The dust has settled, and we’re no longer obsessed with the Black Bay Pro.
Tudor has had a lot of success over the last decade. From the introduction of their Black Bay series in 2012, to the booming success of their BB58 models (which rivalled the Rolex Submariner in terms of hype). But best of all was their choice to move away from ETA models and design their own in-house movements (excepting the Tudor Black Bay Chrono which features a Breitling B01 movement). So you can imagine how excited I was when they released the Black Bay Pro.
The Pro hits all the traditional Tudor checks:
- Design is an homage to an earlier Rolex: ✅
- 39-40mm case size: ✅
- GMT movement: ✅
It’s basically an upgraded version of the Tudor Black Bay 58. It now features a date and a GMT function, with a fixed 24-hour bezel. As a traveller who’s also obsessed with dive watches, this should’ve been No. 1 on my list of watches to grab. So why don’t I like it?
The truth is – it’s lazy. It’s a hype grab and Tudor really could’ve done a lot more with it.
Sure, it’s accessible, comes with a bracelet – a nato or a thickened dive strap. It’s even got a 24-hour fixed bezel. But it falters in one key element; its thickness.
Tudor unfortunately did not create a whole new movement for the Pro as they did the BB58, but rather they took the movement from the Tudor GMT and resized it to fit the 39mm case. Aesthetically, what they created was a chode.
The watch is almost as wide as it is tall. With a 7.52mm movement, the watch is now unbalanced and overpowered by its thickness. In total, the watch protrudes a whopping 14.6mm. It doesn’t slide gracefully under a cuff so it may as well be a Hublot.
Whilst a movement this thick is okay for a watch that has a bit more curvature, or a wider diameter such as the 41mm Black Bay GMT, that just isn’t the case with the Pro. It just seems unmotivated.
So Close, Yet So Far
Tudor did everything right initially. They grabbed the design from their archives, they matched the aesthetic with the Rolex 1655 (Steve McQueen), they even highlighted the second GMT hand in a second colour. They featured a new quick easy clasp. But what they did was as much of a bastardisation as what Lexus did in the past with their RCF models, or what Disney has done with their live action remakes of their classic animated films. There was nothing original, it’s way too stuffy…and to be honest the imagination is gone.
What Tudor could’ve created is a genuine substitute for the Rolex Explorer line. A premium product that doesn’t necessarily break the bank like a Rolex does. Instead, what they did is launch something so polarising that no hype was attached to it. Tudoraholics are being apologetic and proclaiming that “It’s not that thick,” when in the back of their minds they know that it truly is.
For more like this, check out whether a Zenith is better value than a Rolex.
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