Editor’s note: This is a hands-on review of Tudor Heritage Chrono vs Tudor Black Bay Chrono – which is the one for you. Today’s watches have been photographed with the assistance of J Farren-Price Sydney. Please note that none of our posts are sponsored so if you like our work, you can support us by buying us a coffee.
A Tale Of Two Chronos – The Tudor Heritage Chrono and Black Bay Chrono
So you are in the market for a sports watch with timing capabilities from a Swiss luxury watch brand. Working within whatever constraints you have, you have narrowed it down to one of the best value propositions currently in the industry, the Tudor chronographs. Congratulations. But which one to choose?
When it comes to picking out a chronograph watch from Tudor, essentially there are 6 separate models you can choose from:
- Tudor Heritage Chrono Black and Grey ref. M70330N-0005 measuring 42mm x 13mm x 51mm with 22mm lug interhorn. Released in 2010. Outsourced ETA base movement (~42-hour power reserve). Rotating 12-hour bezel
- Tudor Heritage Chrono Grey and Black ref. M70330N-0006 measuring 42mm x 13mm x 51mm with 22mm lug interhorn. Outsourced ETA base movement (~42-hour power reserve). Rotating 12-hour bezel
- Tudor Heritage Chrono Blue ref. M70330B-0004 measuring 42mm x 13mm x 51mm with 22mm lug interhorn. Released in 2013. Outsourced ETA base movement (~42-hour power reserve). Rotating 12-hour bezel
- Tudor Black Bay Chrono S&G ref. M79363N-0002 measuring 41mm x 15mm x 50mm with 22mm lug interhorn. Released in 2019. Manufacture movement (~70-hour power reserve). Fixed tachymetric scale bezel
- Tudor Black Bay Chrono Panda ref. M79360N-0002 measuring 41mm x 14.4mm x 50.7mm with 22mm lug interhorn. Released in 2021. Manufacture movement (~70-hour power reserve). Fixed tachymetric scale bezel
- Tudor Black Bay Chrono Reverse Panda ref. M79360N-0001 measuring 41mm x 14.4mm x 50.7mm with 22mm lug interhorn. Released in 2021. Manufacture movement (~70-hour power reserve). Fixed tachymetric scale bezel
Daunting? Sure is. Let’s break these down.
First A Bit About Tudor Heritage Chrono History
Tudor’s first foray into racing themed sports watches began in 1970 with the Oysterdate chronograph, a 39mm diameter watch and powered by the manually-wound Valjoux mechanical calibre 7734 and featuring a cyclops lens at 6’o clock. There were three references of this – 7031/0, 7032/0 and 7033/0 (the latter never commercialised).
These inspired the automatic winding Tudor Heritage Chrono relaunch in 2010 that retained the choice of colours and the characteristic pentagonal hour markers (such as the ref. M70330N-0006) but removed the cyclops and increased the diameter to 42mm.
These were followed by the 1971 second 7100 series of Oysterdate chronographs with the different manually-wound Valjoux 234 movement, that came to be known to collectors by the nickname “Montecarlo” as their dials were reminiscent of a casino roulette wheel. The 40mm diameter reference 7169/0 was soon launched, a version of the “Montecarlo”. This prominently featured the royal blue, grey and orange colour tones.
These inspired the 42mm Tudor Heritage Chrono Blue launched in 2013, one that we are looking at in more detail here.
This again retained the choice of colours of the originals but removed the pentagonal hour markers from the mix and opted for the three-dimensional hour markers with two bevelled metallic edges in-filled with SuperLuminova (such as the ref. M70330B-0004).
Then in 1976 Tudor introduced the Prince Oysterdate family of chronographs, this time with automatic movements, that came to be known as “Big Block”. This was followed by the 1995’s second 79200 series of Prince Oysterdate selfwinding chronographs.
These latter tri-compax style chronographs have not been revived by Tudor yet, and I look forward to their resurrection.
The Tudor Heritage Chrono
All the Tudor Heritage Chrono variations feature the Calibre T401, which is essentially ETA 2892-A2 with a Dubois-Dépraz module on top.
This 25.6mm diameter and beating at 4Hz movement is not an integrated chronograph movement which Tudor has modified from tri-compax to bi-compax and replaced the standard 30-minute counter with a 45-minute counter. It provides with a 42-hour power reserve.
The Tudor Black Bay Chrono
The reference 79363N/79360N feature the COSC-certified manufacture movement, the calibre MT5813.
This 30.4mm diameter and 7.23mm thick self-winding mechanical chronograph movement with bidirectional rotor system features a variable inertia balance, a non-magnetic silicon balance spring, an open-worked (with satin-brushed and sand-blasted details) tungsten monobloc rotor, and bridges and mainplate with alternate sand-blasted, polished surfaces and laser decorations. It beats at the frequency of 4Hz (28’800 A/h), comprises of 41 jewels, and offers an impressive 70-hour power reserve.
Simplified Modern Generation Timeline
This is important to place the watches into context as it would affect what you choose.
2010, Tudor Heritage Chrono | 2013, Tudor Heritage Chrono Blue | 2017, Tudor Heritage Black Bay Chrono reference 79350 (now discontinued but first with manufacture movement and 41mm case) | 2019, Tudor Black Bay Chrono S&G | 2021, Tudor Black Bay Panda
If you wish to flaunt a ‘new’ watch or a more premium two-tone offering, then the Tudor Black Bay Chrono series is for you. But if you are someone who prefers a different aesthetic to the norm, and wants to get a Heritage model before it potentially gets discontinued or overhauled, then the Tudor Heritage Chrono Blue is an excellent offering.
So, do you want a throughly modern timepiece or a vintage and retro-remix?
But first, let’s look at how the Tudor Heritage Chrono wearing experience is. (And for our detailed hands-on experience of the Tudor Black Bay Chrono, please head here).
Tudor Heritage Chrono Blue – Hands-on Experience
Usually, 42mm diameter, 13mm thick and 51mm lug-to-lug spaced watches I tend to overlook, simply because 50mm is my outer limit for a timepiece considering my ~16cm wrists. But once in a while, you come across a watch that feels fine, and looks so darn good that it doesn’t matter its size, it simply works. The Tudor Heritage Chrono Blue is one such offering. If one was to create a perfect past meets present timepiece, this would take the lead. It’s got all the nods from its predecessor reference 7169/0, but comes as a modern package.
Another factor that helps it to make to my list for watches I would wear is that the bracelet end-link to end-link measurement is only 49mm, and when you add the sloping curved lugs to the mix, the watch actually doesn’t wear all that big.
It’s got a large presence no doubt, but the various colours and elements on the dial distract in good way.
This is of course completely based on personal tastes, but between all the 6 separate models you can currently choose from, the design language and the colours of the Tudor Heritage Chrono Blue speak to me the most. There is something fundamentally fun about owning a watch that’s a bit quirky, a bit colourful, and still stands tall on its design merits.
The subtle burst of orange against a brighter blue are attention grabbing, while the muted grey-beige dial reigns the excesses in, leaving you with a dial that’s not overdone or over the top. Despite its muted restraint, it politely screams. Think Patek and Hublot had a love child. Think old money and new money decided to invest together.
And then the bi-compax layout is also unique-ish, with only the modern Breitling Zorro dial watches such as the Top Time series coming to mind. Thanks to the likes of the Rolex Daytona and Omega Speedmaster, there is a rather generic tri-compax chrono around every corner. But colourful yet tasteful bi-compax dials are rarer, and the masked style present here even more so.
I also like that the indices are appliqué markers, and so is the Tudor shield at 12. This brings in a generous amount of 3D play to the dial. Another detail I love is the blue Tudor logo on the crown, matching the blue on the bezel. Also nicely complementing each other are the hobnail-esque knurling treatment of the bezel sides, the crown and the screw-down pushers.
There are lots of us who find that sometimes date apertures crowd a chronograph, and I find the rather diminutive and aligned with the appliqué indices date window to be a great added feature. It’s there but not in your face.
The one aspect that the Tudor Heritage Chrono Blue falls short in is the movement. Not because it’s ETA, but because of the short 42-hour power reserve. And also now that Tudor has gifted us the universally accepted BB58 dimensions, I wouldn’t mind it being smaller and without screw-down pushers. Call it the evolution of the Tudor Heritage Chrono Blue.
Tudor Heritage Chrono vs Tudor BB Chrono
So which one do you choose. Besides the obvious beauty is in the eyes of the beholder trope, we have broken it down to certain criteria, and hopefully this will paint a clearer picture.
1. Legibility – The Black Bay versions are far more legible and less busy. BB +1
2. Pet Peeves – Lots of us have pet peeves, with the text books on the dials of Tudor watches being one such issue. The Black Bay Chrono has three lines of text at 6 and a bigger date aperture, while the Tudor Heritage Chrono has none. Heritage +1
3. Pricing value – 6’170 AUD for blue, grey or black Tudor Heritage Chrono, retro-chic aesthetics, outsourced movement with lower power reserve and larger diameter but thinner case.
7’220 AUD for panda or reverse panda Tudor Black Bay, modern aesthetics, manufacture movement with higher power reserve and smaller diameter but thicker case. There is a 1’050 AUD premium between the two.
9’860 AUD for two-tone Tudor Black Bay S&G, modern aesthetics, manufacture movement with higher power reserve and smaller diameter but thicker case .
In summary, I would go for BB Chrono if this was a rotation piece, or for Heritage Chrono if only watch. Though with dual-time function doubling up, Heritage gets my vote overall. Heritage +2
4. Unique looks and something not to be mixed with modern Rolex or called a Daytona ‘for the poor man’ – Heritage +3
5. Motorsports connection – Tudor Heritage Chrono has a history of partnering with Porsche Heritage racing upon launch. Heritage +4
6. Legacy – The Tudor Heritage Chrono is based on actual references from the brand’s legacy and portfolio. Heritage +5
7. Better for slim wrists – About the same but I would vote for Black Bay Chrono. BB +2
8. Secondary market re-sale value – On Chrono24, if you do a search ‘Tudor Heritage Chrono Blue’, the cheapest offering is 5’228 AUD + shipping and Import duties. On the other hand, if you do a search for ‘Tudor Black Bay Chrono’, the cheapest offering is the revere panda version for 6’404 AUD + shipping and Import duties. Both these reflect the above stated retail 1’050 AUD premium between the two. But the cheapest panda dial version is for 8’173 AUD + shipping and Import duties. The newer versions are a better ‘investment’ if you wish to call it that. BB +3
9. Lume shots – BB +4
10. Bezel preference – This is again personal but I would take a rotating bezel over a fixed one any day. Tudor Heritage Chrono’s bidirectional rotatable 12-hour bezel is also handy for a second time-zone display. For instance, say the time difference between Sydney and Singapore is 3 hours. So you rotate the bezel such that the ‘3’ on the bezel reads upright at 12’o clock. In this case, the minutes hand would be the same for both, and the hour hand will point to the local time on the appliqué indices and the away time on the bezel marking corresponding to it. Heritage +6
11. Water-resistance – BB Chrono comes with 200m as compared to the 150m of the Tudor Heritage Chrono. Realistically it won’t make a bit of a difference for most, but… BB +5
12. Heritage has a flatter sapphire crystal while the BB has a domed sapphire crystal. I will chalk that as neutral depending upon your preference.
13. Movement – The COSC-certified manufacture movement, the calibre MT5813 of the BB Chrono simply wins. BB +6
Result as to which one should you buy? It comes put pretty even for both versions, at 6 points each. Which ever ones you are partial to, take your pick; can’t go wrong with either.
That’s All Folks!
Technically, both are quite affront and offer different things. For those who collect chronographs, there is a definite case to be made for buying both given hadn’t it been for the branding, these could very well be from different brands.
That said, our readers should choose whichever ticks more boxes for them. As for me personally, I am partial to the Tudor Heritage Chrono over the Black Bay styling. In a utopian world I would prefer to get this as a 39 or 40mm diameter and slightly slimmer cased watch, and preferably with Tudor’s manufacture movement. So essentially a modern version of the ref. 7031/0 mixed with ref. 7169/0.
Until that day, whichever you choose, you can’t go wrong. They are both exceptional value for money offerings, and with Tudor’s 5-year warranty, there is absolutely no reason to not go with these for your next chronograph purchase.
To find out more about the new Tudor Heritage Chrono collection and other Tudor watches, please head to their website here or visit their authorised retailer J Farren-Price Sydney at 80 Castlereagh St, Sydney (02 9231 3299). All images unless otherwise specified are ©Watch Ya Gonna Do About It.