When Tudor teased a new watch reveal in late May, fans on social media were quick to speculate on what it might be. While the brand offered few details, the announcement of a forthcoming partnership with Marine Nationale (a.k.a. the French navy) suggested a return to Tudor’s “Snowflake Submariner” models produced for French military divers in the 1960s and 1970s, and highly coveted by collectors today. Perhaps to the disappointment of some die-hard Tudor fans, the brand did not announce the release of a new-old Submariner. It did, however, release something arguably even more special: the new Black Bay Ceramic ($5,430), a blacked-out diver with one of the most prestigious certifications in watchmaking.
Here’s what makes the newest member of the Tudor family such a standout.
A Master Chronometer
As any watch geek will tell you, the standard of timekeeping accuracy is a chronometer stamp from the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC). To gain this important distinction, uncased watch movements are tested for 15 days in a variety of positions and at a variety of temperatures to ensure an accuracy rate within 10 seconds per day.
Like many of Tudor’s watches, the new Black Bay Ceramic is COSC certified, but Tudor didn’t stop there. Instead, they subjected the watch to even more rigorous testing at the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS). Its tagline — “the most accurate place in Switzerland” — ought to tell you everything you need to know. To earn METAS’s Master Chronometer certification, the new Black Bay Ceramic needed to withstand a battery of tests for magnetic resistance (15,000 gauss), water resistance (200m), power reserve (70 hours), temperature, and accuracy (within a five second range each day). Crucially, these tests are done with cased movements in various positions and at different power reserve levels, making the tests closer to real-world conditions. As only the second watch brand to achieve the METAS certification, the new Black Bay Ceramic marks a major step forward for Tudor.
Inside the Case
The movement is an in-house MT5602-1U, whose silicon hairspring helps make it less susceptible to temperature change and features a “weekend-proof” 70-hour power reserve to keep it running for nearly three days between windings. Aside from that, it’s one of the nicest-looking movements Tudor has made to date, with a very cool engraved tungsten rotor and satin-brushed details visible through the display case back. Like all new Tudor watches, it’s also backed by a five-year guarantee.
Familiar Look, New Details
Keen-eyed observers will note similarities between the new Black Bay Ceramic to a one-off watch produced by Tudor for the infamous Only Watch auction in 2019. That piece, called the Black Bay Ceramic One, featured a similar ceramic case design and blacked-out dial and sold for a remarkable 350,000 CHF (all of which went to charity). The new Black Bay Ceramic takes some cues from its predecessor, namely the scratch-proof ceramic case, while adding a few noteworthy details of its own. In addition to hour indicators and Tudor’s trademark “Snowflake” hands coated with pale Super-LumiNova, this model also comes with a woven strap with a cream strip, and a very interesting leather/rubber hybrid strap with matching black PVD-coated steel hardware. Both new and familiar, the new Black Bay Ceramic may not be the watch anyone was expecting, but in this case, that’s a very good thing.
All images courtesy of Tudor.