The Tudor Black Bay Pro has already gotten a lot of attention, and we’ll just add our voice to the online “Hell Yes” chant. If the widely reported availability issues of the watch are to be believed, it needs more praise like a fish needs a bicycle and more supply. Watch novelty-wise, it’s still early in the year, so maybe things will get better, but maybe a little bit of waiting is a good thing.
Given that production and delivery problems have plagued the industry for years, watch collectors have always been accustomed to waiting for specific items. However, the current enthusiasm that is sweeping fine watchmaking, as well as all watchmaking, is making instant gratification a reality. Then, let’s examine the reasons you might want to hold off until the Tudor Black Bay Pro.
When looking at this 39mm GMT watch in steel, a certain reference 1655 Explorer II immediately comes to mind. If you believe that details are important, then the Black Bay Pro bears only a passing resemblance to the 1655. (that could be said of a multitude of GMT watches). These details include the guardless crown (a new design that is not based on any other crown), the dial, the hands and indices, and the movement… as well as the bracelet It’s safe to say that these aren’t just minor details; emulating a Rolex reference from 1971, which has been discontinued since 1984, was most likely never the intention with the Black Bay Pro.
Having said that, the Black Bay Pro is a stylish timepiece that looks like a descendant of the reference 1655, but with true GMT functionality. If you like this story, it helps that Tudor never produced a watch like the Black Bay Pro, which prompted the Rolex comparison. Rolex does not do tributes or reissues, and the watch community has widely (and incorrectly) expected Tudor to do so instead — that is, Tudor is expected to release watches with Rolex characteristics from decades ago.
For example, now that Rolex has mass-produced ceramic bezels, it is up to Tudor to keep steel and aluminum in the mix. This has nothing to do with what the firm does and simply represents the feelings of the global community — or perhaps just a significant segment of that community. None of this detracts from the Black Bay Pro’s value proposition, which also happens to wear very well — a thicker wrist will easily support the case’s 14.6mm height.