For Baselworld 2016, Tudor enlarges the Black Bay family with the addition of the fresh Tudor Heritage Black Bay Bronze 79250BM. Undoubtedly, the initial and main focus is on the material employed. Tudor opted a high-performance aluminum / bronze alloy for the the latest version of its best seller.
Just like all the watches made in bronze, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Bronze 79250BM bears the gold/copper tone however, this will not last long as seen in the photos the one with the leather strap already started to show signs of patina after a week on the wrist. Every single Black Bay Bronze will age and get patina depending on the owner’s way of using it.
There is another novelty about the case: the finish. The case was entirely mirror polished excluding the lugs on previous models but, now with the bronze version, it is all brushed in order to provide an even growth of the patina.
The case back is made of PVD coated ( in bronze looking color ) possibly due to the non-hypoallergenic nature of bronze.
As I mentioned before the initial focus is on the material however, one should not think the novelties for this new model is limited to case material only. In fact, Tudor Black Bay Bronze is almost an entirely new watch with clever touches of refinements. Let’s have look at them;
Besides the material, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Bronze 79250BM also sports a larger case of 43mm in diameter (instead of 41mm). Actually, I am not a big fan of oversized watches ( unless they are Panerais ) therefore I thought I would not be happy with the enlarged diameter. However, the bigger case feels quite balanced and comfy on the wrist. The all brushed surface helps the watch to maintain a compact look by blocking reflections of light and the bronze color makes the watch look a tad smaller I guess.
Bronze is also used for the bezel and the crown which means the entire watch will get that greenish patina (except the caseback).
Black Bay sports a new bezel with a 60-minute diving scale insert, still made in aluminum but now executed in anodised matte brown with ‘gilded’ numerals to match with the bronze color theme.
Unlike the other models in the Black Bay Collection, there is no optional metal bracelet available. Instead, there is an aged leather strap with bronze buckle and an additional fabric strap with bronze buckle thrown in the box set. The fabric strap is inspired by the iconic vintage model Ref. 9401 which was made of elastic opted from a French rescue parachute, recognisable with its brown/beige color and a central yellow thread.
Another detail tributes to the models heritage is the holes drilled in the lugs.
As we are familiar from the Tudor Submariner Ref. 7922 model, the past versions of the Tudor Heritage Black Bay sported dials with a classical layout: a triangle at 12, batons at 3, 6 and 9 and dots at 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10 and 11. However, the dial in the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Bronze 79250BM features the numerals applied at 3 – 6 – 9.
The indexes are applied on the dial as before and made in pink gold filled with ecru tone luminous material. The hands are also still using the iconic “snow flake” form but a bit longer this time possibly to match with the +2mm enlargement of the case.
The dial is now coloured in matte brown, with gilt tracks and inscriptions, providing antique appearance like the highly desired “tropical dials” found mostly in vintage Rolexes.
Tudor Heritage Black Bay Bronze 79250BM ticks with the new manufacture movement Calibre MT5601.
As you certainly spotted, the dial boasts new lines of text (thankfully not too many lines of text), which are different from the older editions of the Black Bay: “Chronometer Officially Certified”. Yes, this means that the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Bronze 79250BM features the in-house movement of the brand. The MT mention in its name stands for “Manufacture TUDOR”, and it is the very first movement entirely designed, developed and manufactured by Tudor.
Just like the rest of the family, the calibre MT5601 of the Black Bay Bronze, this chronometer rated movement (COSC certified) boasts a 70-hour power reserve when fully wound. Tne movement beats at 28,800 vibrations/hour or 4 Hz.
Since the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Bronze 79250BM is designed to be a dive watch, the watch sports a solid caseback blocking the view for the movement.
I had the time to put the new Black Bay Bronze on my wrist along with the other members of the Black Bay family. I can say that I liked the watch. Thanks to the brown bezel and dial the watch offers a very complete look. Compared to the previous versions, I would still be going with the 41mm diameter but, do not get me wrong this is a very comfortable and well balanced 43mm dive watch.
For visual appearance, the watch is more like a new model that maintains the spirit of the Black Bay as is features a new size, new dial, new finish of the case and a new movement.
I would like to point out that arguably the best asset of the Black Bay Bronze is the in-house movement. It is a very important upgrade compared to the ETA calibres used previously as the MT5601 offers longer power reserve, a silicon balance spring and a COSC certification. And above all, those novelties and upgrades are not reflected by the price tag.
Considering the new movement which is definitely more expensive than the ETA version and the employment of bronze for the case which is obviously more expensive than stainless steel, the increase of price looks very fair with a retail for 3,800 CHF.