When talking about Tudor, many watch enthusiasts often associate it with its sister company, Rolex. Aside from having the same founder, both brands are known for offering a wide selection of well-crafted luxury watches for both men and women. Tudor has seemed to be always in the shadow of the other for many years, until it eventually managed to make a name for itself.
At present, Tudor has released multiple renowned collections, with the Tudor Black Bay being their most popular line. That being said, let us focus on a relatively new variant under the aforementioned range: the Tudor Black Bay 36.
Tudor Black Bay: A Glimpse at its Past
Before we delve into the Tudor Black Bay 36, let us take a quick look at the colorful history of this iconic collection. At this point, we all know that Tudor and Rolex are deeply entangled with each other, since both brands are under the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation. This serves as an important detail with regards to the evolution of the Black Bay, as it is based on Tudor’s interpretation of the Submariner, which Tudor adapted from its sister brand.
The original Tudor Submariner (Reference 7922) came onto the scene in 1954, and was actually the brand’s first-ever diver’s watch. It was received with mixed reviews, ranging from excited comments to valid criticisms, for many reasons. Some saw it as a lesser version of the Rolex Submariner, while others viewed it as a more affordable alternative to the aforementioned model. Regardless, Tudor did not stop there, and continued to launch multiple Submariners as years went by. Eventually, in 1995, they released the Tudor Submariner Ref. 79190, which was the last piece in this range before its production was officially discontinued.
While that may have been the end of the Tudor Submariner, its essence and influence is still very much felt today, thanks to Tudor’s current most popular range. First introduced in 2012, the Tudor Black Bay is a collection that consists of luxury diver’s watches inspired by the Tudor Submariner. Its main concept revolves around combining sporty and vintage aesthetics with modern-day elements and functions. More importantly, this range also serves as a tribute to the different milestones and breakthroughs that came with the Tudor Submariner, from 1954 to 1995.
Despite being relatively new, the Tudor Black Bay range is home to many well-crafted and highly sought-after watches. In fact, it is one of the core collections offered by Tudor, with over 60+ models in its current portfolio. In addition, the Swiss brand has also divided this line into different sub-categories such as the Black Bay Bronze, Black Bay Fifty-Eight, Black Bay Heritage, Black Bay 32/36/41, and more.
All About The Tudor Black Bay 36
With all of that out of the way, we can finally move on to the main topic of this article: the Black Bay 36. If you refer to Tudor’s website, the entire Black Bay range is separated into eight different sub-collections that differ in either material, size, style, or function. Launched at Baselworld 2019, the Black Bay 36 is simply a specific variation that features models with a 36mm case diameter. The Black Bay 36 was released in order to widen the market reach of Tudor’s diving pieces, since most of the Black Bay watches come in relatively large sizes. With that said, let us take a closer look at this popular line with slim cases.
At present, there are fourteen Black Bay 36 models in Tudor’s catalogue, with each piece showing a classy and straightforward exterior. The best thing about the Black Bay 36 is that, while its design is reminiscent of previous Tudor Submariners, its overall aesthetic is still contemporary and distinct.
When it comes to the materials used, all of the models are presented in 36mm steel cases and different kinds of straps. Generally speaking, most of the pieces are paired with leather or fabric bands in black, beige, or brown. That said, some variants do also feature metal bracelets in either steel or steel and yellow gold. In addition, all Black Bay 36 watches are equipped with colored fixed bezels that add elegance and simplicity to their looks. Lastly, their dials also have the same elements and layout, with the only difference being the colorways.
Moving on to the price, the Black Bay 36 has a reasonable price range of around $2,000 USD to $4,000 USD. The cheapest model retails at around $2,570 USD while the most expensive one has a price tag of approximately $4,020 USD. The exact price of each model differs depending on the materials used, which is why the steel and gold pieces cost more. On the other hand, varying prices can also be found elsewhere depending on the reseller and the condition of the watch.
While the Black Bay collection as a whole is well-loved by enthusiasts and collectors alike, the Black Bay 36 also caught the attention of casual wearers because of the versatility that comes with its size. A 36mm case is the perfect in-between for those who want a Black Bay watch that is neither too big nor too small. Its standard size, paired with its classy and vintage-inspired aesthetics, make it incredibly appealing to a wider market.
Black Bay 36 vs Black Bay Fifty-Eight: What’s the difference?
Just like the Black Bay 36, the Black Bay Fifty-Eight is simply another sub-collection under the overarching umbrella of the ever-so-popular Black Bay diver’s range. This means that both variations have a lot of similarities, especially when it comes to the overall design. That being said, these two also have their fair share of differences, which we have summarized for you below:
The most obvious distinction between the two Black Bay models would be their case sizes. As previously mentioned, the Black Bay 36 is named as such because it consists of models with 36mm cases. That said, the same logic does not apply to the Black Bay Fifty-Eight, as they do not offer timepieces with 58mm cases. Instead, the Black Bay Fifty-Eight’s name is derived from its inspiration, which is a 1958 model called the Big Crown Ref. 7924. Ultimately, all the watches in the Black Bay Fifty-Eight sub-collection come in 39mm diameters, making them slightly bigger than the Black Bay 36.
The materials utilized for the two sub-collections are also quite different from each other. The Black Bay 36 primarily uses stainless steel and leather, with the exception of yellow gold in some models, which are standard elements in watchmaking. Meanwhile, the Black Bay Fifty-Eight uses more precious metals like yellow gold, silver, and bronze, which is one of the reasons for the next distinction.
This is a very important point, especially for those who are debating which of the two watches to get. As mentioned earlier, the Black Bay 36 has a price range of approximately $2,000 USD to $4,000 USD, which is very reasonable for a luxury collection. The Black Bay Fifty-Eight, on the other hand, consists of watches that come at higher prices. The cheapest Black Bay Fifty-Eight piece retails at around $3,300 USD, while their most expensive model is priced at approximately $16,500 USD.
Black Bay 36 Models: Top Picks
Now, let’s take a more in-depth look at some of the Black Bay 36 models available right now.
Tudor Black Bay 36 Ref. M79500-0006
First, we have the Ref. M79500-0006, with aesthetics that boast a perfect balance between retro-inspired and contemporary. It comes in a 36mm steel case paired with a leather strap in brown. The blue dial boasts luminescent hands and hour markers in various shapes. In addition, it is powered by a self-winding T600 calibre with a 38-hour power reserve and waterproofness of up to 150 meters.
While it may seem like a fairly straightforward and simple watch, the elegance that comes with its simplicity is what makes this Black Bay 36 model appealing to many. If you want a subtle yet powerful watch, you can get your hands on this piece for approximately $2,600 USD.
Tudor Black Bay 36 Ref. M79500-0011
Next up is the Ref. M79500-0011 which screams classy and casual at the same time. This model is presented in a 36mm steel case paired with a fabric strap in black. Its blue dial follows a very straightforward timekeeping layout with luminous hands and distinct hour markers.
In terms of its technical details, this Black Bay 36 model is also driven by the automatic calibre T600 with a 38-hour power reserve and a 150-meter water resistance rating. Its overall color combination of blue, silver, and black goes very well together, making it look even more cohesive. With a price tag of around $2,600 USD, this is perfect for those who want a sporty and casual timepiece without sacrificing any elegance.
Tudor Black Bay 36 S&G Ref. M79503-0002
Lastly, we have the luxurious Black Bay 36 Ref. M79503-0002, which is a diver piece that can honestly pass as a classy dress watch as well. This Tudor watch comes in a 36mm steel case paired with a two-toned bracelet made of steel and yellow gold. Its champagne dial follows a simple analog layout, featuring the iconic hands and geometric hour markers.
This Black Bay 36 model is equipped with the self-winding T600 caliber, which boasts an excellent power reserve of 38 hours and a water resistance rating of 100 meters. Even though its gorgeous gold hue stands out, this timepiece also has an air of simplicity around it. If you are looking for a luxurious yet delicate Black Bay 36 watch, you can add this piece to your collection for a little over $4,000 USD.
Who should buy the Black Bay 36?
- Divers Who Enjoy Luxury. Diving watches are quite a popular niche in the watch community, and as such, they come in a wide variety of prices. That said, if you are a diver and you do not mind splurging a little on a luxury watch, then the Tudor Black Bay 36 is definitely one you should check out. Aside from having impressive features and functions, it is also stylish and versatile, which makes it a great companion both on land and underwater.
- Submariner Patrons. If you are well-versed in the history of the Tudor Submariner, then getting your hands on a Black Bay 36 model can bring you a step closer to your goal. Since the Black Bay collection serves as a contemporary adaptation of the Submariner, it shares the same essence and spirit as its predecessor. This makes it a great alternative to the Submariner. Vintage Submariners are rare and very difficult to acquire, so having the Tudor Black Bay 36 as your back-up will not hurt.
- Mid-Sized Watch Enthusiasts. Lastly, if you prefer mid-sized timepieces, then the Black Bay 36 is a must-have. It comes in the perfect size and guarantees a comfortable fit regardless of whether you are a guy or a girl. Its 36mm diameter also allows for more versatility compared to larger watches, which makes it easier to pair with any outfit
Tudor Black Bay 36: Selling Points
- Good Reputation. This may be a moot point for those who do not care about brand recognition but a watch collection with a good reputation is certainly appealing to most enthusiasts and collectors. In the case of the Tudor Black Bay 36, its rich history and heritage has allowed it to be recognized by many. More than that, long-standing recognition can also be a sign of trust, which means that people are assured of the Black Bay 36’s reliability.
- Potential Investment Piece. When talking about investment pieces in watchmaking, the biggest factor is whether or not a watch can increase in value as time goes by. That said, unfortunately, most watches do not have this ability. This is why some people also use the term “investment piece” to describe models that can hold their value really well. An example of excellent investment pieces are the Tudor watches, especially those in the Black Bay collection. While its value may not triple over time, you can still easily sell your Black Bay 36 at a higher price than you got it for.
- Reasonably-Priced Luxury. When dealing with luxury timepieces, sometimes the prices can get ridiculously high, especially if it is a rare and coveted watch. One of the best things about Tudor and the Black Bay collection is that, despite their reputation and being the sister brand of Rolex, the luxury pieces they offer come at reasonable costs. Even though you still have to spend thousands of dollars to get your hands on a Black Bay 36, a price range of around $2,000 USD to $4,000 USD is not bad for a well-crafted luxury watch.
Ultimately, adding the Black Bay 36 to Tudor’s renowned diving collection proved to be a wonderful idea. It allowed more people to enjoy Black Bay models since its standard 36mm size encompasses more preferences. While there is nothing particularly extreme about this range, the Tudor Black Bay 36 is slowly becoming a favorite among patrons because of its versatility. Indeed, this is the perfect line to check out if you are just starting to get into Black Bay watches.
Photo Credits: Tudor Official Website
If you are interested in diving watches, make sure to read our article on the Rolex Submariner Blue.