The Top Five Tudor Black Bay Models
 

The Top Five Tudor Black Bay Models

5 min read
Rob Nudds

Brands

Tudor

Categories

Watch Buying Guide

Rob Nudds

Brands

Tudor

Categories

Watch Buying Guide

5. Tudor black Bay 54 M79000N-0001

Tudor black Bay 54 M79000N-0001Tudor black Bay 54 M79000N-0001 - Credit Tudor

You might have expected this pint-sized 37 mm beauty to rank higher on my list, but I guess I’m somewhat immune to the recency bias that has hyped this model’s reputation to almost iconic status within a year or so of its release.

However, it was a sensitive move by Tudor and one that should be applauded. The 58 went someway to solving the slab-sided case issue of the original Black Bay Heritage models and the 54 model goes the extra mile. At 11.2 mm thick it’s nicely proportioned for its diameter. While the broad bezel does reduce the visual impact of the piece slightly, making it wear a touch smaller than you might expect, it balances superbly with the bracelet, which, for my money, is the only way to wear this piece. 

4. Tudor Black Bay Chronograph “JPS” M79363N-0002

Tudor Black Bay Chronograph “JPS” M79363N-0002Tudor Black Bay Chronograph “JPS” M79363N-0002 - Credit Tudor

I don’t like gold plating that much, but I’m a sucker for a black and gold colourway. As men my age often do, I refer to anything wrapped in this livery as a “John Player Special” version, which, for younger readers who may not have grown up around motor oil or tobacco smoke, is the name of a brand of cigarettes whose packets were all black with gold lettering and a formula 1 team sponsored by that same tab maker. 

This colourway, along with hazy memories of Jimmy White repeatedly losing the Embassy World Snooker Championship final, is cat-nip for early-nineties “nostalgists” like me. On the bund strap, it is even more devilish, and I’d wear it thusly arrayed without a second thought.

3. Tudor Black Bay GMT “Pepsi” 

Tudor Black Bay GMT “Pepsi”Tudor Black Bay GMT “Pepsi” on WatchGecko Ridge Military Nylon Watch Strap - 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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It’s low-hanging fruit, but it’s still fresh after several years on the market. I fully understand the excitement surrounding the release of the white dial GMT more recently, simply because Rolex refuses to issue what would be a dreamy model in the same colourway, but, quite frankly, it isn’t as good as the original black dial model. Of all the older Black Bay models, this one holds up the best by modern standards. 

2. Tudor Black Bay 36 (but the old one, if possible)

Tudor Black Bay 36Tudor Black Bay 36 - Credit Tudor

The plain black dial Tudor Black Bay 36 has, for a long time, been my favourite watch I don’t own. A few years back, I was asked to write an article about my perfect three-watch collection purchasable with a budget of €10,000. While my colleagues at Fratello played the game, often selecting three very different watches to fill their roll (selections fulfilling categories like GMT/Diver/Dress were common), I decided to take a different tack for my own amusement if nothing else.

I chose three 36 mm, time-only, stainless steel watches. The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Turquoise, the NOMOS Glashütte Club Campus Pink, and the Tudor Black Bay 36. Had the NOMOS been available on a metal bracelet at the time (which it STILL isn’t, but hopefully will be soon), the joke would have landed even better, but the idea was clearly expressed. Daily wear sports watches with a 36 mm diameter and metal bracelet are just about the most versatile thing you could ever buy to adorn your wrist, so why buy anything else?

Of the three watches I picked, the Tudor is obviously the least exciting but therefore likely the best choice of the three to comprise a one-watch collection. Its price is accessible but not dismissible. Its brand credentials are irrefutable. Its proportions and muted colourway are suitable for work or play, jeans or slacks, shorts or skis, you name it. 

Yes, it nods to the Rolex Explorer but doesn’t suckle from its teat so shamelessly as the BB Pro does with the Explorer II, or the Ranger does with Rolex’s archives in general. The handset and markers make a massive difference and my favourite iteration of the BB36, the ETA/Sellita powered version which was identified by the “smiley” text between six and centre, stood even further apart. 

And so that would be my choice if you can find one on the secondary market. They’re not commanding a huge sum right now and they are extremely good pick-ups. Easily serviceable with their almost-current components readily available, you can’t ask for a more carefree secondhand purchase.

1. Tudor Black Bay Black M7941A1A0NU-0001

Tudor Black Bay Black M7941A1A0NU-0001Tudor Black Bay Black M7941A1A0NU-0001 - Credit Tudor

To be frank, I wasn’t all that impressed with Tudor’s Watches and Wonders releases in 2024. The “big” news was the “Rolex Group’s” decision to finally bring the “Coke” GMT bezel back to life (albeit with the wrong brand). This apparent home run swing turned out to be a whiff of the highest order, with a lot of nice ideas on paper (the size, the gilt hands and markers, and the creamy lume), badly missing the mark in real life. 

It wasn’t a disaster, but it was a missed opportunity to do something truly memorable. Meanwhile, the Black Bay collection welcomed another model that I’m sure nobody expected to grab the headlines. Of course, I’m not talking about the all-gold, olive dial and bezel fitted model (another head-scratching misstep in my opinion), but rather the exceptionally boring yet exceptional Black Bay in…black. It is actually a travesty that this piece is a novelty. How Tudor has avoided adding a crisp, monochromatic version of its classic heritage model for this long is almost beyond me, but it speaks highly of the brand’s success in milking the heritage core for all it was worth before debuting the model many might have expected to debut the line.

The model itself is gloriously simple and a plainly worded love letter to the excellent work done by current Bremont CEO Davide Cerrato on the Black Bay line before he departed for Mont Blanc. Tudor resisted the urge to dress up this piece with the dreaded sunburst dial finish (that suddenly seems popular on tool watches, suggesting to me a serious lack of ideas in areas that make sense for the genre), and let the silhouette and functionality breathe.

It’s a quiet stunner and one that deserves to hang around in the collection for many years, but it is also a model that needs to be seen in the metal and on the wrist to appreciate fully. So don’t delay! Head down to your local Tudor boutique as soon as possible and experience the most sensible and satisfying thing Tudor has done for a while.

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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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