It’s no secret that the Italians love their watches almost as much as a strong espresso or a carefully aged Barolo, so it’s only natural that the country’s passion for horology be rewarded with an exclusive edition every now and again. Fresh on the heels of Tudor’s release of the Bucherer-exclusive Black Bay, “Lo stivale” is getting its own exclusive Tudor Heritage Black Bay limited edition, and one that might make dive watch fans in North America more than just a little geloso.
Based on the Black Bay Black with Tudor’s MT5602 in-house movement (hands-on review here), this very limited special edition was built exclusively for Italy’s most passionate collectors; members of the “Orologi & Passioni” watch forum. It’s the latest in a growing trend of powerful watch manufacturers recognizing the influence and importance of online communities. And while this Black Bay doesn’t get quite the full-custom treatment (or sizable production run) that we saw with the Omega Speedmaster “Speedy Tuesday,” its subtle differences are enough to yield a wholly unique watch, designed with direct input from the O&P community.
It shares the same case and bezel of the ref. 79230N Black Bay Black, but this edition gets a subtly altered dial with three lines of red text in Italian, a red-tipped seconds hand, and an individually numbered case back engraved with the group’s logo painted black. The addition of red to the dial is a nice, on-trend touch, hailing other modern dive watches that deploy similar color coding to evoke a certain classic aesthetic, like the new 50th Anniversary Rolex Sea-Dweller 126600 or the recently introduced Tudor Pelagos Left Hand Drive.
Furthermore, the red detailing also unifies the bezel pip to the rest of the dial’s design while balancing out the rest of the gilt accents with sporty, nü-vintage panache. But what really sets this Tudor Black Bay apart from its peers is the 200 metri, chronometro text at 6:00. Rendered in Italian, it feels a little like the original Zenith Cronometro CP-2 watches (tastefully re-issued here, sans text), where the translation seems to lend further credence that this could have been a watch issued to some secretive unit of Italian commandos. Granted, it’s being issued to desk divers of the most passionate order (albeit ones with excellent taste), but that’s probably beside the point.
As mentioned, the guts of the Black Bay persist in this special edition – inside beats Tudor’s MT5602 automatic movement, an in-house-manufactured ufficialmente certificato chronometer with a healthy 70 hour power reserve and a frequency of 28,800 beats per hour. The Tudor Heritage Black Bay “Orologi & Passioni” is limited to only 50 pieces and we believe the price was the same as the non-limited Tudor Heritage Black Bay at €3,500, but all appear to have already been spoken for by members of the forum. tudorwatch.com