Tudor celebrates over 60 years of history as it continues to challenge the boundaries of form, function and design with its divers’ watch

When Tudor’s first divers’ watch saw the light of day in 1954, little did the world’s collectors know that the Swiss watchmaker had begun to forge a legend that would span over six decades, and counting. Known for its exceptional durability, legibility, accuracy and waterproofness, the self-winding Tudor Oyster Prince Submariner reference 7922 soon made its way onto the wrists of professional divers. It was only four years later that reference 7924 staged its grand appearance. Renamed “Big Crown”, in allusion to its 8mm winding crown, the model took waterproofness to a new level with a maximum immersion depth of 200m — double that of its predecessor, and made possible with a thicker 37mm diameter Submariner case installed with Tropic-type Plexiglas crystal for greater resistance against pressure.

Yet another landmark year was 1969 when the Tudor Submariner line launched dials with square hour markers and matching “snowflake” hands. These design features were to remain in the brand’s catalogue until 1981. From then on until 1999, the diving watch saw more than 20 different references with numerous variations, including the introduction of innovations such as sapphire crystals and directional bezels with notching.

A new icon was established in the Tudor Submariner line with the emergence of the Heritage Black Bay series in 2012. Drawing its most defining features from some of the most outstanding models in the brand’s history, each Heritage Black Bay watch sports a prominent winding crown in a throwback to the 7924 reference, while its angular snowflake hand replicates those in the Tudor watches used by the French Navy in the 1970s.

Four new models were unveiled at Baselworld 2017 to usher in even more firsts for the Black Bay family this year. Tudor has taken a plunge into the deep unknown with novel iterations of the timepiece while retaining its hallmark characteristics.

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Save the date
The Heritage Black Bay is presented in an all-steel version with a brushed steel bezel insert and the Manufacture Calibre MT5612. The Heritage Black Bay Steel is the first model in the Black Bay family to sport a date function, and the line of red text on the dial to highlight the maximum guaranteed water resistance is also said to be a rarity that only appears on certain 7923 references from 1955. Featuring a circular satin-brushed rotating steel bezel, this timepiece retains the Black Bay’s characteristic lines and proportions while remaining true to the brand’s divers’ watch heritage.

Right on track
The hybrid Heritage Black Bay Chrono chronograph combines the Black Bay family’s aquatic heritage with a 70-hour power reserve Manufacture Calibre MT5813 that features a column wheel mechanism and vertical clutch. Its hollowed sub-counters, snowflake hour hand and a date aperture at six o’clock offer optimum readability against a domed matteblack dial. These are framed by a 41mm steel case, which has been fitted with pushers inspired by first-generation Tudor chronographs. Circular satin-brushed steel with a tachymetric scale gives the watch a sporty yet sleek edge.

Black and gold
The Heritage Black Bay is now available in an entirely new steel-and-gold version that introduces a date function to the Black Bay family and is fitted with the Manufacture Calibre MT5612. The highperformance calibre of the Heritage Black Bay S&G is a variation of the movement presented by Tudor in 2015. It has a frequency of 28,800 beats per hour. Much of the Black Bay’s lines and proportions have been retained, although its rotating bezel and winding crown, along with the central link of the steel bracelet, have been dressed in gold to enhance the timepiece’s overall aesthetic.

Dress to impress
Inspired by the watches it produced in the 1950s, Tudor unveils its Heritage Black Bay 41 model in an elegant black lacquered version with a snowflake hour hand and a large winding crown that is characteristic of the first-generation models. Waterproof to 200m, the case has been redesigned and made slimmer so that the wearer can slip it under a shirt cuff more easily. Flat sapphire crystal is used as opposed to the usual domed cases for the rest of the Black Bay family, flush with a fixed bezel in polished steel.

This article appeared in Issue 797 (Sept 18) of The Edge Singapore.