudor.
Long gone is the color-matched anodized aluminum crown tube, which has been replaced with a redesigned stainless steel crown that’s flatter and has an embossed Tudor rose — which together give the watch a truer vintage vibe.
The black “satin radial-brushed” dial with gilt accents is largely the same as past Black Bay models, as are the Snowflake hands, which date back to 1969 Tudor Submariner references, though the center seconds hand now has a lollipop tip as opposed to a triangular Snowflake-shaped aesthetic. A boxy domed sapphire crystal protects the dial, like in past models.
With this third-generation Black Bay model, Tudor adds a five-link Jubilee-style bracelet to the excellent three-link rivet-style bracelet, or you can choose a rubber strap, all of which feature Tudor’s “T-fit” rapid adjustment clasp system which has 5 positions for a total of 8 mm sizing. Similar to parent company Rolex’s clasp, this one features ceramic ball bearings that ensure a smooth and secure closure.
A black rubber strap option is also available for the Black Bay. The strap comes in three sizes and a Tudor “T-fit” clasp, plus it’s able to be cut down to the exact size of the wearer’s wrist. On the inside, it features the signature snowflake motif for added grip, and it is form-fitted specifically for the Black Bay, similar to Rolex’s rubber straps. The Nato-style and textile straps of the past are no longer offered for this collection.
Tudor’s new caliber MT5602-U has a bidirectional rotor system that winds the mainspring in both directions for quicker replenishment of the 70-hour maximum power reserve. Upscale features such as a non-magnetic silicon balance spring, traversing balance bridge (with two-point anchoring), and free-sprung balance system ensure that this movement will pass Master Chronometer Certification from METAS.
Machined sun laser decorations on the movement keep the industrial Tudor/Rolex look. Its rotor is fashioned in tungsten monobloc and is openworked. It also features the distinctive laser radial grooving with sand-blasted details. Its bridges and mainplate have alternate sand-blasted and polished surfaces and laser decorations.
Once fully assembled the caliber MT5602-U is accurate to 0/-5 seconds per day. Unlike COSC certification, the enhanced Metas certification also guarantees the timekeeping accuracy of a watch subjected to magnetic fields of 15,000 gausses. It also guarantees that the waterproof capability claimed by the manufacturer conforms with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard 22810:2010, as does the power reserve of each Master Chronometer watch. Each watch is tested for precision at two temperatures, in six different positions, and at two different levels of power reserve: 100% and 33%.
Now more aluminum crown tubes or Nato-style straps, the Black Bay has grown up. The 2023 Black Bay (Ref. M7941A1A0RU-0001) – 3-link rivet-style bracelet retails for $4,350, and the (Ref. M7941A1A0RU-0002) – with a rubber strap, retails for $4,150, and the (Ref. M7941A1A0RU-0003) – Jubilee-style bracelet retails for $4,450.
Photos by Tudor.