Tudor Black Bay GMT Review

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TimelessLuxWatches
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Tudor Black Bay GMT Review

Post by TimelessLuxWatches » Thu Jun 21, 2018 3:31 pm

Tudor Black Bay GMT Review

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Today we have the privilege of reviewing arguably the most important new watch of 2018, Tudor’s Black Bay GMT. This is a historic model for Tudor, because it’s not only their first in-house GMT movement, but also the first-ever GMT complication offered on their popular Black Bay line.

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It takes only a glance for any watch collector to see that the Black Bay GMT, or BBGMT (rolls right off the tongue) for short, borrows from its Rolex heritage. But it does so in a nuanced way, integrating plenty of unique-to-Tudor design features, like snowflake hands and, of course, the Black Bay case with its big crown.

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The first thing you’ll notice is the new bidirectional GMT bezel. This 48 click aluminum bezel grants the wearer even more capability to juggle multiple time zones, but perhaps more importantly, it’s a stylistic departure from existing Black Bays thanks to its dual colors. The matte finish is more subtle than you might imagine, and the blue half is appreciably more subdued than in Tudor’s stock photography. In lower light, the blue becomes significantly darker than in my photos here. Owing both to the subtlety of the blue half of the bezel, and the matte finish on all of it, the Black Bay GMT remains a fairly low-key watch, as opposed to the bright colors and shiny finishes associated with most ceramic bezels. In terms of feel, it takes a fairly high effort to rotate the bezel and it has very clear detents, no doubt to prevent accidental rotation.

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The hands are likely to be the second thing you notice, both their unique snowflake designs and the addition of a red GMT hand. The existing snowflake hands, one of the core elements that unites all Black Bay models, remain, and interestingly, their style has been continued to a new snowflake GMT hand. Whereas the red is somewhat flat and desaturated in the bezel, the red GMT hand is vibrant and bright. As the dial is otherwise monochrome, this really makes the face of the watch more visually interesting. As you would hope, the hour hand is independently adjustable without interfering with timekeeping. Legibility remains excellent as the Black Bay’s tool watch credentials remain intact.

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The backdrop to those hands is matte black, like the majority of Black Bays. I’ve used a lot of light here to illuminate the rough texture of the dial intended to absorb as much light as possible, which creates an extremely high contrast with the watch’s hands and luminescent markers.

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Like most GMT watches, the quickset date has been removed in favor of using the independent hour hand. This has the advantage of allowing the wearer to change the date backwards as well as forwards. I was also pleased to see that the instant date change is still present in the BBGMT, snapping over, in this particular example, at 2 minutes after midnight.

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The lume is superb, as you’ve come to expect from Tudor. I was initially concerned that the GMT hand might get confused with the seconds hand at a glance, but Tudor has added a luminescent tip to the typical snowflake diamond shape, which will aid in legibility.

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In terms of writing on the dial, we drop the 200m in favor of GMT, which seems sensible. Though the writing is gone, the watch remains rated for 200 meters. Fans of redundancy will be pleased to know that the “OFFICIALLY CERTIFIED” is still there, as if Rolex/Tudor is habitually afraid that people won’t believe that watch is really a chronometer without that note.

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A small, but not insignificant, element that I think warrants some attention is the new crown tube, which is no longer color-matched to the theme of the watch. This never bothered me personally, but I know it annoyed some collectors, so the use of a polished crown tube will be a big feature to some. Tudor seems to be moving in this direction generally, with the BB58 also adopting the polished look.

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The “big crown” remains, however, as it is one of the most recognizable features of the Black Bay collection. While the shield adorns the dial, the rose lives on to decorate the crown.

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Another “feature” that warrants our attention is the thickness, or rather, the lack thereof. When the in-house Black Bays first came out, while overall celebrated, they were criticized for their appreciable increase in thickness. As time has gone on, it has become clear that Tudor was simply looking to the future. That same 14.8mm measurement from the three hander lives on in this GMT, despite the additional hand, and even to the chronograph. It’s still not as thin as I’d like it to be, but now I think we at least understand why: it has to fit any conceivable movement Tudor might want to put in it down the road. Those still dissatisfied with the thickness, however, have plenty to look forward to in the substantially thinner new BB58.

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One reason for the thickness is the beautiful “box” crystal, which is itself quite tall relative to the bezel. However, while this feature contributes significantly to thickness when measuring with calipers, it does not do so visually, making the watch appear thinner in real life than its official dimensions would suggest.

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Other dimensions remain consistent as well, like the 41mm case and 50mm lug to lug measurement, currently the only size available for a Black Bay GMT. Perhaps we’ll see GMT versions of the Fifty-Eight or Bronze someday.

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The Black Bay GMT is available in three different flavors, namely two straps and one bracelet. The bracelet is the riveted model you’re currently familiar with, and it can also be equipped on a lovely “Terra Di Siena” leather strap, which completes the vintage look nicely. For me, however, it has to be on their fabric strap, complete with subtle red stripe (much more subtle than appears in Tudor’s stock photography). I think it’s the best looking of the three, and, like its leather counterpart, it’s priced $325 less than the bracelet model, a nice bonus. I’d love to see Tudor offer this on rubber down the road as well.

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Unfortunately for review purposes, although fortunate for traditionalists, the new MT5652 movement isn’t visible through the back. The 5652 is a new version of the superb existing Tudor in-house movements, like the 5602, but with the addition of a GMT complication. That means you can expect the same excellent chronometer-grade performance and 70 hour power reserve, just with the expanded capabilities of a second time zone, independent hour hand, and a date that can be changed forwards and backwards. If you were hoping for an all-new in-house movement, you can have that too, but it’ll be found in the upcoming BB58.

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The Black Bay GMT cannot be fully explored without discussing its value. Order it on a strap, like the one you see here, and you can have this watch for $3,575, or, on bracelet, $3,900. For that you’re getting an in-house chronometer with 70 hour power reserve, a true GMT complication, and some fantastic good looks. In my view, the most direct competitor for this watch is one of my personal favorites, the Omega Planet Ocean, or specifically, the PO GMT. The 232.32.44.22.01.002, for instance, on rubber is $7,700, an increase of $4,125 over the Tudor. In fairness, you do get a ceramic bezel and an increased depth rating with the Omega, but at roughly twice the price, I think the Tudor remains the clear choice in terms of value. The Tudor even has some advantages of its own, like an instant date change and a longer power reserve.

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2018, I think, is the year that the Black Bay has really come to feel like a complete collection, something comparable to Omega’s Seamaster line. It’s now offered with many different complications, colors, styles and sizes, rounding it out with the new GMT and a smaller, thinner in-house Black Bay Fifty-Eight. Adding a GMT complication to the list means you can now have your Black Bay without date, with date, with GMT or even with a chronograph. Now there really is something for everyone, but more than just an expansion of the Black Bay line, I think the GMT is one of the most significant models in it. The Black Bay GMT has proven to be one of the most popular Black Bay models already, so early in its life.

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It’s easy to see why. The watch looks unbelievably good, among the best Tudor has to offer. I’ve always liked the snowflake hands, but I like this red GMT hand best of all. While Tudor opted to keep the red and blue bezel fairly subdued, they went all out on the red GMT hand, which gives the otherwise monochrome dial the punch it needs. Combine those looks with a new version of a great in-house movement and you have a watch that is delivering on every level, aesthetically, horologically, and even in terms of value. I think the real question for most Tudor fans is not whether they want the Black Bay GMT, but rather, do they like it or the new Black Bay Fifty-Eight more. As for myself, I’ll abstain from deciding which I like best until I get to spend more time with the BB58 in an upcoming review.

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aikiman44
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Re: Tudor Black Bay GMT Review

Post by aikiman44 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 3:38 pm

I love that.
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Seppia
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Re: Tudor Black Bay GMT Review

Post by Seppia » Thu Jun 21, 2018 3:40 pm

Looks amazing
Still, can't get over this
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Re: Tudor Black Bay GMT Review

Post by Nellipj » Thu Jun 21, 2018 4:38 pm

I want one. Are you still taking orders?


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Re: Tudor Black Bay GMT Review

Post by Panerai7 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:13 pm

Seppia wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 3:40 pm
Looks amazing
Still, can't get over this
Image
That's actually much better because they shaved the whole side of the case touching the wrist. The regular BB is a block compared to that

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Re: Tudor Black Bay GMT Review

Post by CGSshorty » Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:30 pm

Seppia wrote:Looks amazing
Still, can't get over this
Image
The crown side isn’t bad. It’s the other side that resembles a barn door.
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Re: Tudor Black Bay GMT Review

Post by matt.wu » Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:23 pm

What's the crown tube/collar/whatever made of? I understand it's the color of steel, but is it steel?
:htfu:

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Re: Tudor Black Bay GMT Review

Post by TimelessLuxWatches » Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:49 pm

matt.wu wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:23 pm
What's the crown tube/collar/whatever made of? I understand it's the color of steel, but is it steel?
I've been wondering that myself--I'm not sure if it's still aluminum or not. My guess is that it's steel, and I say that because I think aluminum was chosen because of its superior ability to be anodized, which is no longer relevant in the GMT or 58's crown tubes.

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Re: Tudor Black Bay GMT Review

Post by TimelessLuxWatches » Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:11 pm

Nellipj wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 4:38 pm
I want one. Are you still taking orders?
Absolutely, just not online anymore. When you get a moment, give us a call at 214-494-4241.

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Re: Tudor Black Bay GMT Review

Post by dnslater » Fri Jun 22, 2018 2:57 am

CGSshorty wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:30 pm
Seppia wrote:Looks amazing
Still, can't get over this
Image
The crown side isn’t bad. It’s the other side that resembles a barn door.
They have actually improved it a bit over the regular 3-hand in house BB. Note that they sculpted the sides away at the bottom to lessen the profile a bit. Same thickness, but should wear a tad better. Interestingly my Speedy Pro is about the same thickness, but the sculpted case shape and tall crystal make it wear much thinner. It is all about the case shape.

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Re: Tudor Black Bay GMT Review

Post by deepcdvr » Fri Jun 22, 2018 3:11 am

That is gorgeous - I will own one.

//

Thanks again for a fantastic review! We write similar reviews, you and I, except that mine typically contain zero information ;)
VR/
Paul

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Re: Tudor Black Bay GMT Review

Post by jimyritz » Fri Jun 22, 2018 4:39 am

Excellent review---Love what Tudor is doing---as much as I like the GMT, can't wait for the 58....

Mike

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Re: Tudor Black Bay GMT Review

Post by jswing » Fri Jun 22, 2018 5:54 am

Excellent review as always Brett.

I'm holding out for the BB58, and just read somewhere that it's delayed now until September. Has anyone else heard this?
Last edited by jswing on Sat Jun 23, 2018 6:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Tudor Black Bay GMT Review

Post by gr8sw » Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:15 am

super review and hot watch... looks like another winner from Tudor!
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Re: Tudor Black Bay GMT Review

Post by 1954Selmer » Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:59 pm

Where do find the time to write such thorough reviews? Deep in The Heart of Texas, we love your reviews.

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Re: Tudor Black Bay GMT Review

Post by TimelessLuxWatches » Sat Jun 23, 2018 1:39 pm

1954Selmer wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:59 pm
Where do find the time to write such thorough reviews? Deep in The Heart of Texas, we love your reviews.
Thank you! Sometimes there are a few late nights involved.
I'm holding out for the BB58, and just read somewhere that it's delayed now until September. Has anyone else heard this?
We just checked with Tudor and the BB58, as far as anyone is aware, isn't delayed. Small quantities are expected in roughly 4 weeks, although the first several waves of these watches will go out to early pre-orders.
Last edited by TimelessLuxWatches on Sat Jun 23, 2018 3:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Tudor Black Bay GMT Review

Post by Nellipj » Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:30 pm

Deposit is paid, now the wait begins


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Re: Tudor Black Bay GMT Review

Post by Jeep99dad » Mon Jun 25, 2018 11:17 am

Are you guys getting some sort of discount on these ?
Merde Alors! Et Vive Les Francais! :)

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Re: Tudor Black Bay GMT Review

Post by Nellipj » Mon Jun 25, 2018 11:20 am

Not on this piece. No tax though for me.


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Re: Tudor Black Bay GMT Review

Post by hoppyjr » Mon Jun 25, 2018 11:24 am

deepcdvr wrote:That is gorgeous - I will own one.

//

Thanks again for a fantastic review! We write similar reviews, you and I, except that mine typically contain zero information ;)

:lol:

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Re: Tudor Black Bay GMT Review

Post by Henryj » Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:39 pm

A couple of the pics make the bluelook pretty dark. I know it’s just the pics, but it gives a bit of a feel for how a black bezel version would look. I think I can chance waiting for that.
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Re: Tudor Black Bay GMT Review

Post by kempoman » Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:24 pm

something new to me, BB increase thickness with in-house movement to 14.8mm? What is the ETA mvt case thickness?
Watch collector since 1989

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Re: Tudor Black Bay GMT Review

Post by TimelessLuxWatches » Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:02 pm

Henryj wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:39 pm
A couple of the pics make the bluelook pretty dark. I know it’s just the pics, but it gives a bit of a feel for how a black bezel version would look. I think I can chance waiting for that.
This is actually bluer than it is in a lot of lighting. Tudor's stock photos are kind of misleading with their bright blues.

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Re: Tudor Black Bay GMT Review

Post by TimelessLuxWatches » Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:04 pm

kempoman wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:24 pm
something new to me, BB increase thickness with in-house movement to 14.8mm? What is the ETA mvt case thickness?
I believe it was about 12.8mm. The in-house version is significantly thicker, but it looks like they wanted to produce a single case that could hold all of their future movements, so they went with a thicker-than-necessary case to begin with.

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Re: Tudor Black Bay GMT Review

Post by kempoman » Mon Jun 25, 2018 10:40 pm

TimelessLuxWatches wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:04 pm
kempoman wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:24 pm
something new to me, BB increase thickness with in-house movement to 14.8mm? What is the ETA mvt case thickness?
I believe it was about 12.8mm. The in-house version is significantly thicker, but it looks like they wanted to produce a single case that could hold all of their future movements, so they went with a thicker-than-necessary case to begin with.

Ok, thanks for the info. :thumbsup:
Watch collector since 1989

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