Tudor Black Bay 79220R watch review

It’s a modern classic that has inspired countless clones since its debut in 2012. WRUK takes a look at the Tudor Black Bay 79220R.

Tudor Black Bay Review

The Tudor Black Bay is the timepiece that got me into watch collecting. I adored the way it looked, and it set me off on a journey that has lasted many years… Finally, I have got my hands on one of my own.

At a glance

Tudor Black Bay

Around £2500+ on the used market
Case size
Water Resistance
ETA 2824

As you’d expect from a luxury watch, the Tudor Black Bay comes in a beautiful box. It’s wooden and finished in shiny piano black. Mine, which I bought used, has a little scuffing, but the quality is undeniable.

Case and Movement

The original Tudor Black Bay had an ETA 2824-2 movement. Although the newer version has an in-house movement with an impressive 70 hours’ power reserve (compared to 40 hours for the ETA), I chose this version as I like to think I can have it serviced along with my other Swiss watches and won’t have to pay Rolex prices for the privilege.

The case is  really well finished, with polishing on the edges and radial brushing on the lugs. The crown, with its signature red stem, operates smoothly. The case, at just under 13mm, feels thicker thanks to the flat sides and the lack of lug curvature means it suits a flatter wrist. The worst part of the case is the case back which, in typical Rolex style is very plain.

Dial and Hands

The thing that really drew me to this model of the Black Bay is the dial. More modern variants replace the Tudor rose with a shield, and removed the “smile” self-winding text, both of which I think give this watch its character. The dial markers are all applied and edged in gold, giving the watch a premium feel and matching the gold printed text and edge markings.

The watch looks so good I’ll forgive the lack of a date feature, but I do wish they’d made the markings on the bezel gold to match the dial. Nevertheless, I think the Tudor Black Bay is a stone-cold classic design, and I will defend it to the death!

Strap and Buckle

Although the Tudor Black Bay is available on a bracelet – and on this original version, it is a very nice bracelt (the newer model has a horrible faux-rivetted bracelet that I cannot abide) – I think the watch just looks perfect on the distressed leather strap. There is something about the combo that “just works”. The leather is superb, as you’d expect for the money, and the clasp – which entails the strap being fitted upside-down – works just like that of a bracelet. The downside of the strap is that the position of the fixing points on the lugs leaves a little gap between the watch and the strap. If and when I replace the strap, I’ll be looking for a slightly thicker one that minimises that gap.

In the box, you also get a single-piece fabric strap with a branded buckle that gives the watch a whole new character. One of the things I love about the Black Bay is that changing the strap/bracelet somehow changes the whole character of the watch.

Tudor Black Bay – Video Review

At a glance…

  • Extremely attractive design
  • High-quality, comfortable strap
  • Superb finishing
  • Larger, thicker and flatter than many competitors, so won’t suit all wrists
  • Slight gap between strap and watch case
  • Bezel numbers would look better in gold

Tudor Black Bay – The WRUK Verdict

You will be unsurprised to learn that I love the Black Bay. I personally prefer this original version, which is why I spent almost as much as the cost of a brand-new model on this used example. It will be a centre-piece of my collection and I would recommend it to anyone.

Buy a Tudor Black Bay

You can buy a certified used Tudor Black Bay at Jura Watches or WatchMaster UK expect to pay £2,500+ for an ETA Black Bay in good condition and more for the newer model with the in-house movement.

By Mike Richmond

Mike spends what little spare time he has writing for WRUK; and what little money he makes building up his collection of timepieces.

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