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The Tudor GMT: From Iconaut to the New Black Bay 58

Watches and Wonders 2024 is the year that Tudor gives collectors what they'd been asking for...

It’s here! The Black Bay 58 GMT has launched and, as if it couldn’t get any better, it is equipped with a red and black bezel, what collectors refer to as the Coke. Pepsi or Coke, whichever you prefer, the Black Bay 58 GMT is the watch that collectors have been asking for the most since the original Black Bay 58 was lunched.

This isn’t the first Black Bay GMT, that came in 2018, when the Pepsi bezel-travel watch was unveiled. I remember the launch well, as it marked a return to Tudor and Rolex joining forces as the PR presentation showcased the new Tudor alongside the latest Rolex GMT-Master with Pepsi ceramic bezel. Billed as a family celebration of travel watches, both watches were a huge success.

A Nod to Heritage: The Black Bay 58 GMT

Fast forward to the present day, and Tudor continues to honour its legacy of innovation with the launch of the Black Bay 58 GMT. This new addition to the Black Bay line is a testament to Tudor’s commitment to blending historical homage with modern watchmaking standards. Named after the year Tudor introduced its first divers’ watch waterproof to 200 meters The 1958 reference 7924 Big Crown Submariner), the Black Bay 58 GMT draws aesthetic inspiration from its predecessors whilst showcasing Tudor’s mastery of the most cutting-edge watchmaking.

The First Foray: The Tudor Iconaut

Long before the Black Bay GMT, there was the Iconaut. Launched in the mid-2000s, the Iconaut was Tudor’s maiden voyage into the realms of the GMT complication. It was a hefty, but very much of-the-times, 43mm sports chronograph that was not only capable of tracking dual time-zones but was also waterproof to a depth of 150 meters. With its robust Valjoux movement, the Tudor calibre 7754, the Iconaut embodied the spirit of adventure, catering to those who sought a watch that could keep pace with their exploratory ventures across different time zones.

The Tudor Iconaut

Second Zone: The Aeronaut

In 2006 a new watch was born that visually could have been the offspring of a Rolex Daytona 116520 and an Explorer 2 16570. The Aeronaut was given the reference number 20200 and was housed in a 41mm case with 21mm lugs. The Aeronaut enjoyed the silhouette of a chrono, albeit with an extra pusher, and yet was a true GMT watch. The pusher of the time in Tudor sports watches with a hybrid of early Oyster pump pushers and later screw down pushers and were unlocked by a quarter turn.

On the Aeronaut the two o’clock pusher could be used to advance the hour hand – one click moved the hour hand forward by one hour. The pusher at four o’clock took the hand back by one hour. Simple and an easy way to adjust to new or changing local times by the intrepid traveller. The third pusher was located at eight o’clock and could be used to advance the date, a click and a day at a time. The screw down trip-lock crown had the usual functions of winding the watch and setting the time and was the method by which one could move the red 24-hour hand.

The Tudor Aeronaut

A New Era: The Black Bay 58 GMT

The watch features a 39mm diameter case, adhering to the proportions characteristic of the 1950s. Its bidirectional bezel, adorned in burgundy and black with gilt accents, evokes the golden age of air travel, embodying the essence of jet-setting in style. The inclusion of Tudor’s new mid-size GMT Manufacture Calibre, the MT5450-U, further underscores the brand’s dedication to precision and reliability. Certified by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) and meeting the rigorous standards of the METAS Master Chronometer certification, the Black Bay 58 GMT represents a pinnacle of Tudor’s horological expertise.

Key Highlights of the Black Bay 58 GMT

Design and Aesthetics: The Black Bay 58 GMT maintains the iconic Black Bay aesthetic with a 39mm stainless steel case and a bidirectional bezel featuring burgundy, black, and gilt accents. The dial showcases subtly domed matte black finishing with gilt details, paired with the distinctive “Snowflake” hands, a hallmark of Tudor divers’ watches since 1969.

Tech Talk: The GMT Manufacture Calibre MT5450-U is at the heart of the Black Bay 58 GMT. It’s designed for robustness, precision, and resistance to magnetic fields, boasting a 65-hour power reserve. This movement’s construction ensures it meets the stringent criteria for Master Chronometer certification by METAS.

Wear it Your Way: The Black Bay 58 GMT offers a choice between a stainless steel “rivet-style” bracelet and a rubber strap, both equipped with the TUDOR “T-fit” rapid adjustment clasp.

Tudor’s Future Ambitions

The introduction of the Black Bay 58 GMT highlights Tudor’s ongoing commitment to excellence and innovation. By achieving the METAS Master Chronometer certification, Tudor continues is quest for all its future collections to be Master Chronometer rated; a feat that will be possible due to the fact that all its in-house movements can be worked to to meet the standard. The ’58 GMT is a watch that has all the punch of a modern wearable watch, but styled in way that will delight fans of both modern and vintage pieces.

So, ladies and gentlemen, please form an orderly queue…


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