Introducing the Tudor Black Bay Chronograph with new MT5813 Caliber

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It’s that time of year again! Basel is in full swing, and every watchmaker worth their salt is displaying new and exciting concepts for 2017. Few manufacturers this year, though, are making as many waves as Tudor. So far they’ve unveiled a slew of new additions to the Heritage Black Bay line, including a 41mm version of the Black Bay 36, a steel-bezeled Black Bay three-hander, and this- the Black Bay Chrono. Not only is it a handsome addition to the ever-expanding Black Bay lineup, this new piece also spells out a surprising new turn for the Tudor brand.

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Shown on the Denim-style woven strap

While the case shares some similarities to Tudor’s Heritage Chrono, such as the bezel and lug shapes, the new Black Bay Chrono downsizes to a more manageable 41mm. In addition, the Black Bay Chrono adds a fixed stainless steel tachymeter bezel and classic Tudor/Rolex fluted screw-down pushers. The overall effect is extremely reminiscent of the classic Tudor Big Block 79180, right down to the 41mm diameter.

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45-minute counter, dating back to the Tudor 7149 Chrono

The dial design, however, is brand-new for the Black Bay Chrono, and while it represents and odd mishmash of styles on paper (especially when paired with the pure Tudor racing chrono case) it comes together to form an attractive whole. The Black Bay Chrono retains the standard Black Bay’s traditional applied diver indices (with removals at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock for the chrono subdials and date window), but subtly alters the iconic Tudor “snowflake” handset to work more easily with the new chronograph format. Most prominently, the hours hand has been noticeably slimmed down, ensuring the chronograph registers are always visible and easy to read.

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The subdials themselves include a running seconds and 45 minute register at 9 and 3 o’clock, respectively. While not on a separate dial layer, these subdials are slightly bowl-shaped, adding a touch of depth and visual dynamism to an already interesting dial surface. That surface, a matte black with a slightly grainy texture, adds to the sporting feel of the dial while giving a touch of subtle play in the light. The dial text injects some extra diver DNA to the piece, stating the 200 meter depth rating in classic Rolex diver red above the clean date window at 6.

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The new MT5813, made in partnership with Breitling

While the Black Bay Chrono is certainly an attractive one to looks at, it’s what’s inside this new piece that makes it truly special. At the heart of the Black Bay Chrono sits the new MT5813 automatic chronograph movement, making its debut here in this watch. The MT5813’s spec sheet reads like a checklist for the serious chrono enthusiast: column wheel, vertical clutch, silicon hairspring and a smooth 28,800 bph frequency. Considering Tudor’s other heritage chronograph offering packs an ETA movement with an attached chronograph module, the MT5813 would be big news for Tudor on its own even without its pedigree.

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At 41mm, the chrono is a modern size that fits well

That pedigree is what really makes the Black Bay Chrono fascinating. In a surprising move, the Tudor MT5813 has been designed in conjunction with Breitling. The new movement is designed and manufactured completely in-house by Breitling specifically for the Black Bay Chrono, using Breitling’s top-of-the-line B01 chronograph movement as a template before adding new regulating parts, hairspring and finishes. In exchange, Breitling will adapt its own version of the Tudor MT5612 with new oscillating weight, springs, regulation and finish as the Breitling B20. This could be a major turning point for both manufacturers, as a chance for Tudor to move more upscale with serious horological credentials and a potential boost to a Breitling brand that, for the moment at least, appears to be struggling.

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The polished bevels make the watch

At an announced price of $4,725, the Tudor Black Bay Chrono packs an impressive amount of design, quality, and horological significance into a package that’s sure to be popular when it goes on sale in the near future.

For more info, check out the Tudor Black Bay Chronograph at tudorwatch.com

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Hailing from Redondo Beach, California, Sean’s passion for design and all things mechanical started at birth. Having grown up at race tracks, hot rod shops and car shows, he brings old-school motoring style and a lifestyle bent to his mostly vintage watch collection.
seanpaullorentzen
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  • johnwithanh

    Woulda liked a red tip on the chrono seconds hand to tie in w/ the text and also help it stand out a little more from the black dial. Not a deal-breaker by any stretch of the imagination though.

    • Tronna-ON

      Red would actually stand out less against black than white would. There are so many other ways in which this watch is terribly designed, though.

      • Matthew Rowe

        I would have liked to see a rotating bezel in place of the tachymeter.

  • chenpofu

    how thick is this watch?

  • djacob

    12 hour bezel, please! that would make this watch far more useful, and one that I would definitely buy. The tachymeter is much less useful… how many of us are really using our watch to calculate speed or distance? I’m sure many more people would appreciate a second time zone via a 2 hour rotating bezel.. I know I would. A GMT complication is more difficult to use, and not necessary for travel across/within north America. So the 12 hour bezel is really a great solution. I wish more watches were equipped with them.

  • A rare misstep as of late from Tudor. While the snowflake handset on the Black Bay collection works perfectly, it’s out of place on a chrono. White or silver subdials, a matching color date window and a different handset would have been another knock out of the park for Tudor.

    • chesirecat77

      I share your view on the hands – the watch does not seem to know what it wants to be: a diver chrono, a racing chrono … While I’m fine with the current subdials, I don’t agree on the matching color date disk: currently the date window plays the role of the marker at 6.

  • dbw

    I’m looking forward to seeing one of these in person. Looks interesting.

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