by Patrick Gilbertson April 07, 2021
With so much attention set on what Rolex will release to mark the 50th anniversary of the Explorer II, another 50th birthday within Rolex family has drawn far less intrigue.
50 years after the launch of the Tudor’s first chronograph, the Oysterdate, the company have announced 2 new reworkings of their Black Bay Chrono. The 2 new models, the M79360N-0002 and the M79360N-0001, feature a new bezel design and dials with panda-style contrasting registers.
Like the steel-bezel and S&G variants, the two new models of Black Bay Chrono take inspiration from a back catalogue of vintage Tudor dive watches and chronographs. The old-school riveted bracelet and ‘Snowflake’ handset are lifted from the early Tudor Submariners and the placement of the screw-down pushers, crown, and tachymeter bezel are very much like those on the original Tudor Oysterdate chronographs.
The 2021 Tudor Black Bay Chrono ref:M79360N-0002
The first of the two new models features an opaline (or milky, off-white) dial and black registers with the second new model featuring a black dial with silver registers. Both dials have a subtle grained finish that extends down into the sunken, bi-compax sub-dials.
The new dials are certainly head-turners, however, once you’ve admired them, the next part that steals attention is the 70s-style black anodised aluminium bezel with its tachymetric scale and silver markings. This characterful insert sits in a fixed, steel bezel.
The final update on this rework of the first Black Bay Chrono is the replacing of that red anodised aluminium winding crown tube. Both 2021 models replace the slightly left-field part with a traditional, steel crown tube.
The 2021 Tudor Black Bay Chrono ref:M79360N-0001
The main criticism of the first Black Bay Chrono, the reference M79350-0004, that will remain consistent with the new variations is the way that the chunky ‘Snowflake’ hour hand obstructs the view of the chronograph register twice a day for a 2-hour period. While this won’t be a dealbreaker for many, it is a factor worth considering if you plan to use the chronograph function regularly. Other features that the new models share with the 2017 Baselword release are the lightly-domed sapphire crystal, the case dimensions, the chrono pushers, the riveted 3-link steel bracelet and finally, the Calibre MT5813.
The MT5813 isn’t merely a re-badged Breitling B01 as many suspect, Tudor have added a non-magnetic silicon balance spring and escape wheel, a tungsten rotor and an upgrade in timing capacity from 30 minutes to 45 minutes. Tudor aren’t dubious about the origins of the MT5813 stating in the press release that the brands have ‘chosen to pool their expertise in the design and production of certain mechanical movements’. For more information on how Tudor are disrupting the movement market, check out this video.
While the 45-minute timing capability of the MT5813 is far less than the 12-hours of the 4130 inside the modern Daytona, the Breitling-derived calibre does feature a hearty 70-hour power reserve, a 4 Hz beat-rate, instantaneous date change, the ability for rapid adjustment without a non-correction range, and most impressively, a 10-year recommended service interval.
The Tudor Calibre MT5813
Will these new watches cause the same viral hype as that of the BB58 Blue back in 2020? Who knows, but if the popularity of the 2016 116500LN panda-style Daytona is anything to go by, these Tudor chronographs will be hot property.