For its first participation in the Only Watch charity auction, TUDOR has decided to reinterpret one of the least known tool-watches in its history: reference 7923. Launched in the mid-1950s and produced in tiny quantities, this is the brand’s only divers’ watch to have been equipped with a hand-wound movement. It also stands out from the other divers’ watches produced by TUDOR with its baton-type hands. Highly sought after by collectors today, this rare reference was an excellent starting point for the creation of a one-off model destined for this unique initiative.
Since 2010 and the presentation of the Heritage Chrono model, some of the most important models of its history have been reinterpreted by TUDOR. The very opposite of a mere re-edition, the watches belonging to this Heritage line are the result of a true temporal and stylistic encounter between past, present and future. The aesthetic codes that contributed to the renown of the brand’s historical models are preserved and injected with modern touches to update their iconic status. This approach has become one of TUDOR’s hallmarks and the Heritage Black Bay model was notably rewarded in this regard by the “Revival” category prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève(GPHG) in 2012.
The TUDOR Heritage Black Bay One created for Only Watch 2015 is part of this approach, reinterpreting the reference 7923 with enlightened freedom. It borrows the glossy black of the dial from the brand’s production in the late 1950s and early 1960s, while the inscriptions and gold-coloured hands (reproduced here in a shade of yellow gold) are derived from reference 7923 itself. The dial layout of the historical watch with its two lines of text at 6 o’clock has also been retained, specifying the maximum guaranteed immersion depth, in red, along with the mention “shock resisting” already present on reference 7923. Whereas the luminescent material was formerly painted directly on the dial, it is now laid in applied gold-coloured inserts ensuring improved definition. Finally, the dial of the TUDOR Heritage Black Bay One is domed, a subtle yet important detail for the experienced eye and representing another nod to mid-20th century watch design.
The sapphire crystal of the TUDOR Heritage Black Bay One is also domed in a particularly marked manner that is the most pronounced to date in TUDOR’s Heritage line. This characteristic is typical of the acrylic crystals used by the watch industry in the 1950s. The visual effect of a dial and crystal combination of this nature is truly striking, giving unique depth to the watch “face”. The latter is framed by the unidirectional rotatable bezel of the TUDOR Heritage Black Bay One, directly inspired by that of reference 7923, which does not provide minutes divisions.
Compared with the 37 mm case diameter of reference 7923, the TUDOR Heritage Black Bay One measures 41 mm, endowing the watch with a more contemporary presence on the wrist. It’s taut, powerful and eminently modern lines nevertheless emulate the famous accentuated chamfers above the lugs, typical of 1950s TUDOR divers’ watches and highly appreciated by devotees of the brand. The prominent crown, with no protective shoulders in keeping with the overall lines of the model that inspired it, is mounted on an anodized aluminium tube the same colour as the bezel providing an additional touch of contemporary elegance.
Fitted with a solid stainless steel bracelet featuring tube-type attachments, a technical term used to describe a final link which does not come into contact with the case and an additional reference to the history of product development at TUDOR, the Black Bay One also comes with two additional and unique straps: a dark brown aged leather strap, a Jacquard-weave admiralty grey fabric strap. Traditionally woven in a century-old craft company in the French region of Saint-Etienne, the historical cradle of the passementerie(trimmings) industry, this fabric strap is yet another example of the added value that TUDOR brings to its creations.
In keeping with Only Watch spirit, only one of this new model will be produced, a first for TUDOR, which as a rule produces neither limited editions nor one-off pieces.
Model: Tudor Heritage Black Bay One
41mm steel case with polished and satin finish
Bezel: Unidirectional rotatable steel bezel, matt black disc
Winding crown: Screw-down winding crown in steel engraved with the TUDOR rose, with black anodized aluminium crown tube
Crystal: Domed sapphire crystal
Water-proofness: Waterproof to 200m (660 ft)
Self-winding mechanical movement, TUDOR calibre 2824
Power reserve: Power reserve of approximately 38hours
Steel bracelet with tube-type attachments and folding clasp and safety catch
Two additional straps supplied with watch: one in dark brown aged leather and one in grey fabric; with buckle