The Biggest Tudor News in 2023
September 22, 2023
Tudor becomes more competitive than ever with several novelties and an advanced new
Tudor is an undeniably popular brand. According to the 2021 and 2022 Morgan Stanley reports on the Swiss watch industry, Tudor has seen an increase in sales of over 11%, totaling around 550 million CHF last year. Tudor also comprised roughly 2% of the Swiss watch market share, which is already dominated by the brand’s parent company Rolex.
This year, Tudor made several upgrades to existing collections, reintroduced the Black Bay Burgundy (the watch credited with the brand’s recent revival), and debuted several novel dial colors and case sizes. The inauguration of a state-of-the-art facility in Le Locle and the introduction of the company's first METAS Master Chronometer certified watches are
representative of Tudor’s maturity as a brand, proving the company can compete with Rolex’s rivals even as it retains its “entry-level luxury” status.
The Black Bay 54 Is an Instant Hit
Perhaps Tudor’s best-received novelty this year, the Black Bay 54 is a logical release after the astonishingly successful Black Bay 58. While the new model retains the collection’s neo-vintage design, there are some key differences. Most obviously, the BB54 has a diameter of 37 millimeters, two millimeters smaller than the BB58 and four millimeters smaller than the standard Black Bay. The bezel also lacks the red accent and gilt markers present on the BB58. Lastly, the BB54 is equipped with Tudor’s new “T-fit” clasp, allowing quick bracelet resizing on he fly. With this release, Tudor widens the market for the Black Bay to include more women,men with smaller wrists, and vintage watch aficionados looking for something closer to the original Tudor Submariner from 1954.
The Black Bay Burgundy Is Back with a Master Chronometer Movement
The 2023 Black Bay Burgundy revives the red/black/gilt colorway of the original Heritage Black Bay released in 2012. This year’s release has several key improvements, the most notable being the increased movement spec. The MT5602-U caliber inside the BB Burgundy now bears the METAS Master Chronometer certification. To recieve this certification, each watch must undergo stringent testing to ensure magnetic resistance, waterproofness, accuracy to the stated power reserve, and a maximum daily deviation of -0/+5 seconds. To give some perspective, that range of deviation is one second less than Tudor’s internal -2/+4 standard and five seconds less than COSC’s -4/+6 standard.
The exterior received some upgrades too. Although the diameter remains 41 millimeters, the case is now 0.8 millimeters thinner at a wearable 13.6 millimeters. Tudor also slightly tweaked the knurling on the bezel edge–the teeth are now less coin-like and slightly larger. The previously matte black dial now includes a subtle sunburst finish. The model is available on a new five-link bracelet that is impossible to not compare to Rolex’s Jubilee bracelet. Like the Black Bay 54, the bracelet also features a “T-fit” clasp. The model costs $4,550 at retail, around $1,400 less than an Omega Seamaster Diver 300M and $5,000 less than a Rolex Submariner.
The Black Bay 31/36/39/41 Lineup Gets Some Much-Needed Attention
The Black Bay 31/36/39/41 lineup has long been outshined by its dive watch counterparts in the collection. While the Black Bay dive watches received in-house movements, these references lagged behind, featuring modified ETA or Sellita movements. The new releases amend this problem; each size uses a COSC-certified manufacture caliber in the MT5000 series, delivering a superior power reserve in addition to exclusivity.
Several aesthetic updates bolster the lineup’s revival. A tasteful sunburst effect replaces the previously matte finish of the dial. The new steel model comes in three colors: anthracite with gilt markers, champagne, and blue. Tudor has also improved the case, including a sleeker screw-down crown and more rounded case sides. However, the water resistance has fallen from 150 meters to a still respectable 100. Notably, all models are paired with the new five-link, Jubilee-inspired bracelet with a “T-fit” clasp. With these improvements comes an increase in price from around $3000 to 4000 (price varies depending on size). The updates position the watch closer to Rolex Oyster Perpetual territory, offering the same versatile, time-only, “daily wearer” appeal.
The Black Bay GMT Gets a Polar Dial
The only difference in this new Black Bay GMT is its dial. The release does not receive any of the improvements other Tudors did like the modified bezel knurling of the Black Bay Burgundy or the “T-fit” clasp. That said, the red and blue “Pepsi” bezel and opaline dial make an undeniably pretty color combination. It’s difficult not to view the Black Bay GMT as an alternative to the Rolex GMT Master. In this case, Tudor offers a color combination not found on GMT Masters except very rare vintage models.
Two New Dial Colors for the Tudor Royal
The minor additions to the Tudor Royal collection may be the least important Tudor news to come out of Watches & Wonders 2023. To those unfamiliar with the model family, the Royal offers a unique alternative to the ever-popular integrated-bracelet, “elegant sports” watches from brands like Patek Philippe and Bulgari. The design is defined by a day-date complication and bold Roman numerals. The model is now available with a trendy salmon dial or a chocolate brown dial paired with a two-tone case.
The Pelagos Collection Receives Two Special Editions, Including a? Chronograph
In June, Tudor announced two new Pelagos models in collaboration with Alinghi Red Bull Racing, a yacht racing team in the America’s Cup. The Pelagos FXD and Pelagos FXD Chrono Alinghi Red Bull Racing Editions both feature carbon composite cases and titanium bezels with arbon inserts. The time-only model retains the 42-millimeter size of the standard Pelagos while the chronograph was upsized to 43. Both feature fixed spring bars and single-piece fabric straps. The dials are matte blue with red accents to match the racing team’s colors, and the name of the racing team is incorporated into the minute track on the dial’s periphery. The two models use Tudor’s manufacture calibers, with the chronograph featuring the MT5813 movement found in Black Bay Chrono models. The Pelagos FXD Chrono is priced at $5,075, while the time-only will set you back 3,675. This release is pretty big news for the Pelagos line. Not only has Tudor introduced an entirely new dive watch case, but it has also added the first hronograph to the collection. The addition may foretell future Pelagos chronograph models in more versatile styles.
The Tudor Pelagos FXD Is Now Available in Black
Announced in September, the black-dialed Pelagos FXD is the American alternative to the French-inspired original. Besides a switch to a unidirectional bezel, the release features the same titanium case, 200 meters of water resistance, and the manufacture movement of the Pelagos FXD announced in 2021. While that model was designed after France’s Marine Nationale, the new black model takes inspiration from vintage U.S. Navy-issued models of the ‘50s and ‘60s. While not a major departure from the original, the new model offers additional value through this heritage. The watch is priced at $4,150
The New Tudor Manufacture Is Big News
In March, Tudor inaugurated a 5,500-square-meter manufacture in Le Locle, Switzerland. Built between 2018 and 2021, the facility houses assembly, testing, and quality control. The new building is connected to the neighboring Kenissi manufacturing plant. Kenissi is Tudor’s movement subsidiary launched by the brand in 2016.
Notably, the plant’s capabilities include METAS testing, which is already being used to certify the new Black Bay models as Master Chronometers. The addition of METAS-certified chronometers positions Tudor to compete with Omega, which famously uses METAS testing to certify its own Master Chronometers. This move is shrewd. Tudor is exceedingly useful to Rolex because it can compete with would-be rivals at lower price points without affecting the untouchable?? Prestige of the Rolex name. In other words, Rolex is saying, “Watch out Omega. We’re coming? for you.”
While the Tudor brand as a whole remains more affordable than Omega and Rolex and retains some of its niche appeal, it’s clear from the new facility, the development of METAS testing capabilities, and the company’s recent watch upgrades and price hikes that Tudor is going upmarket. Given its continued success and maturity, the days when Tudor was thought of as some secret bargain for enthusiasts are all but gone.
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