Bronze watches have become quite a trend in recent years. Desirable not only for their unique aesthetic and their quirky appeal but also for their ability to develop a patina – a distinctive aged, vintage look that changes over time, giving them remarkable character. Despite its retro appeal, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Bronze ref. 79250BM, places itself firmly in the 21st Century among the rest of the Tudor watches in the brand’s contemporary lineup, with its modern 43mm case and rotating diver’s bezel.
Tudor Watches and the Black Bay Bronze
Tudor is a brand synonymous with premium quality. Upholding the reputation of its sister company (Rolex), Tudor uses a sophisticated blend of robust and high-quality materials in the construction of its timepieces – namely those used for their diver’s range. The Tudor Pelagos, for example, is made from titanium for maximum corrosion resistance and a lightweight presence on the wrist. This modern tool for underwater tasks is fitted with a helium escape valve and an impressive 500m depth rating to ensure that divers can explore deep and daring depths without compromise.
On the other hand, the Tudor Black Bay models (including the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Bronze 79250BM) are vintage-inspired watches that first made an appearance in 2012. Drawing inspiration from historic Submariner models, these Tudor watches bring to the forefront of their design a vintage style, defined by large crowns without guards and domed sapphire crystals. It was not until 2016, that Tudor began equipping their Black Bay timepieces with in-house developed movements. The iconic snowflake hands with a squared-off tip are another unmistakable design feature seen throughout the collection that has its roots deep in Tudor’s past.
While the Black Bay collection now consists of a wide assortment of different models, it is the Black Bay Bronze that represents the top model from the standard Black Bay collection. Sized at 43mm (2mm larger than the classic dive watches from the collection), the Black Bay Bronze also features a different dial, and blends retro design details with modern-day cutting edge technology. The watch catapults itself off the back of the Black Bay collection and is the only model that features bronze for its case material. Bronze alloys have been used for shipbuilding and for the development of diving instruments, and while it is not as strong or corrosion-resistant as stainless steel, bronze has the unique ability to develop a patina that reflects the life of its owner.
Although these bronze Tudor watches are specifically designed to show their age, they do so in a way that is graceful, with the bronze material slightly darkening over time with exposure to the elements. The many nooks on the crown and case will take on their own personality with time, enhanced further by two notably different shades of brown on the dial and bezel (or slate gray on the latest version of the watch). In regards to the brown dials found on the original models, the tone differs from the rich chocolate shades that we so commonly see in high-end watches, and instead is a brighter flat tone.
On these watches, the bezel itself is a piercing shade of bronze that marries well with the shield emblem emblazoned onto the dial’s surface. Additionally, the Black Bay Bronze is fitted with a 3,6,9 ‘Explorer-dial’ layout that is unique to the bronze variant and not found on any of the other Tudor watches that make up the current Black Bay collection. The hour markers and hands are finished with slightly off-white luminous material, making for a nice contrast against the watch’s honey-toned distressed leather or canvas straps, which add further vintage styling and character.
The Tudor Cal. MT5601 movement fitted to the heart of the Black Bay Bronze model is an in-house developed engine that provides users with a 70hr power reserve. You could easily take the watch off on a Friday evening and come back to it first thing on a Monday morning, without it having skipped a beat. The no-fuss movement is designed for accuracy and reliability and is chronometer-certified, unlike other Tudor watches that use modified generic movements. It’s values like these that have become integral to the success of the Tudor brand. Their transparent approach to watchmaking is what has enabled the company to stand out within the industry, despite perpetually being in the massive shadow of their ultra-famous parent company. With a balance bridge rather than balance cock (for better resistance to shocks), a silicon balance spring for magnetic resistance, and a free-sprung adjustable mass balance – this engine can operate seamlessly inside its rugged, highly water-resistant housing, making it a perfect watch for everyday wear.
Without a doubt, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Bronze perfectly straddles the line between vintage and modern, offering all of the latest state-of-the-art technologies in a watch that has the looks of a much older timepiece. As its patina gradually develops and darkens, no two Tudor Black Bay Bronze watches will ever appear completely identical, as each one increasingly reflects the conditions through which it was worn. For anyone who loves the traditional Tudor Black Bay, but wants a slightly different take on the highly-successful model, the Tudor Black Bay Bronze is among the most unique watches currently in the brand’s portfolio and has all of the technological prowess to be a reliable timekeeper for many years to come.