Tudor is becoming increasingly associated with sports after its patronage of the Rugby World Cup and its namesake Pro Cycling Team. At the heart of this is the Black Bay Chrono.
One of my favourite brand videos of all time – across all categories of luxury products; no, make that across all categories of all products – comes from 2019. It opens with a breathtaking panorama of a New Zealand dawn. Lush, verdant rolling hills undulate underneath a golden sunrise. Rhythmic percussions play in as the wise, resonant voice of Maori cultural expert Wetini Mitai-Ngatai narrates the origins and meaning of the Haka, the Maori war dance popularised by the All Blacks, New Zealand’s world-renowned national rugby team.
“Ha – Breath,” he explains in the video, “Ka – Alight. Haka – Breath Alight.” The video follows the All Blacks as they visit a Maori cultural centre run by the Hoani Waititi community, to learn more about the Haka from the very people whose ancestors originated it. Interspersed through that footage, we get piece-to-camera shots of the players sharing what the Haka means to them, both as a Kiwi, as well as a rugby player. It’s only at the end of the video that we learn the brand behind the video, first with its bold #BornToDare slogan, and then with the Tudor logo itself, alongside that of the All Blacks’. It’s a simple video, but it displays, through the lens of rugby what the brand stands for – a reverence for timeless traditions, the spirit of innovation and excellence, a symbol of what it means to be world-class. Powerfully shot and emotive, it speaks to a fundamental power of the human experience, and this strength is embodied in timepieces such as the fully black limited-edition Black Bay Chrono Dark released around the same time as the video (2019) to celebrate that year’s Rugby World Cup and the New Zealand All Blacks.
By extension, its enduring partnership with World Rugby has also been growing since it was first announced in 2017. Rugby’s unwavering values and daring spirit resonate with Tudor’s watchmaking ethos, which has remained steadfast since 1926. It is this alignment of noble values and the sport’s audacious image that prompted the Swiss brand to unite with World Rugby six years ago under its #BornToDare campaign.
In the same year, the Black Bay Chrono series was born with the Black Bay Chrono Steel. Two years later, in 2019, along with the Black Bay Chrono Dark, the now-iconic Black Bay Chrono S&G (Steel & Gold – the reference 79363) was introduced. The most recent Black Bay Chrono came out in 2021, dubbed the “panda” for its equally iconic black-and-white dial (reference 79360).
The Black Bay Chrono is equipped with the manufacture calibre MT5813, a movement that provides a comprehensive set of functions, including hours, minutes, seconds, a chronograph and a date display. The tungsten rotor, one of many eye- catching features in this calibre, is not only openwork but also features a satin-brushed surface with sandblasted details. The bridges and mainplate exhibit a captivating alternation of sandblasted and polished surfaces, along with laser decorations.
And it is a powerful movement featuring a column wheel mechanism and a vertical clutch, comes with a 70-hour power reserve and has earned certification from the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC), surpassing the standards set by the COSC testing. While COSC allows for a daily variation of -4 to +6 seconds in relation to absolute time within a single movement, Tudor insists on a more stringent range of between -2 and +4 seconds’ variation when the watch is fully assembled.
Also defining the Black Bay Chronographs are its unique aesthetic features. All Black Bay Chrono timepieces bear the iconic “Snowflake” hands, a hallmark for diver’s watches since 1969, ensuring exceptional legibility against the curved dial. In reference 79360, the dial is available in two versions, one with a matte black finish and the other with a sunray satin-finish champagne colour. It features two recessed sub-counters in contrasting colours: champagne and matte black, enhancing readability. These sub-counters are circular- grained and draw inspiration from the initial generation of Tudor chronographs, incorporating a 45-minute counter and a date display positioned at six o’clock.
Retaining the recognisable Black Bay characteristics, the watch is encased in steel and yellow gold with a 41mm diameter. True to the brand’s meticulousness, the yellow gold pushers are designed after the first-generation Tudor chronographs. The fixed bezel, also in yellow gold, includes a black anodised aluminium insert featuring a tachymetric scale, further adding to the sporty and distinguished appearance of this chronograph.
Meanwhile, the more urban, contemporary reference 79363 comes in either matte black or opaline. Like other 41mm Black Bay Chrono watches, its dial includes two hollowed sub-counters in contrasting hues, again, matte black and white opaline respectively, for optimum readability.
The Black Bay Chrono is made to be stylish and modern, and to exude a quiet confidence and an understated dynamism. It’s also sturdy, robust and powerful. That’s why it’s at the heart of Tudor’s patronage of the Rugby World Cup.
BLACK BAY CHRONO PRICES + SPECS
Case 41mm 316L steel with polished and satin finish, with 200-metre water resistance
Movement Self-winding mechanical manufacture calibre MT5813 with chronograph; approximately 70-hour power reserve
Prices S$7,620 (reference 79360), S$10,630