It seems like only yesterday. But it has been three years since I purchased my Tudor Black Bay Steel and Gold. Released in the spring of 2017 at Baselworld, mine came to me in July of that year when they began to trickle in through Tudor’s North American dealer network.
Like any new piece, I wore the Black Bay almost all the time in the beginning. Then, as the days passed I was not so neglectful of my other pieces. As time has gone on I have worn it more often, not less. The Black Bay is a fit for bold dress jackets, shorts and short sleeves on a summer day. And dare I say it, even cutting the grass. That’s how much I love it.
It was my first serious timepiece and now has a familiarity about it that I don’t have with my other watches. I’ve worn it so much. How could it possibly be only three years?
To those considering buying the Tudor Black Bay Steel and Gold, here is what I think about it after three years. It wears fairly large at 41mm in diameter and a hefty 15mm thick compared to the Rolex Submariners 40mm diameter and 13mm thickness. Also, not to mention the 22mm Tudor lug width compared to the Rolex 20mm lugs. With the current trend toward smaller watches, a good choice would be the successful Black Bay 58, making it something to take into account if two-tone isn’t your thing.
Black Bay 58 comparison
I think proportionally the Black Bay 58 is outstanding and strikes the prefect balance between modern and vintage dimensions at 39mm diameter and 12mm thick with a 20mm lug width. Although a later release and not available at the time of my Tudor Black Bay purchase I still would stick with my choice. I prefer the slightly bolder dimensions and of course the two-tone attitude.
Tudor Black Bay Steel and Gold
The key things that drew me to the Tudor Black Bay Steel and Gold were the brushed and slightly vintage tone of the gold elements. Plus there’s the overall balance of the black, gold and steel overall, and the coin edge bezel. I also like the lack of crown guards, the black etched rose on the gold crown, and the black crown tube. And the brushed surfaces and bracelet links with the contrasting polished sides always catch my eye.
Design well executed
I found this look more appealing than the two-tone Rolex GMT Master II I was also considering at the time, with its polished gold centre links. The Tudor Black Bay GMT released the following year missed the thoughtful details of the S&G, in my opinion. Details like the sharply defined and black painted rose on the gold crown of the S&G instead of the all steel “soft embossed” look of the rose on the GMT crown is a case in point.
There has always seemed to be, for me, an innate balance to the Tudor Black Bay S&G. It’s a design well executed, from inception to physical form, with clear intention.
Tudor Black Bay 58
Full disclosure: 18 months later I purchased a Datejust 41, dark rodium dial, in Rolesor (Steel with some white gold elements) fluted bezel and jubilee bracelet. It has, for me, created a very versatile two watch “luxury” collection, augmented by some entry level pieces, both new and vintage. Still, for that initial 18 months that saw the Tudor as the pinnacle of my collection, it has never lost its lustre.
After buying my first Rolex and having another 18 months with both, the Tudor Black Bay Steel and Gold is still holding its own.
(Knar Jewellery in Oakville provides watches for these reviews. Colin Potts is founder of Watch off the Cuff, a watch repair service based in Milton, Ontario, and a member of the Horology Society of New York in support of advancing the art and science of horology.)