Earlier this year, Tudor announced its return to motorsport as an official partner of the Visa Cash App Racing Bulls Formula One team (better known as VCARB, for obvious reasons). As VCARB’s official watch sponsor, Tudor has been outfitting the team with timepieces. Sharp-eyed enthusiasts who follow F1 will have almost certainly spotted the team-edition version of the brand’s Black Bay Ceramic dive watch, which is fitted with a bright blue dial in the colors of VCARB’s livery. Previously, these blue-dial models were exclusively available to members of the VCARB F1 team. However, for its latest release of 2024, Tudor has opened up this configuration to the public, and the new Tudor Black Bay Ceramic “Blue” is the commercially available version of the watch that has been spotted on the wrists of VCARB drivers Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo for the last few months.

Aside from its updated colorway, the new Tudor Black Bay Ceramic “Blue” (ref. M79210CNU-0007) is otherwise identical to the original Black Bay Ceramic model, which initially made its appearance in 2021 with a black dial as the brand’s first METAS-certified timepiece. What this means is that you get a black ceramic case that measures 41mm in diameter by 14.4mm thick, and just like the original black-dial version of the model, the new Black Bay Ceramic “Blue” is fitted with a domed sapphire crystal that is surrounded by a unidirectional rotating timing bezel with a matte black ceramic insert. Similarly, a signed screw-down crown sits at the 3 o’clock location, while water resistance comes in at the Black Bay’s standard 200 meters. Unlike the standard stainless steel models from the collection that all have solid casebacks, Tudor’s Black Bay Ceramic watches are fitted with display-style case to showcase their internal movements.

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Arguably the single most significant detail separating the new Tudor Black Bay Ceramic “Blue” from the existing model within the collection is its bright blue dial, which appears in the colors of the Visa Cash App RB F1 team. While the domed dial still follows the same time-only layout as other Black Bay models, its surface is finished in a punchy shade of blue with white text and black-finished frames for the hands and applied hour markers. Just like the rest of Tudor’s Black Bay lineup, all of the hands and indexes are finished with Super-LumiNova. While Tudor doesn’t offer a lume-shot for the new model, I’d imagine that it receives the same green-glowing lume that is used across the rest of the collection. Dial text remains identical to what can be observed on the original black-dial version of the Black Bay Ceramic, and since the caseback of the watch also bears the exact same markings, the new Tudor Black Bay Ceramic “Blue” is entirely devoid of any type of text or logos that denote its F1 team partnership.

In that same spirit, even the name of the Tudor Black Bay Ceramic “Blue” lacks any type of VCARB or F1-related branding. Aside from the VCARB-blue color of its dial and the fact that this watch first made an appearance as a team-exclusive model, the Black Bay Ceramic “Blue” is otherwise just a blue version of the standard Black Bay Ceramic. Given that Tudor has a long history of producing blue and black versions of its most popular designs, the new Black Bay Ceramic “Blue” is an extremely natural fit for the Swiss brand’s modern catalog. Had this model appeared as a standard release without any type of F1 team-exclusive associations, I think most people would have just assumed that Tudor decided to create a blue-dial version of the Black Bay Ceramic in the exact same way that the brand has produced both black and blue versions of other models from the Pelagos and Black Bay collections.

Just like the black-dial version of the model, the new Tudor Black Bay Ceramic “Blue” is powered by the brand’s Manufacture Caliber MT5602-1U automatic movement. Operating at a frequency of 28,800vph (4 Hz) with a power reserve of approximately 70 hours, the Cal. MT5602-1U is equipped with a silicon hairspring for superior magnetic resistance. While a significant portion of Tudor’s modern catalog uses COSC-certified movements, the brand’s Black Bay Ceramic takes things one step further by being a METAS-certified Master Chronometer. When the original Black Bay Ceramic first debuted in 2021, it was Tudor’s first METAS-certified watch, although we have seen Master Chronometer movements start to make their way into other models from the brand’s lineup, such as the updated Black Bay watches that were announced earlier this year at Watches & Wonders Geneva 2024.

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Rather than being a replacement for COSC testing, METAS certification is an additional level of qualification that pertains to complete watches, rather than just their movements. To qualify for METAS certification, a watch must first be Swiss-made, and it must also use a movement that is already COSC-certified. Along with adhering to more stringent timekeeping tolerances of -0/+5 seconds per day (COSC Chronometer certification requires -4/+6 seconds per day), METAS Master Chronometer certification also tests for other aspects of a watch’s performance, such as water resistance, power reserve duration, and anti-magnetism, with all METAS-certified watches capable of withstanding a minimum of 15,000 gauss. While METAS is most frequently associated with Omega, any watch that meets the prerequisites for qualification can be submitted for testing, and it ultimately offers a far more complete certification that pertains to the entire watch, rather than just its movement.

Similar to its black-dial sibling, the new Tudor Black Bay Ceramic “Blue” comes with two different straps. Although rather than having small off-white accents, the pair of straps that are included with the new blue version features these same highlights in a bright shade of VCARB blue to match the surface of the dial. The first of the two included straps is a two-piece hybrid strap constructed from leather and rubber, and it features blue contrast stitching with a black PVD-finished stainless steel deployant clasp. Meanwhile, the second strap is a black version of Tudor’s single-piece fabric strap, and it features a bright blue stripe running down its center with a black PVD-finished pin buckle. While I fully support Tudor including two different straps, both of the straps for the new Black Bay Ceramic “Blue” are rather traditional options, and I would have loved to see the secondary strap be something that leaned a bit further into the F1 team associations of the watch.

In much the same way that Tudor is the little sibling company to Rolex, VCARB is often considered to be the feeder squad for the flagship Red Bull Racing team, and the partnership between Tudor and the Visa Cash App Racing Bulls Formula One team feels like a natural pairing. With that in mind, the new Tudor Black Bay Ceramic “Blue” ultimately feels like a watch that could have existed without this partnership. While I completely understand why Tudor would want to outfit the VCARB team in a thematic model from its most recognizable collection, I personally wish that the brand had created something a bit more motorsport-inspired as its F1 team watch. Given that Tudor produces a number of different chronographs and even some with carbon fiber cases, I can’t help but feel that a dive watch with mid-century design cues isn’t exactly the most appropriate wristwatch for a team that competes at the pinnacle of motorsport.

In my personal opinion, a carbon composite and titanium chronograph (similar to the brand’s recently announced Pelagos FXD Chrono “Cycling Edition”) would have probably been a more fitting choice for members of a Formula One team. However, I also imagine that a decent number of people have been hoping for a blue version of the Black Bay Ceramic long before this particular model started to appear on the wrists of VCARB’s drivers, and those folks will almost certainly be happy to see this latest release join the collection. If anything, the widespread commercial appeal of the Tudor Black Bay Ceramic “Blue” may be part of the reason why this watch doesn’t have any markings related to VCARB or its F1 partnership, as this would have likely detracted from its ability to serve as an everyday watch for those who aren’t specifically fans of the VCARB F1 team.

Given that the new Tudor Black Bay Ceramic “Blue” is essentially the blue-dial version of the existing model, it costs the exact same as its all-black sibling with an official retail price of $5,150 USD. Compared to the cost of the standard stainless steel Black Bay dive watch, the additional premium for ceramic feels fairly reasonable. While some may view the F1 associations and previous team-exclusive status as little more than a marketing initiative to create hype around something that would have otherwise been a standard release, its undeniable that the Black Bay Ceramic series offers a rather compelling overall package, and a blue-dial version of the Black Bay Ceramic is a model that perfectly fits in with the rest of Tudor’s contemporary catalog. For more information on the Tudor Black Bay Ceramic collection, please visit the brand’s website.

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