Editor’s note: This Tudor Black Bay GMT hands-on been photographed with the assistance of J Farren-Price Sydney. For our other detailed hands-on reviews, please head to our dedicated reviews section here. This is NOT a sponsored post. Please note that the article consists of certain photoshopped images, and they are so marked as well. These are based on a figment of our imagination and what we would like to see. We have photoshopped our photograph of a Tudor BB58 925 Silver and Black Bay GMT. These are NOT official images from Tudor. Any brand images are accordingly marked.
What is The Tudor Black Bay GMT
It’s been roughly four years since the watch world was gifted with the current Rolex Pepsi and the Tudor Black Bay GMT. For some, the latter was an ideal substitute to the former; for others, a great value proposition that may have been inspired by the Rolex GMT ref. 6542 but had its unique personality. For me, it was the latter perspective that made sense. Also, given Tudor already had burgundy and dark blue bezels in their 41mm diameter Black Bay line ready to go anyway, it made more sense to use these colours and the Rolex ‘Pepsi’ connection could just be a coincidence. And from that logic releasing a black bezel GMT like the ‘Coke’ makes sense because now Tudor has a black bezel in the recent Black Bay Ceramic (though its not aluminium but black-PVD-treated 316L steel).
Whatever lens you wish to see this from, the true GMT with an independent jumping hour hand Tudor Black Bay GMT was definitely a key horological moment from 2018.
But after looking at it on a lot of wrists in the past four years, spending some time borrowing it, and after revisiting it again recently for this hands-on feature, I have to admit, it’s almost the prefect GMT-diver out there. Almost.
The perfect for someone like me with slim ~16cm or 6.2 inch wrists would be a thinner, Black Bay Fifty-Eight version. Something similar to the 12.1mm thickness of the GMT Master II Pepsi 126710BLRO or the 12.5mm thickness of the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight. The subsequent lug-to-lug spacing can also be reduced from 50.2mm to ~48mm of that of the Rolex GMT or the 47.2mm of the BB58. If the Lorier Hyperion can do it, why can’t Tudor?
Even better? Retain this for those with larger wrists, and in a history repeating itself moment release a Rolex Coke and a matching Tudor BB58 Coke.
Want even better? Increase the power reserve from about 3-days to 4-days and include the METAS certification. When Tudor Black Bay first came out with its manufacture movement in 2015, the 70-hour power reserve was almost revolutionary for the price segment. It blew the ETA and Sellita competitions right out of the park. But over the years, other brands have caught up. Longines, Tissot, Hamilton, all often boast of a greater power reserve. Personally, given I, and perhaps lots of others, associate Tudor with being the more experimental, younger, and confident brother of Rolex, it’s only apt for it to advance with the times and again change the status quo.
And the METAS-certified makes sense in that Tudor only teased it once with the Black Bay Ceramic ref. M79210CNU-0001.
Using the above logic of Tudor making use of their exiting arsenal, imagine the possibilities should the brand decided to mix and match the BB58 range bezels that already come in blue, black, taupe grey, green and brown-bronze anodised aluminium disc. Below based on our figment of imagination and what we would like to see, we have photoshopped some variations, on our photograph of a Tudor BB58 925 Silver and Black Bay GMT. These are not official images from Tudor.
One of the key charms of Tudor’s resurgence lies in its own design language, that marries beautifully the worlds of Rolex with a younger mindset. And a BB58 ‘Coke’ 4-day power reserve Tudor Black Bay GMT at a similar price point would be a killer.
Best Foot Forward
The jumping hour hand. True GMT. The instantaneous date change (without non-correction range being synchronised on the jumping hour hand). That red snowflake GMT hand that complements the burgundy bezel. The burgundy aluminium bezel other than a shiny red ceramic one. And the availability.
So what is a true GMT and why is it so important? Simply put, timepieces that allow the wearer to independently adjust his local hour hand are called traveller’s or true GMTs.
Technically all you need is an additional fourth hand that is preferably slightly differently designed than the other hands to distinguish it immediately. In the case of the Tudor Black Bay GMT it is the red-coloured hand. Given this fourth hand will make one rotation every 24 hours, the wearer can preferable set it as their ‘home’ time that corresponds with the bezel, so that the white hour’s hand Tudor Black Bay GMT on the dial depicts the ‘local’ time.
In the photo above, it’s 8 past 10 (or 2200 hours) in say someone’s home time and 8 past 10 (or 0800 hours) in the local time zone where the picture is being taken.
To save time, discrepancy and manoeuvre jet lag, the ‘true GMT’ watch allows the now ‘local’ 12-hour hand to be jumped in one-hour increments. So basically you can adjust the current time without hampering the ‘home’ time.
Basic Specs Of The Tudor Black Bay GMT
The Tudor Black Bay GMT reference M79830RB-0002 features the COSC-certified manufacture movement, the calibre MT5652, the date and GMT version of the MT5602 that is found in the regular Tudor Black Bay (41mm). This MT5652 features the same diameter of 31.8mm but gains in thickness by about a 1mm, coming in at 7.52mm. It also increases the jewels to 28. The rest such as the variable inertia balance, a non-magnetic silicon balance spring, and frequency of 4Hz (28’800 A/h), all remain the same.
Even though you can’t see it, the calibre MT5652 features a satin-brushed openwork rotor with sand-blasted details and its bridges and mainplate have alternate polished sand-blasted surfaces and laser decorations.
The Tudor Black Bay GMT watch offers an impressive 70-hour power reserve, a bidirectional rotatable 48 notches bezel in steel with 24-hour graduated anodised aluminium disc in matt burgundy and blue, and a very decent for a travelling watch 200m (20 ATM) water-resistance.
Tudor Black Bay GMT Hands-on Experience
I had obviously followed its Baselworld release and seen numerous pictures and such, but it wasn’t until quite late that I remember strapping this on for the first time at the Tudor pop-up boutique inside Tang’s Singapore. It was reserved for someone else, but the guy was very helpful and accomodating. I remember being more impressed than I thought I would be, simply given 15mm thick and 41mm diameter watches don’t exactly befit my dainty ~16cm wrists.
And everytime I have strapped this on since, I keep reminding myself that perceived thickness vs measured thickness can make quite a difference. On paper, the Tudor Black Bay GMT measures at 14.6mm thick with a lug-to-lug of 49.6mm. But on the wrist, courtesy the way the case-back is designed, the watch sits pretty low.
In terms of the dial layout and the GMT design, I also find this to be one of the easiest to read GMT watches in the market, even when compared to the Rolex GMT Pepsi. For me, personally, the hand-set of the Tudor work better. In the Rolex GMT Master II Pepsi 126710BLRO, all four handsets are different, whereas the snowflakes hands continuity in the Tudor makes more design sense. The dial is also less busy.
But it is that matte black and ever-so-slightly grained dial that is framed by the navy blue and burgundy bezel with white appliqué indices look that takes the cake. It is so vintage yet so modern.
The Tudor Black Bay GMT is a sports-tool watch through and through, but when paired with the “Terra di Siena” brown-burgundy leather strap, like a chameleon it changes into a more versatile business-casual aesthetic. It’s still not a dress watch like the Rolex can be on a jubilee bracelet, but definitely bridges the gap.
But if this was to be a smaller and slimmer Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight ‘Coke’ GMT, not only would it fit perfectly under the cuffs, but the black on the bezel when say paired with a black leather strap would give it that extra push to be even worn at work. A 200m water-resistant timepiece with a bidirectional bezel, small enough to fit a lager variety of wrist sizes, 96-hour power reserve, and a true GMT complication – what more could a GADA watch ask to be?
Of course as it stands in its present avatar at 41mm x 14.6mm x 49.6mm, it still rocks for those with slightly larger wrists. And most importantly, retailing for only 5’250 AUD, no matter what version you prefer — the hypothetical proposed or the existing — the Tudor Black Bay GMT is still one of the best GMT watches in the market today.
To find out more about the Tudor Black Bay GMT and other Tudor timepieces, please head to there website here, or visit their authorised retailer J Farren-Price Sydney at 80 Castlereagh St, Sydney (02 9231 3299). All images unless otherwise stated are ©WatchYaGonnaDoAboutIt.