The Tudor Black Bay Pro needs no explanations, and may well be worth waiting for.
Much has already been said of the Tudor Black Bay Pro, and we will add to the chorus of “Hell Yes” resounding across the Internet. This watch needs more praise like a fish needs a bicycle, and it could really do with more supply, if widespread word of the watch’s availability issues are to be believed. It is early in the year yet, watch novelty wise, so perhaps things will improve, but perhaps a bit of waiting is a good thing. It has always been the case that watch collectors have been used to waiting for specific pieces, given that production and delivery issues have bedevilled the trade for years. The current wave of enthusiasm washing over fine watchmaking — and indeed all watchmaking — is making immediate gratification a real thing though. Let us then look at why you might want to wait for the Tudor Black Bay Pro.
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To dispense with it immediately, a certain reference 1655 Explorer II does come to mind when looking at this 39mm GMT watch in steel. If you feel that details really matter, then of course the Black Bay Pro is nothing like the 1655, beyond a superficial resemblance (that could be said of a multitude of GMT watches). These details include the guardless crown (itself a new design, not based on any other crown), the dial, not to mention the hands and indices, and the movement…and the bracelet. It is safe to say that these all constitute more than mere details; aping a Rolex reference from 1971, that has been discontinued since 1984, was probably never the intention with the Black Bay Pro.
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Having said all that, the Black Bay Pro is a handsome watch that could be a descendant of reference 1655, but with true GMT functionality. If you like this narrative, it helps that Tudor never made a watch like the Black Bay Pro, which is what has forced the Rolex comparison. Rolex does not do tributes or reissues, and the watch community has widely (rightly or wrongly) expected that from Tudor instead — as in, Tudor is counted on to release watches with Rolex attributes from decades ago. For example, now that Rolex has introduced the ceramic bezel en masse, it falls to Tudor to keep steel and aluminium in the picture. This has nothing to do with what the firm actually does, and just represents the feelings of the global community — or perhaps just a prominent segment of that community. None of this detracts from the value proposition of the Black Bay Pro, which also happens to wear very nicely indeed — a thicker wrist will bear the 14.6mm height of the case well.
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