While the Black Bay line references a range of TUDOR’s early dive watches, the all-new Black Bay 54 is the most true-to-form example of TUDOR’s first dive watch, the reference 7922. The 37mm case retains the classic proportions of yesteryear, yet boasts the technical prowess of TUDOR’s time-only Manufacture Calibre MT5400 and a 200m depth rating. True to form, the unidirectional bezel is devoid of any graduated hash marks, echoing the days of the early '50 when SCUBA diving was in its infancy and TUDOR produced a watch for those daring enough to engage with the burgeoning sport. The new aesthetic details, however, don’t stop at the case dimensions and bezel. The seconds hand recalls the look of the original with a lollipop design. Ergonomics have evolved as well, with a redesigned crown and bezel, both featuring historical proportions.
The Black Bay line was conceived with the past in mind. Honouring the important designs that laid the foundation of TUDOR’s unique aesthetic is of the highest importance. While the Black Bay line has always incorporated signature elements of past TUDOR dive watches, the Black Bay 54 is perhaps the most true-to-form Black Bay to have been created thus far. The Oyster Prince Submariner reference 7922 is a formidable candidate to draw inspiration from, as it was known to have been evaluated and consequently adopted by the French and US Navies and widely used by diving professionals. The earliest iterations of the 7922 used a “small crown” and eschewed the later emblematic red triangle at 12 o’clock for a cleaner, more uniform aesthetic. The Black Bay 54 follows this tradition. In fact, the Black Bay 54 recalls a number of small design details that make a big difference. Take the hands for instance, in addition to proportional adjustments, they’re pinched at the base, the same way they appeared in 1954. The bezel edge has been redesigned as well, with a modernized take on the ergonomic pattern of the 7922. Of course, the Black Bay 54 still features thoroughly modern touches, like a subtle satin radial-brushed dial and a “T-fit” clasp for the perfect fit. And of course, the cutting-edge Manufacture Calibre MT5400.
The Manufacture Calibre MT5400, with which the Black Bay 54 is equipped, displays hour, minute and second functions. It has the finish typical of TUDOR Manufacture Calibres: Its rotor in tungsten monobloc is openwork and satin-brushed with sand-blasted details, and its bridges and mainplate have alternate sand-blasted, polished surfaces and laser decorations.
Its build is designed to ensure robustness and precision. To do this, the variable inertia balance wheel is maintained by a sturdy traversing bridge with a two-point anchoring. This system, together with its non-magnetic silicon hairspring, enables the Manufacture Calibre MT5400 to function within a tolerance range of 6 seconds (-2/+4) tested on a fully assembled watch.
Another notable feature is that the power reserve of the MT5400 Manufacture Calibre is “weekend-proof”; that is to say, it has a 70-hour power reserve, which enables the wearer to take the watch off on a Friday evening and put it back on again on Monday morning without having to wind it. Even if you need a weekend away, your watch does not.
The Black Bay 54 is fitted with an entirely satin-brushed 3-link steel bracelet, complete with the TUDOR “T-fit” clasp equipped with a system for rapid length adjustment. Easy to use, requiring no tools and offering five positions, this practical system allows wearers to carry out a fine, instant adjustment of the total length of the bracelet along an adjustment window of 8mm. The clasp features ceramic ball bearings that ensure a smooth and secure closure in addition to adding a pleasing tactile element to the action of the clasp.
A black rubber strap option is also available for the Black Bay 54. The strap comes in three sizes complete with the TUDOR “T-fit” clasp, and for the perfect fit, it is able to be cut down to the exact size of the wearer’s wrist. Inside it features the signature snowflake motif for added grip, and it is form-fitted specifically for the Black Bay 54.