[VIDEO] A Brief Hands-On with the Tudor Black Bay 41 Monochrome, and the Black Bay Thunderdome, Part II

It’s been a few months since the end of Watches and Wonders, and the world of watches is starting to feel a little bit more normal again. There aren’t dozens of watches fighting for your attention in countless new release articles. What is happening though is many of these watches  are making their way into the hands of enthusiasts and first impressions and #NWAs are starting to trickle out with the best and brightest that Watches and Wonders had to offer. One such beneficiary of these new watches hitting the streets is yours truly. I got a brief hands-on with the new Tudor Black Bay 41 “Monochrome” during a pop in at the W&W HQ, and spent just enough time with it to walk away with a few solid first impressions. 

Tudor DNA Distilled Into A Single Watch

One of the first things I noticed about the BB41 Monochrome is just how Tudor it really is. The snowflake hands pop off the contrasting black dial, the 60-click bezel clicks past markings with an authoritative snap, and polished slab sides make up the bulk of the height of the watch. The dial is clean and easy to read, not a hint of fauxtina in sight. There’s no date, which keeps things super simple. Two lines of text is just the right amount of words to let you know how deep you can dive and that your watch will be very, very accurate (as far as mechanical watches go, at least). Upon closer inspection, the dial features a more interesting finish than it first leads on. It’s satin-finished with a slight sunburst effect underneath, giving the watch a hint of higher finishing while still retaining those tool watch vibes we’re all here for. 

Inside, an in-house MT5602-U movement beats away, running for an impressive 70 hours on a single wind. The watch is METAS certified to 0/+5 seconds per day at two power reserve levels (100% and 33%) in several different positions. The accuracy level is great, especially given the price of the watch. There are three options for the strap, which include a riveted oyster-style three-link stainless steel bracelet, 5 link jubilee, or a high-quality rubber option with metal end links and a T-Fit clasp. 


First Impressions On The Wrist

Although our time together was brief, the BB41 felt great on my 6.75” wrist. The watch measures in at 41mm wide by 13.6mm thick. The dimensions feel right for a modern dive watch. I didn’t feel like the watch was too big at any point, however I did notice that on the rubber strap it did feel a little bit top-heavy. Featuring a pretty strong taper, the strap starts with 21mm metal end links and culminates in a slim Tudor T-Fit clasp. This was my first time playing with a T-Fit and it’s a simple, yet effective method of giving you some breathing room throughout the day. Pull up on the strap and slide it out, and it can fit within one of several indentations that give you more than enough room to find a comfortable fit. 

Exciting Because It’s Not

For me, the BB41 Monochrome has a lot to like, but seemingly not much to talk about. It’s a dive watch, and a damn good representation of one at that. It’s clean, legible, feels solid in hand and on wrist, and can easily fly under the radar. There’s a good mix of satin and polished finishes that never give off “blingy” vibes but do show what Tudor is capable of in the finishing department. I think the BB41 in black is pretty much the perfect Tudor watch for nearly anyone — whether you’re a hardcore collector, general enthusiast, or really just someone who’s kind of interested and wants a nice watch. It’s more rare that Tudor releases a watch that’s plain black and white, which is what makes it an exciting release. Tudor tends to go heavy on gilt accents and accent colors, and it’s refreshing to see something so plain and simple. That’s where the strength of the BB41 comes through the most. It’s got all the right specs, looks the part, should be relatively easy to get your hands on, and is built to last. Which brings me to my next point…

Is This The New Workingman’s Submariner?

There is no shortage of opinions on what Rolex is doing currently vs. where they were in the past. One thing that’s hard to avoid thinking is that this watch picks up where Rolex left off. The days where you could stroll into a watch shop and snag a Submariner at or below retail are long gone. With the MSRP of the Sub pushing five figures and the second hand market showing little sign of crashing, the Submariner has moved from attainable goal watch to out of reach for many of us. I’m still a strong believer in “buy once, cry once” and saving up for the thing you really want. If you want the Sub, keep saving and maybe move a few more pieces in the collection to make room. The new Black Bay does make that decision a little bit harder though, coming in at half the price (it tops out at $4,550 on the five-link bracelet) with many of the same specs and a similar aesthetic. The Tudor BB41 Monochrome is in a lot of ways the new no-date Sub. Sure, it’s from Rolex’s sister brand, but it represents what the Submariner used to represent. The best version of a tool diver with a hint of luxury that isn’t outside the realm of attainability for many. 

I hope to spend more time with the Tudor Black Bay 41 Monochrome in the future. I have a feeling this is going to be one of those slow-burn kind of watches for me. I’m already thinking about what I could move along in my collection to help justify one. Never a good sign. Next step – Watchrecon alert and if that happens, we all know what comes after… Tudor

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Ed is a Long Island-based writer and photographer with an affinity for watches, fountain pens, EDC gear, and a great cup of coffee. He’s always looking for the best gear for the job—whether it be new watch, pen, flashlight, knife, or wallet. Ed enjoys writing because it’s an awesome (and fulfilling) way to interact with those who share the same interests.