Tudor, a sister brand to Rolex, has had a resurgence in fortunes of late, after its 1970s heyday. Perhaps its most iconic design is the Tudor Black Bay.
Tudor Black Bay – Affordable Alternatives
Based on early Rolex Submariner watches, Tudor took some vintage design cues and married them with more modern sizing, a better bracelet and an ETA movement to keep the cost of their diver’s watch down. The Tudor Heritage Black Bay is actually relatively affordable for a luxury watch: it can be bought used on eBay from around £2,000, but most of us cannot justify that kind of expenditure on a watch. WRUK takes a look at some affordable alternatives.
If you can get past the name sounding a bit like a root vegetable, the Corgeur watch is an affordable entry point into the world of Tudor Black Bay homages: it has that iconic red bezel, circular dial markers and snowflake hands just like the Tudor. Handily, for those like me who like a watch with a date function, it also adds a date at 3 O’clock. Powered by a no-name Chinese movement, you can pick up a Corgeut watch from eBay for around £75-£100.
When it comes to affordable dive watches, Spinnaker is always one of the best bets. The Wreck is Spinnaker’s take on the vintage submariner theme. Unlike the Heritage Black Bay it has a distressed feel, evoking the feel of vintage Rolexes through a scratched dial and faded bezel. Whether you buy it on a strap or bracelet, the Spinnaker Wreck represents and excellent level of quality for the money – especially when you use discount code WRUK for 20% off at spinnaker-watches.com.
Our favourite vintage diver (and a former WRUK “Watch of the Year” winner) is the Christopher Ward C65. It is available – like the Black Bay – with a choice of red or blue bezel,a though the blue version also has a blue dial. We think the C65 is actually a more balanced design than the Tudor, with the thinner bezel giving a vintage vibe but with more contemporary larger dial markings. The movement inside the C65 – a Sellita SW-200 – is a clone of the same ETA 2824 that powered the first generation of Tudor Heritage Black Bay watches and Christopher Ward’s 60/60 guarantee is the best in the business. Find out more at Christopher Ward’s website.
Tudor Heritage Black Bay
The Black Bay is brilliant, bringing the design cues of the vintage Rolex Submariner and the snowflake hands from 1970s Tudor watches into a modern package. We prefer the first-generation models with a rose on the dial to the more modern “shield” watches that also have a rivet-style bracelet that is nowhere near as nice as the original solid-link option. The newer watches have Tudor’s in-house movement rather than an ETA 2824 which perhaps makes them more desirable from an horological perspective.
As we touched on earlier in our review, a genuine Tudor Black Bay is relatively affordable compared to some of the other luxury brands, particularly if you are prepared to enter the used market. A word of warning: replica Tudor Black Bay watches are very convincing, so make sure you purchase your used Tudor watch from a reputable seller such as Jura Watches.