Baselworld 2019: Tudor
Tudor did it as usual this year at Baselworld: simply and efficiently. In fact, Tudor always aims to find a good balance between the "talking pieces" and commercial watches dedicated to volume markets, while limiting the number of novelties. This year is no exception to the rule, with the new pieces are focusing exclusively on the Black Bay collection with a heavy trend: the two-tone style. I invite you to discover the watches that make up this collection 2019.
A) Black Bay Bronze
This watch is not really a surprise: it can be considered as a variation of the Black Bay Bronze introduced in 2016 or the version released for Bucherer's Blue Editions collection. Its great strength is its slate gray dial which has a slightly smoked and degraded finish. This dial, as well as the aluminum insert, also in slate gray, bring out the color of the case and the overall appearance of the watch increases in contrast. It appears to me as more elegant and opulent than the initial version. Less discreet too. Its diameter is of course 43mm and without surprise, it is animated by the in-house caliber MT5601 which has a power reserve of 70 hours. A watch hardly surprising but very well made and that has more punch than the 2016 version.
B) Black Bay Chrono S & G (Steel & Gold)
This is a very interesting evolution of the Black Bay Chrono that was presented two years ago. Thanks to this two-tone stylistic treatment, the watch gains significantly in refinement. I was not a fan of the original model that I found visually heavy. The black insert of the fixed bezel reduces in my opinion the perceived size of the watch which always has the same diameter (41mm). But above all, the two-tone approach by Tudor is rather subtle. The color of the subdials harmoniously recalls the gold elements (crown, bezel and pushers). The color of the date window perfectly combines with the indexes and the little touch of red gives a sporty dimension to the watch. The piece is overall very well executed and the case seems to even slightly gain finesse. The watch is powered by the movement MT5813 which is based on Breitling's B01 caliber. This movement offers a comfortable 70-hour power reserve. The Black Bay Chrono S & G is available with a two-tone metal bracelet (it's not my favorite), a Bund bracelet (with removable base and it fits the watch very well) or a fabric strap. The Black Bay Chrono S & G therefore unquestionably benefits from the two-color treatment and becomes more elegant.
C) Black Bay 32, 36, 41 S & G
The Black Bay S & G is not the most popular watch in the 2019 collection, but it's the most important. Indeed, it has a strategic role in assuring and reinforcing Tudor's presence in specific markets, including in some Asian countries. That's why the Black Bay S & G is available in three different sizes and with two types of dials (black or champagne). The steel and yellow gold bracelet is very well done but has a very marked style. Whatever the size, the Black Bay S & G is animated by a caliber ETA2824 and offers a water resistance of 150 meters. Surprisingly from a commercial point of view, none of the watches has a date window (but the Glamour, Style or 1926 offer it). The versatility of this line is its main strength and finally, it completes the catalog very well.
D) Black Bay P01
Even if the novelties were thought and developed with intelligence, Tudor needed a real talking-piece to create the buzz and give a dynamic to the 2019 collection. This is the role of the Black Bay P01. This watch is actually an UFO. Inspired by a prototype (both "legendary" and "unknown" according to Tudor, which is paradoxical to say the least), it is ultimately an evolution of a piece that has never been marketed. The danger for Tudor was falling into the trap of a ridiculous design given the style and properties of the prototype. The point of balance between boldness and reason was hard to come by, and in the end Tudor has done it very well. For one main reason: the Black Bay P01, despite its visually imposing end-links, is very wearable. The feeling that emerges from the piece is ultimately one of mastered originality. I didn't find the watch very elegant, more because of the fastening system of the strap than of properly speaking the end-links. But it gives off a certain fluidity and the functionality of the prototype is respected. The diameter is 42mm but the perceived size is obviously higher. The Black Bay P01 is powered by the in-house caliber MT5612 with a 70-hour power reserve. The water resistance is 200 meters. The Black Bay P01 is surprising, even confusing at first glance but it becomes eventually appealing because it is more portable and docile than expected. Its love&hate style is a true asset.
As you can see, Tudor made sure to do little and well. I find that in 2019 it's the best strategy. It is useless to present dozens and dozens of novelties in a market in a waiting position and that needs certainty. The influx of novelties always gives a feeling of feverishness. Tudor is far from generating this feeling and seems to be follow its own path by pursuing a clear roadmap.