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Black Bay Goes Full-Metal Rugged With The New Tudor Only Watch 2021 Black Bay GMT One

For lovers of patina, this is it; this is perhaps as faux-patinated as a watch can get. So if that’s your game, then the new Tudor Only Watch 2021 Black Bay GMT One is the name. 

Black Bay Goes Full-Metal Rugged With The New Tudor Only Watch 2021 Black Bay GMT One

Editor’s note: For nearly a decade now we have curiously anticipated the Only Watch Auction. The 2021 edition doesn’t disappoint! While watches earlier this year had a green theme, this year’s Auction watches seem to have an orange theme. Following the releases from Watches & Wonders 2021, today we present the new Tudor Only Watch 2021 Black Bay GMT One. Here’s our preview and the Gut Reaction Review (Grr…). For our standard detailed hands-on reviews, please head to our dedicated reviews section here.

Gut Reaction

To slightly paraphrase a quote: “Rugged strength and radiant beauty; These were one in Nature’s Tudor’s plan; Humble toil Solid design and heavenward duty handsome looks; These will form the perfect man (only) watch.

Tudor’s 2021 releases have been stellar, to say the least. With a mix of a variety of new materials — 18K gold, Bronze, 925 silver, Ceramic — the brand has been one step ahead of the curve. Now for this year’s Duchenne muscular dystrophy auction, the new Tudor Only Watch 2021 presents its one lucky owner a unique Black Bay GMT One in a rugged and aged stainless steel body.

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Masculine to the core, the new Tudor Only Watch 2021 Black Bay GMT One is also the first Tudor Only Watch to feature a METAS-certification, and if I am not wrong, the first watch overall in the auction series to feature both COSC and METAS certifications. 

My first reaction to the new Tudor Only Watch 2021 Black Bay GMT One was more of pleasure than surprise; given they have been experimenting with different materials (and their aesthetics) and hadn’t released a new GMT version this year, this was kind of expected. And welcome. The addition of a  GMT BB to 2021’s line-up pretty much completes the collection. 

Talking about the timepiece itself, it is essentially a GMT version of the new Tudor Black Bay Ceramic, both dimensions and engine-wise. Measuring in at 41mm diameter and 14.6mm thickness, it should also feature a 51.2mm lug-to-lug and 20mm lug interhorn spacing. The watch comes on a satin-finished aged stainless-steel three-link bracelet with a folding clasp and safety catch.

Both the case and bracelet are made from aged steel — using a secret process, just like the new Tudor silver 925 Black Bay — and the watch features a display case-back in tune with Tudor’s this year’s novelties. The case-back is engraved with PIECE UNIQUE and BLACK BAY GMT ONE.

The watch is capable of showing three time zones simultaneously thanks to the unidirectional rotatable bezel in aged stainless steel with an aged stainless-steel 24-hour engraved disc.

New Tudor Only Watch 2021 Black Bay GMT One

Being a Tudor, legibility of course is not sacrificed for aesthetics. The new Tudor Only Watch 2021 Black Bay GMT One may be a piece-unique but it still retains all the hallmarks of the Black Bay collection we have come to fall in love with. 

The grained and domed matt black dial complements the aged case and features matt grey markings matching the hands and hour-markers. Keeping in tune with the aged look, the matt ruthenium-plated applied hour markers feature beige — instead of white — luminescent material with green emission.

I also appreciate the minimal text on the dial and the faded date wheel colouring that adds to the charm of this novelty. 

Even though it has a low estimate of only CHF 4’000 – 8’000, given Tudor’s last Only Watch success, I won’t be surprised if this breaks this estimate barrier by a mile and then some.

The Context  

54 brands are participating this year for the 9th edition — the first one was in 2005 — of the biennial charity auction Only Watch, whose aim is to raise funds for research against Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Since there is one collaboration between De Bethune and Voutilainen presenting a perfectly reversible watch showcasing both the brand’s talents, there will be a total of 53 watches for auction. 

In regards to the praiseworthy cause, this auction has raised more than 70 million Euros so far and has enabled scientists to continue their research.

The lots will go on a small world tour — unfortunately but surprise surprise, Australia is not a part of it — and then auctioned in collaboration with Christie’s on 6 November 2021, at 2pm (Geneva time), at the Four Seasons Hôtel des Bergues.

New Tudor Only Watch 2021 Black Bay GMT One
Copyright © Association Monégasque contre les Myopathies

The Theme 

The apparent albeit unofficial orange theme for this year’s Only Watch Auction is not vividly expressed on the new Tudor Only Watch 2021 Black Bay GMT One. But that said, in the press photos, the aged steel has a sense of rusty-ness about it, lending a subtle orange-red-brown hue to the timepiece that is both interesting and ties the watch in with the rest of the 53 pieces. 

The Engine

The ref. 7983/001U features a COSC and METAS certified manufacture movement, the calibre MT5602-1U. This 31.8mm diameter and 6.5mm thick movement features a variable inertia balance, a non-magnetic silicon balance spring, beats at the same frequency of 4Hz (28’800 A/h), comprises 25 jewels, and offers an impressive 70-hour power reserve.

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case-back is very reminiscent of the new Tudor BB Ceramic

That’s All Folks! 

“I stare into the ruggedly handsome face, the eyes alight with a vast intelligence and that eerie, unearthly power,” wrote L.E. Sterling. 

Personally, I reckon this is a home run and a win-win for both collectors and enthusiasts. For a serious collector, especially a Tudor collector, this gives him (or her) the opportunity to “complete” the 2021 Tudor collection. And judging by Tudor’s past entries for this auction, there is a strong chance that this aged look with excessive faux-patina and the absence of the standard ‘Pepsi-‘ style bezel might be an indication of things to come to the Black Bay Fifty-Eight regular production. Who knows for sure? But we can always dream! 

One can stare into the rigidly handsome aesthetics and ultra-legible indices that alight with lume at length, and come away with the feeling of being in the presence of an almost unearthly beauty. 

For lovers of patina, this is it; this is perhaps as faux-patinated as a watch can get. So if that’s your game, then the new Tudor Only Watch 2021 Black Bay GMT One is the name. 

To find out more about the new Tudor Only Watch 2021 Black Bay GMT One and other Only Watch auction timepieces, please head to the ONLY WATCH 2021 collection website here. All images unless otherwise specified are ©TUDOR. All Rights Reserved. All basic information Copyright © Association Monégasque contre les Myopathies. Make sure to check out our reviews of Watches & Wonders 2021 releases here.