Top 5 Tudor Models That Aren’t Black Bays
 

Top 5 Tudor Models That Aren’t Black Bays

5 min read
Rob Nudds

Brands

Tudor

Categories

Watch Buying Guide

Rob Nudds

Brands

Tudor

Categories

Watch Buying Guide

Writing Top Five lists is always a lot of fun. Every so often, however, an assignment comes one’s way that is a lot harder than it seems on the surface. Tudor, as a brand, has had almost peerless success since its barnstorming return to the market in 2009. Massive investment from Rolex, its sister brand, helped a great deal, but it wouldn’t have made as much hay as it has were it not for the models offered to the public. 

While there have been several egregious misses in the brand’s recent history, one undeniable hit was the Black Bay line, which has spawned countless iterations playing on the same concept. But when tasked with choosing the Top Five Tudor models that aren’t Black Bays, I realised how few came to mind (and, when they did, how even fewer came attached with a positive feeling). 

Tudor Black Bay 58Tudor Black Bay 58 on WatchGecko Ridge British Military Watch Strap - NTTD Bond - Credit WatchGecko

 
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WatchGecko Ridge British Military Watch Strap - Black & Orange
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WatchGecko Ridge British Military Watch Strap - Navy & White
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WatchGecko Ridge British Military Watch Strap - Black & Red
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I love the Black Bay 36. I think it’s a great alternative to the Rolex Explorer and a solid everyday watch at a good price. But it’s a Black Bay. The new pink chronograph is cool, but, unfortunately for this list, it’s also classed as a Black Bay. The entire “Classic” line should be retired tomorrow, in my opinion, and the ladies’ watches look like a serious afterthought (although thankfully most women who like Tudor are more than aware that the entire catalogue is available to them and not just the brazenly gendered models).

Writing a list of this nature and having anything but Pelagos models in the line-up is therefore a challenge, but, thankfully, squirrelled away in the corner of the Tudor collection, there are one or two gems capable of breaking up the Pelagos monopoly below...

5. Tudor Ranger

Tudor RangerTudor Ranger - Credit WatchGecko

You don’t have to do too much Googling or listen to too many podcasts (that I’m on) to find out my opinion of the Tudor Ranger. I can barely stand it. However, despite it being a watch I would never buy (because I think it’s duller than very dull dishwater and a poor effort from a brand that should be swinging for the fences rather than making milquetoast imitations of its bigger sibling’s watches), it’s not a bad watch in itself. More importantly, it’s affordable, versatile, and a veritable strap monster.

My personal feelings aside, it is a very solid watch. If you feel that Tudor is doing exactly what it should be doing by making downgraded versions of Rolex’s models and not being shy about it (which, let’s face it, isn’t a million miles away from Hans Wilsdorf’s original intentions for the brand), then this is a genuinely interesting model outside of the Black Bay family.

4. Tudor Pelagos FXD Marine Nationale

Tudor Pelagos FXD Marine NationaleTudor Pelagos FXD Marine Nationale - Credit WatchGecko

The FXD line is a cool concept that lends itself to strap experimentation but does not have the mass appeal of the standard Pelagos line in my opinion. However, the blue-on-blue version created for the Marine Nationale has achieved something of a cult status and would easily be my pick of the four references currently available in this sub-family.

3. Tudor Pelagos M25600TN-0001 (Black) 

Tudor Pelagos M25600TN-0001 (Black)Tudor Pelagos M25600TN-0001 (Black) - Credit Tudor

 
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ZULUDIVER Maverick (MK II) Sailcloth Waterproof Watch Strap - Black / Orange
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ZULUDIVER Maverick (MK II) Sailcloth Waterproof Watch Strap - Black / Blue
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ZULUDIVER Maverick (MK II) Sailcloth Waterproof Watch Strap - Black / Grey
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Once upon a time, I commissioned a column dedicated to “The Best Boring Watches” that money could buy. The Tudor Pelagos M25600TN-0001 (the 42 mm black one) could easily top that list. It’s an incredible piece — a “Sub-killer”. The quality of the machining comes through on the wrist and it absolutely sings in natural light in a way press pictures could never do justice. Although it is my second favourite Pelagos (see the top pick for my favourite), every time I see one in the wild, I wonder why I don’t own one. It truly is a great example of how Tudor can make the most out of Rolex’s know-how without being too lazy in the process.

 2. Tudor (Black Bay) P01

Tudor (Black Bay) P01Tudor (Black Bay) P01 - Credit Tudor

Okay. So I cheated. The P01 is technically part of the Black Bay line, but come on. Is it really? This is one of the most derided, shunned, and brutally awkward watches the brand has ever released. You could argue it has a lug system only a mother could love. And yet, for all its Quasimodo-esque grossness, it’s a classic. Classic nonsense, maybe, but a classic nonetheless. 

And yes, it’s a Black Bay, but it’s clearly the one model that the other Black Bays don’t invite to parties. It’s too weird. Too within itself. Too likely to cause a scene. That’s why it should be removed from the Black Bay range entirely and set up in its own wacko corner of the Tudor Universe as a “skunkworks” model. It would be a nice opportunity for Tudor to bring back some of its other more ambitious and misunderstood models like the Fastrider or North Flag — models that didn’t get a fair enough shake or were simply released at the wrong time.

1. Tudor Pelagos LHD 

Tudor Pelagos LHDTudor Pelagos LHD - Credit Tudor

It’s been my favourite Tudor since it first hit the shelves in 2016. Its gorgeous creamy colourway and roulette date wheel meshed perfectly with the matte titanium case, which looks equally handsome and ready for action on either the titanium bracelet (which boasts one of the best quick adjusts in the industry) or the black rubber strap.

The first time I saw one of these in real life was on the wrist of the late, great Simon Cudd, photographer and friend to all, and I darn near dislocated his shoulder trying to snatch it from him. My love for it has not diminished since.

When it first debuted, Tudor was very coy about whether or not it was limited to a certain number. Eventually, the message came down that it was “limited production” and that each model would have its very own number, but that the number wouldn’t really mean anything. That rankled with me slightly, as although I abhor the FOMO culture, I at least like to know where I stand when it comes to acquiring a watch that commands a decent sum at retail.

As it turns out, Tudor was simply testing the water. Realising the brand had a hit on its hands, the powers that be clearly took the decision to keep it around, and while it (as with any model in the Tudor catalogue) is never 100% safe from discontinuation, it has since become a de facto core model and seems likely to hang around a while longer.

Which is great news for anyone who loves good watches and for anyone else charged with writing a Top Five Tudor Models That Aren’t Black Bays list.

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Rob Nudds

About the Author: Rob Nudds

Rob started working in the watch industry for the Signet Group, aged 17. Following university, he undertook the WOSTEP course at the British School of Watchmaking, developing a keen interest in watchmaking theory. After graduating, he worked primarily for Omega and Bremont before leaving the bench in 2015 to become Head of Sales for NOMOS Glashütte in the UK. After three years of managing an international retail network that grew to encompass 17 countries, he began writing full-time.

Since then, he has written for aBlogtoWatch, Fratello, Time & Tide, Grail Watch, SJX, Get Bezel, Borro Blog, Jomashop, Bob's Watches, Skolorr, Oracle Time, and Revolution USA.

He currently co-hosts The Real Time Show Podcast (www.therealtime.show) with his friend and long-time collaborator, Alon Ben Joseph of Ace Jewelers, Amsterdam, as well as working with several brands as a consultant in the fields of brand building, product development, global retail strategy, and communications. Follow him on Instagram @robnudds.

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