High-quality Tudor Black Bay S&G Watch Collection hands-on

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That two-tone. It is so hot right now. But how can it not be? They say it takes around two decades for a design cycle to complete its own revolution, also given that things tend to occur a bit slower in Switzerland, it would appear the watch industry is right on schedule to enjoy a mid-eighties fashion renaissance in regards to everything two-tone or bi-color (colloquially known as’bico’ by the cool kids). Tudor watches appears to be directing the trend curve with not just one, not two, but three hard-charging two-tone watches introduced at the previous 18 months or so: the Black Bay S&G (especially with all the champagne dial) diver from 2018, the Black Bay Chronograph S&G introduced in Baselworld back in March (read Bilal’s impressions here), along with the newest Black Bay S&G 36 or 41mm on its bi-color five-link bracelet, introduced this year, though it wasn’t until only recently in the Couture tradeshow in Las Vegas where we had a opportunity to go hands.

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Broadly speaking, a two-tone watch would be rendered in some combination of steel and metal — solid rose or yellow gold, the addition of which would invariably drive the price well beyond what a traditional Tudor customer may be expecting to pay. For reference, a similar two-tone 41mm Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra with a rubber strap begins at about $8,000 while a two-tone Datejust out of Tudor’s sister brand Rolex watches starts at $12,700 (make certain to read Ariel’s detailed overview of the watch directly here). To deliver the hot, creamy tones of real gold with no substantial upcharge, Tudor caps the steel bezel & crown, and bracelet centre link cores with enough gold that enables them to be inherently refinished throughout the life span of the watch — results that you could never achieve using thin gold plating techniques, or worse — a gold-colored PVD coating, too common amongst a lot more inexpensive watches.
The end result is a durable luster that just a genuine precious metal may supply, without the considerable upcharge. What makes the S&G really special though are the unique tones of the gold itself, which carries a fuzzy, late-summer warmth that is not overly polished or precious — all components that are instrumental to Tudor’s brand identity and positioning. If you’ve not yet been accepted by the two-tone trend, or never warmed to the South Beach vibe steered by your dad’s solid-gold Datejust, the Black Bay S&G’s lace visage conveys a far more casual, youthful approach to precious metal, and one which certainly deserves another look.
Tudor Black Bay S&G Watch Collection Hands-On General Hands-On
Unlike Tudor’s wildly popular Black Bay dip collection, the non-diver watches like the S&G are not yet fitted with manufacture moves, but rather still utilize ETA 2824 moves. Naturally there’s no real detriment to relying on such reliable, long-running movements, though you do miss out on the COSC-certified accuracy, greater power book and enhanced shock resistance that characterize the MT caliber movements. The bracelet is among the real highlights though, with its own five connections, and fitting satin-brushed finish. The small beads articulate around the wrist perfectly, don’t pinch hair, and unlike the jubilee two-tone, the polished center link is stainless steel, so creating a sporty pinstriped effect which not just dials down the general volume of gold onto the watch, but adds an additional welcome level of comparison between different tones and textures. It is completed with Tudor’s excellent fliplock safety clasp, which utilizes tiny ceramic beads in the locking mechanism for a smooth, satisfying engagement each time you shut it.

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Tudor Black Bay S&G Watch Collection Hands-On General Hands-On
The vintage-inspired Tudor Black Bay collection is a big one indeed — using 47 individual variants spanning a large number of sizes, capabilities, case finishes, and thus intended customers. When I had to pick though, the radially brushed gold dial is an absolute knockout. In addition, I prefer this particular execution in its 41mm dimensions, having spent time with all the black-dialed 36mm version introduced in 2017, which surprisingly felt too small for my 6.5″ wrist. And though the two-tone does it for me personally, for those chasing the Black Bay’s ability to transition more effortlessly between game and apparel, the black or blue dialed variations in full stainless steel might eventually end up being much more versatile alternative.