The Tudor Black Bay 79230n – A Modern Interpretation of Vintage Styling
Tudor is a special brand that has a history and heritage that many watchmakers would love to claim. Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf created the brand in 1926, but the company has grown its own legacy in recent years. Tudor watches are now among the most sought-after models on the market, often seeing the same long wait times and second-hand markups that Rolex watches do.
Where early Tudors were essentially Rolex cases with less desirable movements inside, the company’s recent timepieces feature advanced technology and movements that rival those of its parent company. The Tudor Black Bay 79230N is one of those watches. It comes packed with a rich history that matches its high-tech, high-precision case and movement.
Design That Blends History and Modern Design
Where Rolex is focused on history and incremental steps forward with its storied designs, Tudor is less restricted by heritage. It’s able to take chances that its corporate parent cannot, which has led to the brand creating some of the most iconic watch designs in recent memory. The Black Bay line is a great example of that freedom, as the watches feature design elements that tie them tightly to the timepieces of Tudor’s past, while the modern case sizes and color choices are firmly of today’s time.
Looking at the Black Bay reference 79230N, it’s easy to see how well Tudor is able to pull off the fusion of old and new. The angular “snowflake” hands are a throwback to the Tudor Submariner, which was produced over several decades from the 1960s through the 1990s. The same holds true for the hour markers, which like Tudors of old are round with rectangular markers at three, six, and nine o’clock. Here, the slightly faded black dial accents the gold surrounds on the hours markers and the gold of the hands.
Rugged But Elegant Case
Even though many people would struggle to call the Black Bay a dive watch, the 79230N’s robust 200m/660ft water resistance rating means it can go almost anywhere and do almost anything its wearer chooses. That water tightness is just the cherry on top of a case that features a modern size and intricate finishing.
The 41mm steel case sides are polished in areas to create accent points that pick up and reflect the light, but the majority of the Black Bay’s case front has a satin finish for a more rugged and utilitarian look. The case shoulders have been beveled just slightly, but the finishing becomes more dramatic on the lugs, where the beveling becomes heavier.
Looking at the watch head-on from either 12 or six o’clock, it’s easy to see the Black Bay’s Rolex DNA. The shape and curve of the lugs are both calls back to the Submariners and Sea-Dwellers that built the Crown Brand’s reputation. One thing that doesn’t pay homage to Rolex is the Black Bay’s ability to look just as stunning on a leather or textile strap as it does on a bracelet. The modern 22mm lug width opens up a world of strap and aftermarket bracelet choices, but none are as exquisite as the straps that Tudor itself makes for its watches.
Beyond water resistance, more dive watch-ness shows up in the Black Bay’s bezel, which on the 79230N is matte black and rotating, just as it would be on a full-fledged diver. Here, the ten-minute markers are painted onto the aluminum bezel, and a prominent lume pip sits at 12 o’clock inside a flash of red paint. At nearly 15 mm thick, the 79230N is not a dainty watch, but the relatively short 50mm width makes it an easy and attractive timepiece to wear on a variety of wrist sizes and shapes.
Advanced In-House Movement
ETA movements powered early Black Bay models, but Tudor pressed forward in recent years to create its own movement. The previous movements were reliable and easily serviceable almost anywhere. However, they lack the prestige and desirability that an in-house caliber carries. The Tudor MT5602 that lives under the 79230N’s caseback features a 70-hour power reserve, a silicon hair spring, a free-spring balance, and a COSC chronometer certification. The use of an in-house movement is a rare sight in watches under the $5,000 mark. Not only does it make the Black Bay a special timepiece, it means that every bit under the 79230N’s hood is backed by Tudor’s decades of watchmaking experience. Beyond that, the MT5602 has proven itself to be reliable and accurate in the years since its introduction.
Looking at the Tudor Black Bay 79230N, it’s hard to think of a better “one watch.” There are few situations where the watch would feel or look out of place. Its heavy-duty water resistance rating means it’ll stand up to every bit of the abuse that comes from a life lived on the move.