There are few rituals in sports that are more dramatic — or more intimidating — than the All Black haka. Rugby is a notoriously tough sport (as the dislocated bones and misshapen ears of veteran players attest), but this traditional Maori war dance, performed in a synchronized display of chest-thumping and arm-slapping by New Zealand’s rugby team before each game, seems designed to rattle even the most hardened among them.
The haka, of course, wouldn’t be half as effective if the All Blacks weren’t such a frighteningly good team. Aside from taking home the last two Rugby World Cup trophies, they have been called the most successful sporting team in the history of the world — a claim their 75 per cent win rate over 116 years of competition bears out. As such, the All Blacks don’t need much help in attracting attention, but as they try for their third consecutive title at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan this fall, they’ll have yet another distinction to set them apart: a very cool new watch from Tudor.
To celebrate the All Blacks’ spectacular legacy on the pitch, the Swiss watchmaker (and proud All Blacks sponsor since 2017) has unveiled the Black Bay Chrono Dark, a new version of their Black Bay Chrono sports watch. In addition to its trademark “snowflake” hands and a movement made in house by Tudor, the Black Bay Chrono Dark distinguishes itself with a brushed steel case and a bracelet finished in matte black PVD. Derived from NASA technology, this high-tech coating not only adds a look to match the All Blacks’ monochrome uniforms, but also a scratch-resistant finish that’s brawny enough to stand up to daily wear.
Watchmakers love to align themselves with sports teams, and despite being the Rugby World Cup’s official timekeeper, Tudor is by no means the only one with skin in the game. But the newest Black Bay has an advantage over special-edition sports pieces from other brands, which can feel thrown-together and garish. The Black Bay Chrono Dark is a rare kind of success: a watch that anyone would want, rugby fan or not.
Despite crowd-pleasing looks, the Black Bay Chrono Dark will be made in a highly limited run, with one piece produced for every player to take the pitch with the team since its first game in 1903. This translates to just 1,181 in total. Tudor, however, assures us that more will be added to that number each year as the team adds new players.
When 20 nations enter the scrum at the Rugby World Cup in Japan, all eyes will be on the black-clad New Zealanders as they launch into their Maori war dance. A three-peat is within reach, but just as likely is defeat at the hands of powerhouse rivals South Africa and Australia. Whatever the outcome, the All Blacks will emerge from this year’s Rugby World Cup bearing a few more scars, and holding a new title: best watch in the game.