Tudor is throwing off its image as Rolex’s diffusion line and carving a far more distinct identify for itself as a brand more happy to be measured against Omega.
This is not an official line, but it will be an achievement if the watch-loving community starts appreciating Tudor as a business standing on its own two feet, and capable of getting its Black Bay watches on the same jeweler’s tray as a Seamaster.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
The comparison to Omega is pertinent because Tudor has introduced a new movement, produced by Kenissi (a joint venture owned by Tudor, Breitling and Chanel), that is not only COSC-certified, but also meets the higher standards of METAS.
Omega, until now, has been the only watchmaker to put its watches through the rigorous METAS master chronometer testing programme, which rates watches in simulated real world conditions. For example, it checks for accuracy when the power reserve is full and when it is at 33%.
Tudor’s new manufacture caliber MT5602-1U, which has the METAS master chronometer certification, is used in black ceramic Black Bay watch that launches this week.
It has a silicon balance spring that is unaffected by magnetic fields and 70 hour power reserve.
Tudor is so confident in the watch and its movement that it has given it a five year warranty, with no requirement to service it within that period.
The 41mm Black Bay Ceramic has an open case back showing the movement, which has also been given a black treatment.
Its black dial and black ceramic bezel both have a sunray finish, but it is not all black because Tudor has used cream-colored Super-Luminova for the indexes and hands.
Black Bay dials normally have the water resistance rating on the dial below centre, but Tudor has changed this to say Black Bay above Master Chronometer to highlight the METAS certification.
It is actually quite hard to read in real life since the wording is in grey on a black face, but future watches using the MT5602-1U movement are sure to adopt the same working on the dial in a more prominent way.
At $4,725, the Black Bay Ceramic is in the same price range as a Breitling SuperOcean and around $1,000 cheaper than the entry level Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra, which is also master chronometer certified.
And, if there were a ceramic Seamaster Aqua Terra, it might be another $1,500 on top.