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Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue Watch Review

Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The Heritage Black Bay has been a very successful model for Tudor as they reassert their place in the luxury sport watch game. Having only recently returned to the US and the UK, the Black Bay was undoubtedly part of that initiative and has enjoyed both consumer and critical success, including the GPHG Revival Prize in 2013. The Black Bay is Tudor’s vintage-inspired diver and was launched at Baselworld 2012 with a burgundy bezel, a dark brown dial, and pink gold markers and hands. Replete with a vintage-effect domed crystal and big crown, the Black Bay has been a big hit from day one.

While I really like the Tudor Black Bay, I have to admit that the original brown dial and the burgundy bezel felt a little overdone to my eyes. Even in dressier forms like the Tudor Black Bay, I like my divers to be a bit more muted. So, when I was first handed a Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue (79220B) during a Tudor-hosted dinner at Baselworld this past March, I was thrilled to find the aesthetic had been dialled back. Though perhaps a little less romantic, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue is the quietly-confident and understated of these two nearly-identical twins.

Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The new Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue is essentially the same watch as the 79220R but with a dark blue bezel, a black dial, and white metal for the hands and markers. While the change is just color, the effect is massive, and it feels like a different watch. Where the original Black Bay was perhaps a little twee, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue is rather stoic and wears like much more of an “everyday” watch (despite the fact that they are technically identical). It feels more modern, and the blue bezel appears almost black in low light, which gives the 79220B the wrist presence of a Submariner (Rolex or Tudor, your choice).

If, like me, you’re obsessed with dressy divers that don’t cost as much as modern Rolexes or Omegas, you’ve read everything about the Black Bay since it was released. Under the assumption that some of you are normal high-functioning members of society, allow me to refresh your memory. The Tudor Heritage Black Bay, both R and B references, uses a 41 mm steel case that is 12.7 mm thick and 50 mm lug to lug. Based on a mix of vintage references from Tudor’s past, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay is a dressier alternative to something like the Tudor Pelagos. With a unidirectional bezel, oversized crown, and domed sapphire crystal, the Black Bay is available on a steel bracelet, a leather strap, or a fabric Tudor-style nato.

Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Water resistance is 200m and the total weight on the fabric strap (lightest possible option) is just 94g. In keeping with Tudor’s usual plan of attack, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay uses a third-party ETA 2824 automatic Swiss movement. We all know this movement, and its popularity is not unfounded. With 25 jewels, 38 hours of power reserve, and a running rate of 4Hz, the 2824 is the defacto choice for watch companies designing a three hander that have the cash to opt for a Swiss movement. If competently serviced, it is reliable, capable of excellent timekeeping, and will probably outlast you. You probably have a watch with this movement.

I got to spend some time with the Black Bay Blue at Baselworld, and I enjoyed it enough that it just kinda stuck in the back of my mind. Anything even remotely affordable that manages to stick with you through the six-figure parade at Baselworld is worth a closer look, and thankfully Tudor was willing to let me borrow one for a couple of weeks. The sample I reviewed came with the leather strap and the fabric strap, but no steel bracelet. I briefly saw the bracelet at Baselworld, and it looks great and feels like a no brainer if you’re going to buy a Black Bay (seen below).

Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The Tudor Heritage Black Bay checks a lot of boxes for the sort of watch I would buy for myself. At 41 mm, it’s an ideal size for an everyday sport watch and the 50 mm lug to lug ensures a good fit on my wrist. At 12.7 mm thick I wouldn’t call the Black Bay thin, but it’s not bad for a dive watch, and I didn’t find it especially difficult to wear with long sleeves. The maximum thickness includes the slightly domed sapphire crystal, which has been made to look like a vintage crystal with curved edges that raise above the inner lip of the bezel. The Tudor Heritage Black Bay has 22 mm lugs that are regrettably not drilled but can accommodate any 22 mm strap. To that end, being a nicely proportioned and classic-style dive watch, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a strap that doesn’t work on the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue.

Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The case, true to much of Tudor’s current line up, is fantastic. Crisp edges, mixed finishing, and beveled edges all combine to make one of the best cases at this price point. Additionally, both the crown and the bezel are very nicely executed. The bezel has almost no play, with a positive click and a grippy coin edge. The crown, which is signed with the Tudor rose, is large and easy to manage with an excellent feel and strong threading.

Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

When screwed down, the crown does not sit flush against the case, but rather against a matching blue insert. Some find this crown design to be annoying and I did think it a bit strange on the Ranger (which does not feature a colored insert), but on the Tudor Heritage Black Bay I rather like the subtle use of color and the crown is very nicely executed.

Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Whatever expectations the case, crown, and bezel may setup, the dial can support. The Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue has a really beautiful flat-black dial with bright white metal applied markers and hands and a matching white minute track. Wonderfully monochromatic, the BBB’s dial is balanced, supremely legible and capable of catching the light in a very pleasing way. If I’m being very picky, I could do without the “rotor self winding” text, but I have to applaud Tudor for something else they omitted: the date display. The 2824 ticking within offers a date display but the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue’s dial is left unspoiled by a date. If done perfectly, I don’t mind a date display, but my preference for a sport watch is always no date.

The dial on the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue does a wonderful job of complementing the deep metallic blue of the bezel and the properly-sized handset which, with the minutes and seconds reaching all the way to the markings, makes for a balanced and functional design.

Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Finally, the lume is also excellent, with plenty of material used on the hands and the markers (see video for live shot). While I did not get the opportunity to take the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue diving, I have no doubt that the legibility and lume would be up to the task, even if the bezel might be tricky to operate with the 5mm gloves that are required in my local waters.

Tudor Heritage Black Bay Blue Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

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  • Polarisfire

    Love the watch/design, but can not convince myself to spend the money for 2824 movement.

  • Nicely executed, but in this price range (for a dive watch) I think I’d rather have a Muhle Rasmus 2000: http://ablogtowatch.com/muhle-glashutte-rasmus-2000-dive-watch-hands/

  • Ulysses31

    Very attractive.  Clean lines, lovely details and supreme finishing.  But yeah, that pricing.

  • nodari kirtadze

    Great watch, wery similar to Submariner but do the braclet and strap come together or you have to buy one.

  • nickyb66

    A nice looking watch, I have a ceramic submariner with date and would defy take this as another one for my collection. Has some design styles from Rolex which is always a good thing.

  • phb

    Great value as a preowned watch, for some reason lots of them around especially with the red bezel. I just wish he case was a bit slimmer, I still think a 14060 / 14060m is a more attractive choice size wise, although less exciting design wise.

  • “To put it a bit more bluntly, the reality is that you can get a Tudor with an in-house movement, but it has to say Rolex on the dial and it costs a lot more.”

    Excuses, excuses. The watch is handsome, and undoubtedly well made, but the $3k (ish) bracket does not exactly want for competition. I don;t like to be the guy that harps on price, but i don’t see a proper value proposition here. 

    The comment about how a wide variety of straps will easily suit the watch is sound. I have a regular customer with the burgungy model, and he has ordered up some funky stuff for his BB and it always ends up looking nice.

  • Ottokar3

    I can see that the design is truly
    great, but come on, more than 3k for a basic three hand ETA powered diver?
    You can get a Certina DS Action Diver AND a Hamilton Scuba Auto and still have
    more than half the money left. I get that the Tudor has a more expensive (and
    much nicer) case, but even that would justify a 1,5-2k price tag at
    most.

  • thornwood36

    I want more bing for my buck. This is a terrifically boring watch to look at , but it does what it says on the tin, and tells you the time very clearly and legibly too, I need a date window ( i can be out by days on occasion ) like James said,  a small date window at the 6 position would have been nice ( without the bubble magnifier that Rolex use that annoys me. I would have liked to see a bit of the workings but that wrap round braclet ( which i dont like ) scuppers that.. As much as i like it , it wouldn’t be my first choice. I’ll have this one thanks : ) 

    http://ablogtowatch.com/movado-se-extreme-automatic-chronograph-diver-watches/

    Without the chronograph

  • BigMike213

    Lol I nominate James for the best video watch reviewer. Ever.
    Seriously though, kickass job man.

  • danbouchard

    Tudor is quickly rising to the top of my list of “Next Watch Purchase”.

  • jaemo

    This is the one… to me a keeper… when I finally save up the $…

  • phb I think a lot of these on the second hand market because guys creamed their jeans at the initial debut and buzz…bought…and then realized how boring and blah the watch is in addition to not having fulfilled their unscratched Rolex Sub itch.

  • “The Tudor Heritage Black Bay checks a lot of boxes for the sort of watch I would buy for myself.” 
    But would you really buy this Tudor at this price knowing all the other options out there in this crazy saturated segment? I doubt it.

  • Time2Go

    Still looks too much like Rolex for me to seriously consider it personally, though I have to acknowledge the beautiful attention to detail on this piece: the case, the dial, the handset, even that nice fabric strap.  Pricey for sure, but I’m not sure how many of its competitors could compare favorably across the board.

    Nice review and really excellent photos.

  • bichondaddy

    One of the best video reviews I have ever seen on a watch!!!!  You did an outstanding job presenting the watch James.!!

    As for the watch itself….bland, boring, and I know I could find something a little more my style!   The Hamilton Khaki Navy Below Zero Auto Chronograph comes to mind….and I can pick one up online for under $1500 USD and still  have plenty of money to take the wife out on the town.

  • spiceballs

    Nice report James but sorry this watch doesn’t move me at all, plus I can’t stand the “signature” Tudor hour hand.

  • bichondaddy I agree – excellently done video James.

  • goldlink

    bichondaddy Agreed much better than the Ariel video’s (no offense he needs to step it up now). 

    Haha keep up the great work my man.

  • wandimarco

    So far, this is the only offering from modern Tudor that I like. Love those finishing details on the case (starring at you Rolex, shame on you!)

    Thanks to James Stacey, which has successfully make this watch hangin’ over the back of my mind.

    Very minor wish list :
    -. wish it has longer power reserve 
    -. wish that lovely big crown would have screwed flush against the case.

  • AK74

    It’s a beautiful watch, I tried it in the store. The problem is that it’s too close price-wise to Omega Seamaster 300M Diver, which has an in-house movement co-axial.

  • 5803822

    A low end ETA – at $3425 !!    –  no thanks – not when I can get a Citizen Pro dive with  Pepsi bezel with day and date and 200m water resistance at less than $200 (which I did very recently )  ”””””””””””” get real and please try being a little more pragmatic in these reviiews- if this was the product of anyone other than Rolex it would be at least half the suggested price.—–Tudors are for the overfunded wannabee breaindead.

  • joshgraves

    I want to like Tudor as a brand…I just wish they were a bit more special for their price point.

  • I’d like to see a more attractive caseback.

  • Robbie82

    I own the “original” Black Bay and wear it everyday since 2 years now. I have no problem with the eta movement. It’s a build to last movement and the case is just awesome. To me this watch was an instant clasic sincecthe day it was presented by Tudor. Feels like a wearing a cult-watch. I see lots of Rolexes, i really like them but It feels great to wear a Tudor.

  • The thing about the Tudor Black Bay is that both the red and the blue are exciting at first with nice designs and a good value for the rolex pedigree–but I feel they lose their luster the more you look at them as a whole.

    First off, I disagree with the prevailing sentiment about the 2824–a watch is much more than the movement and I for one am hesitant to spend too much on in-house movements. Movement reliability trumps exclusivity for a watch of this type–a daily wearer that should be enjoyed fully. 

    My qualm is that when you examine the watch after the dust settles, there are many other alternatives in the same price range that are much more exciting. For example, I love the blue Breitling super ocean heritage 42mm, and even though it came out a few years ago, I am STILL in love with it. The Omega Aqua Terra in blue is a stunning watch (although a bit pricier) that has been around for a very long time, but still feels fresh. The Doxa 5000 Caribbean is a joy to wear and a very solid competitor for alternative dress diver. 

    The black bay seems to have many quirky design elements, yet still feels boring. The snowflake hand, the lack of a date, the “self winding” text, the rose logo (i prefer the shield), the blue insert in the crown–all feel incoherent as a whole. 

    I will still give it a chance to grow on me, but it had better do it fast cause that Breitling is winking at me!

  • ScubaPro

    “Alternative dress diver,” states Panagiotis. This is an interesting way of looking at the Black Bay, but no doubt accurate. So now there’s not only “divers” and “dress divers,” but an “alternative dress diver” sub genre. I don’t know what to say about this watch, other than it’s the first dive watch from Tudor/Rolex that is designed to be worn by people that don’t dive but want the look. The lack of crown guards, no wetsuit extension clasp and an included leather strap advertises that this is factory built for the posing class, which seems to have taken over the watch world. Why they didn’t just make an updated version of the Tudor Sub with all the necessary diving bits is I guess a sad acknowledgment to who’s buying dive watches these days. Sure you can dive with one of these but it’s really not designed for it; that’s what the Pelagos is for. 

    It will be interesting to see how the blue fares compared with the red. How many collectors will get both, to coordinate with their outfits? Strange days.

  • daisymay100

    ScubaPro yeah – “alternative dress diver”, I don’ think you “get it” mate .. Nobody has worn aTudor /  Rolex Sub,  or other like diving watch, diving, since COMEX stopped issuing free Subs to the bubble heads they employed all those years ago .. and most of those watches never got wet either .. “ScubaPro”, is that code for PADI diver?

  • daisymay100

    AK74 The Omega SM 300M co-axial starts at around $US6,600 for the steel .. The Tudor is about $US3,400 .. The price point is  nowhere near close .. You are comparing apples with oranges

  • Ilow

    Really like the bezel, dial, steel bracelet looks good too. However the hour hand on these Tudors just looks ugly, really distractingly ugly. I want to read the time with the flick of the wrist, but fear the oversized and bulbous hour hand would literally get in the way. Side profile of the case also appears a bit flat. Is it comfortable? Boring case back and too much text on the dial turn this from a possible purchase into a no-go.
    I have no problem with people wearing a diving watch in the office everyday. Just because you can dive with a watch doesn’t mean you need to.

  • JoeW19

    5803822 And these reviews are meant for the watch, not social commentary. “Tudors…are for…Waanbe…”
    Try just once not to bring your unwanted and BOORING (look it up), IR BOORISH commentary to your club buddies. Its a great watch at a fair price. And it will hold its value, and within 5 years, INCREASE. Afraid you cannot say the same for your watch. For less than i/2 that, I’ll get an Invicta, which beats the daylights out of your CHOICE as far as water repellency on saturation dives.

    • James

      Invicta! Bahahaha. Sad

  • JoeW19

    Talking about what people wear to the office sounds as though you may have more time on your hands than you need. Judging a person by what watch they prefer is needless trash talk. Its their business. Furthermore, if everyone who chose to wear a dive watch was a PADI certified diver, they would not sell many dive watches. Have YOU ever been deeper than 12 ft?
    How about deep enough to actually TEST the water resistancy parameters of any watch? In case you hadn’t noticed, Capitalism is alive and well. If you ant to make commentary on peoples CHOICES, move to Russia. They love people like you…

  • 5803822

    JoeW19 5803822

  • crezo

    Great review, and I’m still in love this watch, there’s just something about the design that I love.

    Ive very nearly bought this a couple of times, and if it was heavier I would have done. my whole collection is pretty much dive watches, and this is so light in comparison to nearly every watch I own it makes it feel ‘cheap’ which for that ETA it’s really not. I know that may sound odd as the design and finish of it is just stunning, looking at it, it’s just stunning, but on the wrist it just didn’t feel quality enough.

    Maybe if I can get a custom strap made with a nice lead insert to add some weight it might sell it for me 😉

  • JM Borromeo Figurasin

    Hi! I just want to ask about my Tudor Black Bay Blue. Doe it mean that it is not authentic if the dealer gave me the white leather version of the box?

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