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Up Close with the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight – Smaller, Slimmer and Better

With a newly developed, in-house movement to boot.

Named after Tudor‘s first dive watch, the ref. 7924 launched in 1958, the Black Bay Fifty-Eight is what traditionally minded aficionados have been hoping for – a trimmer, sleeker Black Bay.

The original Black Bay, much beloved and Tudor’s bestselling Heritage model by a large margin, is vintage-inspired but distinctly modern in dimensions, 41mm in diameter and sitting high on the wrist, making it is a big watch.

The Black Bay Fifty-Eight moves decisively in the other direction. While keeping its signature design elements like the polished bevel on the lugs, the case is 39mm in diameter and thinner than the original Black Bay, at just 11.9mm high, compared to over 14mm for its bigger brother. When juxtaposed against the 41mm Black Bay, the smaller case feels almost elegant.

The Black Bay Fifty-Eight with its fabric strap to match rose gilt accents on dial

Not just downsized, the case has slightly tweaked proportions, with narrower lugs that complements the retro style. To match the case, the “rivet” bracelet that’s standard for the Black Bay diver has been downsized, but keeps the same vintage look (but modern, solid link construction with the “rivets” being inserts on the sides of the links).

Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 79030N-5

Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 79030N-6

The unfussy feel continues with the straightforward steel crown tube, which replaces the coloured crown tube that’s standard on the larger Black Bay.

Another new feature, which is also found on the other new Black Bay models, is the relief logo on the crown, replacing the earlier engraved and lacquered logo

Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 79030N-3

The crystal stays sapphire with a modest dome, while the bezel has a red triangle marker at 12 o’clock.

More unusual are the rose gold-tone markings on the bezel, a novel touch that feels surprisingly vintage despite being an entirely modern invention. That is matched with rose gold markings on the dial which has the same matte, grained finish of the original Black Bay.

Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 79030N-4

The rose gold dial markings create a surprisingly optical effect: though the Super-Luminova on the hands and dial is an off-white, or even ivory tone – it’s the exact same shade as on the Pelagos LHD in fact – the lume appears flat white against the rose gilt hour markers and hands. That is a good thing, because the retro looks does not feel like an affectation.

Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 79030N-1

Perhaps the only drawback of the smaller size is the fact that the logo and text on the dial, and also the hands, are essentially identical to that of the 41mm Black Bay, which leaves them appearing comparatively larger.


More significant than the stylistic features is the fact that the Black Bay Fifty-Eight is equipped with a brand new calibre, the MT5402. It is not merely one of Tudor’s larger movements with resized base plate, the MT5402 is a whole new calibre that is substantially smaller.

Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 79030N-8

One of the rare few smaller movements that were recently developed – uncommon since watches have trended larger – the MT5402 is 26mm, or 11.5”’, the same size as the workhorse ETA 2892. But the MT5402 is thicker at 4.99mm, and as highly spec’ed as Tudor’s larger movements.

Tudor MT5402 movement

That means the MT5402 has a 70-hour power reserve, non-magnetic silicon hairspring and a free-sprung, adjustable mass balance wheel. It’s also COSC-certified.


Price and availability 

The Black Bay Fifty-Eight (ref. 79030N) will be available starting July 2018. It costs US$3250 or SFr3100 on a leather or fabric strap, and US$3575 or SFr3400 on the steel bracelet.


 

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Bigger and made of bronze, the new Tudor Black Bay is also powered by an in-house, self-winding movement. Specs and price below.

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Hands-On with Eric Clapton’s Custom, Breguet-Numeral Patek Philippe Ref. 5970/1G

A elegantly striking watch made for Slowhand.

One of the top lots of Sotheby’s upcoming watch auction in Hong Kong has a familiar ring to it: a Patek Philippe ref. 5970/1G with a custom dial commissioned by Eric Clapton. The musician was once a prominent collector of watches in the mid-2000s, and presumably by virtue of his celebrity, was able to obtain several unusual Patek Philippe watches with special dials, including several ref. 5004 split-seconds chronographs and also various ref. 3970s. Mr Clapton has since sold most of the watches, with several having come up for sale at auction and privately.

Of the diverse styles of custom ref. 5970s made, the example in Sotheby’s sale is one of the most handsome variants. It was delivered in 2006 as part of a set of four ref. 5970s, each with a different case metal and dial colour but the same dial style and “brick” bracelet. In 2015 Sotheby’s sold the pink gold example for SFr405,000, fees included.

Patek Philippe 5970G Eric Clapton Breguet numbers 1

The accompanying certificate dutifully notes everything that’s special about the watch, which is complete with paraphernalia and accessories. “Index Breguet”, “Bracelet Or Gris” and of course, “Monsieur Eric Clapton” of “Londres, U.K.”.

Credit Sotheby’s

Unlike other custom dial ref. 5970s made for Mr Clapton and other notables, this example doesn’t try to do too much to be special. The only change from a stock dial are the Breguet numerals for the hours, yet it is sufficient to give the watch a strikingly different look, one that is sure to please a fan of traditional Patek Philippe styling.

Patek Philippe 5970G Eric Clapton Breguet numbers 2

Patek Philippe 5970G Eric Clapton Breguet numbers 3

Patek Philippe 5970G Eric Clapton Breguet numbers 8

Also unusual is the heavy “brick” bracelet that is original to the watch. Comprised of five links across and wholly polished, the bracelet gives the watch a tremendous degree of physical and visual heft.

But perhaps the most notable feature of this watch is its condition. Practically every other Clapton custom watch that has come to market has been in pristine condition, with nary a trace of Mr Clapton ever having worn it.

In contrast, this watch has been well worn, reputedly having been one of Mr Clapton’s favourites. There exist several photos of him in public sporting what appears to be this watch. And the subsequent owner(s) of this specimen also appear to have worn the watch often.

Patek Philippe 5970G Eric Clapton Breguet numbers 6

Patek Philippe 5970G Eric Clapton Breguet numbers 7

The rest of the watch is identical to the stock model, with a 40mm white gold case and the Lemania-based cal. CH 27-70 Q inside.

Patek Philippe 5970G Eric Clapton Breguet numbers 4

Patek Philippe 5970G Eric Clapton Breguet numbers 5

The Clapton ref. 5970G is lot 2917 and estimated at HK$2.4m to HK$4.0m, or US$307,000 to US$515,000.


Sale and exhibition information

Highlights from the auction will be on show in Taipei on March 17 and 18 at the Hua Nan Bank International Convention Center.

All the lots will then be on show in Hong Kong from March 29 to April 1 at the New Wing of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wanchai, Hong Kong.

Sotheby’s Important Watches Hong Kong auction takes place on April 2, 2018 in the same location. The full catalogue, along with online bidding, is available here.


 

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A Detailed History of Grand Seiko V.F.A., the Pinnacle of Japanese Chronometers

An account of the ultimate chronometers.

From the release of the very first Grand Seiko in 1960, through to the end of the production of mechanical Grand Seiko watches in 1975, one of the key aims of the brand was to produce watches that were as precise as possible. This quest for ultimate precision in a mechanical wristwatch reached its zenith with the V.F.A, short for “Very Fine Adjusted”, references that first launched in 1970.

The merely Grand, the Special and the VFA

Back in 1960, the Grand Seiko “First” was launched with its 3180 calibre designated as having achieved a chronometer standard of a mean daily rate across the 5 tested positions of between -3 and +12 seconds. It was the first wristwatch from Japan to receive an “excellent” rating from the Bureaux Officiels de Controle de la Marche des Montres, then Switzerland’s official chronometer testing agency. Consequently, the “First”, along with the subsequent 43999 and 5722-9990 references proudly displayed the “Chronometer” on their dials.

Following a decision by the Swiss agency that only watches tested in Switzerland could be referred to as chronometers, Grand Seiko could no longer label their watches as such, but the Japanese watchmaker responded in the best way possible. In 1966 Seiko introduced its own certification – the now famous “Grand Seiko Standard” of a mean daily rate of between -3 and +5 seconds. At the time, the Swiss standard – still under the auspices of the same chronometer testing agency – was between -1 and +10 seconds.

To this day, all mechanical watches from Grand Seiko are produced to at least meet this standard. But there are a few references, from both the vintage and modern periods, that go further. A lot further.

Apart from the “Grand Seiko Standard”, there were two further standards that defined even greater levels of chronometric performance. The “Grand Seiko Special Standard” delivered a mean daily rate of between -3 and +3 seconds per day; and the “Grand Seiko Very Fine Adjusted Standard”, achieved a mean daily rate of between -2 and +2 seconds per day. Not only that, but VFA watches were guaranteed to be accurate to within one minute per month for the first two years of ownership.

In this article we will take a look at all of the vintage VFA references, presenting them in the chronological order that they appear in official Seiko publications of the time, using scans from those publications and photographs of watches from privately owned collections.

Suwa Seikosha and Daini Seikosha

Vintage Grand Seikos were made by two different facilities – Suwa Seikosha and Daini Seikosha -an arrangement set up in 1959 by the parent Seiko group in order to create internal competition in the belief that this would lead to improved products.

And the strategy certainly worked, as throughout the 1960’s both Suwa and Daini would not only compete commercially, but also submit movements to the legendary Le Concours chronométrique de l`Observatoire de Neuchâtel, or Neuchâtel Observatory chronometer trials, culminating in Daini-made watches taking 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th positions in 1967.

Whilst it is important to stress that – unlike with Girard-Perregaux which also submitted prize-winning movements – none of Daini’s competition movements ever made it into wristwatches sold to the public, the lessons learned by both Suwa Seikosha and Daini Seikosha from creating movements for competition clearly would have been instrumental in the development of the VFA references.

Watches produced by the two factories can be identified by the different logos that appear on the dial above the six o’clock index.

Suwa Seikosha (left) and Daini Seikosha (right) logos

Suwa Seikosha (left) and Daini Seikosha (right) logos

Seiko reference numbers

Vintage Grand Seikos are identified by two different references. One reference can be found on their case backs and comprises of two sets of numbers. The first set identifies the movement – “6185”; and the second, the case design, “8010”. These two four digit codes are combined into a single code “6185-8010” that is stamped into the case back.

The other reference is one that is used in the official catalogues, and comprises the movement code and then three digits to identify a specific model utilising that movement. An example would be “6185 014”.

Typically, people will use the case back code to identify a specific reference, but this can lead to some confusion as a single case back code may be shared by more than one model. In order to prevent any possible confusion, for the purposes of this article we will refer to the references by first stating their catalogue code, and then in parentheses the case back code. First up will be the watch featured on the front page of the publication that introduced the VFA’s to the world – the 6185 014 (6185-8000).


The vintage Grand Seiko “Very Fine Adjusted” references

Here we detail each VFA reference, according to their debut in chronological Seiko catalogues and literature, starting with the January 1970 Seiko Sales newsletter.

Seiko Special Luxury catalogue, 1970 – the introduction of the VFA

The January 1970 Seiko Sales newsletter marks the debut of the VFA. Appearing on the cover is the Suwa Seikosha-made 6185 014 (6185-8000), notable for its silver-palladium alloy case and remarkable bracelet made from the same alloy.

Seiko 1969 Special Luxury Catalogue

Seiko 1969 Special Luxury Catalogue

This was the first time Seiko published a Special Luxury Catalogue, and marks the debut of the VFAs in an official Seiko publication. Appearing on the cover is the Suwa Seikosha-made 6185 014 (6185-8000), notable for its silver-palladium alloy case and remarkable bracelet made from the same alloy.

Grand Seiko 6185-014

Grand Seiko 6185-014

The 6185 014 is one of the rarest of all the vintage VFAs. Not only is this model hardly ever seen on sale – perhaps once every five years or so – but photographs of the reference are few and far between.

Turning to the inside pages of the catalogue, we are presented with a double page spread that shows the first four VFAs that were introduced in 1969.

Seiko 1969 Special Luxury Catalogue pages 8-9

Seiko 1969 Special Luxury Catalogue pages 8-9

Pictured in the catalogue next to the 6185 014 is one with the catalogue code 6185 024. It would appear from the catalogue shot that this reference is simply the same watch, but presented on a leather strap.

However, when we see this reference in the wild, it is clear there is a significant difference between the two.

Grand Seiko 6185 024 VFA. Note the applied Suwa Seikosha logo above the six o’clock index

Pictured above what the author believes represents the 6185 024 (6185-8010) as it was sold to the public. Note that the sides of the case have a hammered finish, whereas that on the 6185 014 (and also shown on the image of the 6185 024 in the newsletter) are smoothly polished.

It’s only conjecture, but possibly a single example of the 6185 014 was provided for photography, and shot both on its bracelet and on a leather strap.

The author has never seen an example of a smoothly polished cased 6185 014 without its accompanying bracelet. Not surprising when you consider the additional cost of that bracelet – it’s hardly a throwaway item. Conversely, every example of a 6185 024 that has been seen without a bracelet has the hammered case.

On the right hand page of the double page spread we see two more VFA references depicted.

On the left, again from Suwa Seikosha, is the 6185 030 (6185-8020).

Grand Seiko 6185 030 VFA

Grand Seiko 6185 030 VFA

This reference, like the two on the previous page, has the 6185A movement. It is notable for its striking three dimensional hour indices that could possibly have been inspired by the monolith from the film 2001 A Space Odyssey, which was released a year prior to the first known examples of this reference. The dimensions of the indices certainly appear to be based on the same 1:4:9 ratio as those of the monolith.

Macro shot of the hour indices on the Grand Seiko 6185 030 VFA

Macro shot of the hour indices on the Grand Seiko 6185 030 VFA

The watch pictured next to it, the 4580 014 (4580-7000) utilizes the 4580 movement and was the first of just three VFA’s produced by the Daini Seikosha division.

Grand Seiko 4580 014

Grand Seiko 4580 014

This is a striking reference that seems to have been created with almost no regard whatsoever to Seiko’s famed “Grammar of Design”.

One interesting thing to note about these initial four VFA watches is that none of them actually have “VFA” on the dial.


Seiko Special Luxury catalogue, 1970 – three new VFA references

Whilst the regular Seiko catalogue “1970 No. 2” features the same four references that appeared in the January 1970 issue of the Seiko Sales newsletter, the 1970 edition of the Special Luxury Catalogue introduced a further three models.

Scan from Seiko Luxury Special catalogue 1970

Scan from Seiko Luxury Special catalogue 1970

The above image is taken from the 1970 issue of the Seiko Special Luxury catalogue, which has only very recently come to light thanks to research undertaken by Anthony Kable of Plus9Time at the Seiko Museum in Tokyo.

It shows the second VFA equipped with the 4580 movement from Daini Seikosha – the 4580 020 (4580-7010).

Grand Seiko 4580 020 VFA. Note the Daini Seikosha logo above the 6 o'clock index

Grand Seiko 4580 020 VFA. Note the Daini Seikosha logo above the 6 o’clock index

Grand Seiko 4580 VFA movement

Grand Seiko 4580 VFA movement

Until the discovery of the Seiko Special Luxury catalogue, there was no mention of this reference in the regular Seiko catalogues, nor does it make an appearance in any of the monthly Seiko Sales newsletters. In fact, the only documented confirmation of the model’s existence was a brief mention of a 45GS series VFA priced at ¥85,000 in a 1971 diary that was distributed to retail sales staff. That is not to say there was any doubt as to the authenticity of this reference, but until February 2018, no images of the watch in contemporaneous official Seiko publications had been discovered.

The 4580 020, like its more radically designed 4580 014 kin, is an extremely rare timepiece, with fewer than 100 examples believed to have been produced of each reference.

Turning the page in the catalogue reveals three VFAs from Suwa Seikosha. The one on the right we have already seen – it’s the 6185 030 (6185-8020).

Scan from Seiko Luxury Special catalogue 1970

Scan from Seiko Luxury Special catalogue 1970

The 18K gold cased watch on the left hand side of the page is the 6185 046 (6185-7000). Once again utilising the 6185A movement, this watch has a stunning linen-textured dial that is all but impossible to see in the catalogue photo, but which is clearly visible in the photo below.

Grand Seiko 6185 046

Grand Seiko 6185 046

In the middle, we see another new reference – the 6185 050 (the second example of a VFA to have a case back reference of 6185-8020).

Grand Seiko 6185 050 VFA

Grand Seiko 6185 050 VFA

Whilst sharing the same case back reference as the model pictured to the right to it, the dial and handset of this watch are very different, with a matte white, rather than silver sunburst, finish to the dial, and more traditionally proportioned indices and hands. This watch also utilised the 6185A movement.

After this initial launch of the first seven VFA references, we see no new models appear in publications for two years.


Seiko Special Luxury catalogue, 1972 – introduction of the day-date references, and a ladies VFA

Scan from Seiko Special Luxury catalogue 1972

Scan from Seiko Special Luxury catalogue 1972

Once again, on the left we see the 6185 030, but the other two watches are new, and the only VFA’s that feature a day-date complication.

First up with have the 6186 024 (6186-8000).

Grand Seiko 6186 024 VFA

Grand Seiko 6186 024 VFA

Grand Seiko 6186B movement

Grand Seiko 6186B movement

This reference is the only blue dialed VFA to be produced by Suwa Seikosha, and is based on the 6186B calibre. The handset and dial indices are of the same design as those on the 6185 050 featured earlier in this article.

With the final watch featured on this spread we see a return to the three dimensional hour indices first introduced two years previously by the 6185 030.

Grand Seiko 6186 010 VFA

Grand Seiko 6186 010 VFA

Again utilising the 6186B calibre, this reference – the 6186 010 (it shares its 6186-8000 case back reference with the blue dialed watch) – is probably the second most common of all the VFAs, with an example coming onto the market perhaps once every two to three months.

The third new VFA reference introduced in the 1972 Seiko Special Luxury catalogue is the only ladies VFA, the 19GS S400 (1984-3000).

Scan from Seiko Luxury Special catalogue 1972

Scan from Seiko Luxury Special catalogue 1972

Presumably due to the constraints of having a smaller movement, the 19GS VFA actually only meets the Grand Seiko “Special” standard of +/-3 seconds per day.

Grand Seiko 19GS S400 from the collection of Erik Strickland

Grand Seiko 19GS S400 (The collection of Erik Strickland)


Seiko catalogue – 1972

The final VFA reference makes a single appearance in the 1972 catalogue.

Scan from the 1972 Seiko catalogue

Scan from the 1972 Seiko catalogue

At first glance, the watch above on the left may appear to be the 6185 030 (6185-8020), but looking more closely, we do see a difference. Whereas the original 6185 030 calibre 6185A has an applied Suwa Seikosha logo at above the 6 o’clock index, here we see “VFA” and the Suwa Seikosha logo printed on the dial.

Grand Seiko 6185 030 versions - applied Suwa Seikosha logo on the 6185A calibre (left) and printed VFA and Suwa Seikosha logo on the 6185B calibre (right)

Grand Seiko 6185 030 versions – applied Suwa Seikosha logo on the 6185A calibre (left) and printed VFA and Suwa Seikosha logo on the 6185B calibre (right)

The case back reference for this watch is the 6185-8021 (it retains the same catalogue reference of 6185 030 as its forebear), and is based on the 6185B movement. It is the most commonly seen of all the VFAs – despite only appearing in a single catalogue, it surely must have been on sale for more than just that single year.

Grand Seiko 6185 030 VFA (with 6185B movement)

Grand Seiko 6185 030 VFA (with 6185B movement)


Legendary watches

In total, Grand Seiko produced 11 VFA references over a relatively short timeframe. The first models were introduced in 1969, and the last model just three years later in 1972. The final appearance of the mechanical VFAs (and indeed of any Grand Seiko) in Seiko catalogues was in 1975, with just the 6186 010 and 6186 024 represented.

The short production and sales periods of these watches was clearly a direct result of the quartz revolution that Seiko themselves set off with the introduction of the Quartz Astron on December 25, 1969. From 1971, the VFA moniker was also used on quartz watches, but unlike the mechanical references that had an accuracy of +/-2 seconds per day, the 3823 calibre driven quartz VFAs had an accuracy of +/-5 seconds per month.

In 1974, when the Seiko catalogue featured just the two 6186 day-date mechanical VFAs priced at ¥110,000, there were no fewer than seven quartz VFAs offered at prices ranging from ¥94,000 to ¥141,000. It must have been a very tough sell to convince a customer to purchase an old fashioned mechanical VFA that was an order of magnitude less accurate than a similarly priced, high tech quartz regulated alternative.

By 1975, Seiko had improved the quartz movements to such an extent that they were offering “Quartz Superior” references that were accurate to an incredible +/-1 second per month. It’s hardly suprising that the entire Grand Seiko model range was then retired.

Whilst the Grand Seiko name was resurrected in 1988 with quartz models accurate to 10 seconds per year, it wasn’t until a decade later that the mechanical Grand Seiko was reintroduced.

That it took another two decades before Grand Seiko – with the introduction of the platinum case 20-piece limited edition SBGH265  at Baselworld 2018 – was once more able to produce a watch that meets the exacting “Very Fine Adjusted” standard, speaks volumes about the astonishing achievement of the watchmakers at Daini Seikosha and Suwa Seikosha 50 years ago – the legendary V.F.A.


Table summarising the key features of the 11 Grand Seiko VFA references

Grand Seiko VFA summary table

Grand Seiko VFA summary table

Acknowledgements 

The author would like to thank Anthony Kable of Plus9Time for his considerable assistance with the background research for this article and providing the scans of the Seiko Special Luxury catalogues, and Erik Strickland for providing photographs of the 4580 014 and 19GS S400.

Update August 20, 2019

This article was edited as follows –

A Seiko Special Luxury Catalogue from 1969 was discovered that detailed the first four VFA’s. Since this predates the January 1970 edition of Seiko Sales that was previously thought to be their first appearance, the first part of this article has been substantially edited.

Following the author’s acquisition of additional VFA models, new images have been added into the article of the 6186 014, 4580 014, and 6185 046.

The previous version of this article stated that the 6185 046 and 6185 050 references utilised the 6185B movement. On checking physical examples, this was found not to be the case. Both these references utilise the earlier 6185A movement.

The table at the foot of the article has been updated to reflect the above amendements.


Gerald Donovan is a UK born, Dubai based, watch collector, dealer, photographer and historian, specialising in vintage Grand Seikos. His website – The Grand Seiko Guy – not only showcases the largest curated selection of vintage Grand Seikos available for sale anywhere in the world, but also provides extensive details about every vintage Grand Seiko reference ever made.

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Baselworld 2018: Rolex Introduces the Daytona “Rainbow” Everose (With Price)

Multi-coloured gemstones are back on the Cosmograph.

First introduced in 2012 in yellow or white gold, and then discontinued not long after, the Daytona “Rainbow” has become a thoroughly desirable watch, now selling for three times the original retail on the secondary market. But Rolex has revived the “Rainbow”, now in Everose gold – with multi-coloured gemstone hour markers no less.

The key feature of the new Daytona “Rainbow” remains the same: a bezel set with 36 baguette-cut sapphires in a range of graduated colours. Another 11 baguette-cut, coloured sapphires are used for the hour markers, while the lugs and crown guards are set with a total of 56 diamonds.

Rolex Daytona Rainbow Everose 116595 RBOW 2

The 40mm case and bracelet are 18k Everose gold, a proprietary rose gold alloy developed by Rolex that’s resistant to fading (ordinary rose gold tends to lose its rosiness over time due to chlorine in the air).

To match the case the sub-dials of the chronograph are pink “Gold Crystals”, a pink gold alloy that has undergone a “crystallisation” process to give it a textured, shimmering finish.

Rolex Daytona Rainbow Everose 116595 RBOW 5

While the watch is no less striking than the original “Rainbow”, Everose gold offers slightly less contrast against the coloured sapphires, so the colours don’t quite jump out as much as they did on the yellow or white gold Daytona “Rainbow”.

Rolex Daytona Rainbow Everose 116595 RBOW 4

Rolex Daytona Rainbow Everose 116595 RBOW 3

Inside is the standard cal. 4130 chronograph movement found in all Daytonas.

Priced at only slightly more than what the first generation “Rainbow” retailed for in 2012, the new Daytona is a bargain relative to what its predecessors are going for on the secondary market.

Price and availability 

The Cosmograph Daytona “Rainbow” in Everose gold (ref. 116595 RBOW) is priced at SFr92,400 or S$130,300 in Singapore.


 

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Baselworld 2018: Tudor Introduces the Black Bay GMT

A fully integrated GMT watch for just US$3500.

Tudor continues to make ever-more assured strides in building eminent value-proposition watches. At Baselworld 2018 the brand unveiled its first dual time zone watch, the Black Bay GMT. And it’s happening just as its bigger brother, Rolex, finally rolls out a GMT-Master II “Pepsi” in stainless steel.

Measuring 41mm in diameter, the same as the standard Bay Bay diver, the Black Bay GMT is stainless steel with a red and blue GMT bezel insert that’s made of anodised aluminium and features an appealing Art Deco style font.

Tudor Black Bay GMT 3

Notably the bezel is bidirectional and has 48 notches, or “clicks” when rotated, which means it can track time zones offset by 30 minutes, going beyond the common 24 time zones.

While the overall style is identical to the Black Bay diver, several minor tweaks were made, including shrinking the size of the hour indices and hands, to avoid leaving the dial over crowded.

It’s equipped with a new in-house COSC-certified movement, the MT5652, featuring a variable inertia balance wheel and silicon hairspring.

Tudor MT5652 movement

The MT5652 has a 70-hour power reserve and a fully integrated GMT function, indicated with a red “snowflake” hand.

And though the movement is thicker than its related time-only calibre, the Black Bay GMT has the same case height, just 14.6mm, as the standard Black Bay thanks to some clever design tweaks.

Another change is the the crown tube, which has satin brushed finish instead of the coloured, PVD-coated tube found on other Black Bay models.

Tudor Black Bay GMT 2

As is standard for the Black Bay family, the watch is water-resistant to 200m and is available on a rivet-style steel bracelet (that is nevertheless secured and sizeable with screws), or leather or fabric straps.

Price and Availability

Arriving in stores June 2018, the Black Bay GMT (ref. 79830RB) is priced at SFr3400 on a fabric or leather strap, and SFr3700 on bracelet.


 

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