Tudor Black Bay Dark Review
The Black Bay is, without a doubt, the most celebrated model Tudor makes, so when Tudor decided to shake it up and offer a contemporary-styled version of their vintage model, the world took notice. The aptly-named "Dark" is that model, the very first, and so far only, contemporary-themed model in the growing Black Bay lineup. Obviously, it includes a black case and (optional) bracelet, but it also benefits from the new in-house movement upgrade.
The Tudor Black Bay has evolved from a single model, then to a color-coded variety of models, and finally in 2016, a complete line of watches. All of the existing models received major updates, but several all-new versions were released, like the Bronze, the 36 and, of course, this "Dark."
Of the three, I find the 36 and this Dark the most philosophically interesting. I've already discussed the 36 in my recent review, which I found interesting because it was such a departure from the case of the existing Black Bays, but the Dark is interesting for an entirely different reason: it's not a particularly "vintagey" vintage watch.
In fact, I'd say the Dark is a downright "tactical" looking watch. I'd also say it looks flat out awesome. But the one thing I wouldn't call it is vintage. The black case and red accents are pretty provocative. This poses a bit of an interesting question as to its place in the overall Tudor lineup. Before 2016, we all knew (or thought we knew) that the Pelagos was the contemporary dive watch and the Black Bay was the vintage dive watch. But that's no longer obviously true.
That doesn't mean it's not still a Black Bay, of course. The Snowflake hands, the Black Bay's hour markers, the unidirectional bezel: they're all right where you'd expect them.
One of my favorite elements, the big crown from the Submariner Big Crown, remains, and screws down for 200 meters of water resistance.
Here's a good look at the black coating Tudor uses. There's been a bit of confusion as to what exactly it is. It is, in fact, applied by PVD, but PVD itself is a process, not actually the coating. We've just clarified what exactly the coating is with Tudor, and it's titanium carbide, an ultra-hard coating but not technically DLC. Titanium carbide was chosen because it didn't obscure the finishing of the case. In this photo, you can actually see the brushing of the steel underneath the coating.
Since the Black Bay Dark is a new model, it's probably not quite accurate to say it's been updated, but suffice it to say that the new Black Bays, excepting the 36, received the absolutely terrific in-house MT-5602 movement. This is also what allows it to have that Chronometer designation on the dial.
The lume is, as far as I can tell, pretty much the same as other Black Bays, but that only means that it's stellar. I'd say that Tudor is consistently in the top 10% in terms of lume application and brightness in the watches I review.
Is the world ready for an edgier, more contemporary Black Bay? I think so. It does become a bit confusing within the broader Black Bay context, but it's not as if the Black Bay Dark steps on the Pelagos' toes. As of this writing, there is no "dark" equivalent among the Pelagoses, or really most places in Tudor's lineup, Black Shield excepted.
In fact, the Black Bay dark is, without question, my favorite Black Bay model. The others are wonderful, don't get me wrong, but the Dark just looks cooler. Frankly, it's the coolest watch Tudor makes. The combination of the iconic Snowflake hands, the big crown, the all-black case and dial, along with the bright red accents, just really makes the watch pop.
Naturally, you don't have to agree with me on the Dark. If you think the Dark is just too edgy, or too modern, the original three models make their return, now with in-house movements, as well as an even more vintage-inspired Bronze or the smaller, dressier 36. The only thing that really changed was that you now have so many more options.
I think Tudor is in their renaissance.