The Tudor Black Bay Ceramic (above) isn’t the first ceramic-cased Tudor Black Bay. Nope. That honor belongs to the Tudor Black Bay Ceramic One. Sold under the high patronage of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco (not my words), the one-off timepiece raised a LOT of money for Big Al’s Only Watch charity. The world’s first Tudor Black Bay ceramic watch cost someone . . .
$390k. Ouch! The virtually identical Tudor Black Bay Ceramic runs a mere $4,725. Siri tells me I could buy eighty new Tudors for the price of the #onlywatch piece.
My daughters would be royally pissed at me for squandering their inheritance. Here girls! Have a watch! Have ten! I’d be passing out Tudor Black Bays with the same satin brushed ceramic case and bezel, dash-dot-dot-dash indices and snowflake hands as the Ceramic One. Not to mention vastly greater legibility than the fully blacked-out Black Bay.
Not to put too fine a point on it, Tudor annihilated the value of a wealthy patron’s “one-off” watch to bag big bucks extending their already ultra-mega-extensive range of Black Bays (over 65 watches divided into eight “families”) with a 200m diver that takes the exclusive #onlywatch and makes it better.
Right answer! No one other than yours truly and ass-kissing watch bloggers are making that comparison.
More importantly, the new Tudor Black Bay Ceramic is a drop-dead sexy 41mm beast. It beats its full production Black Bay brethren by dint of its Darth Vader demeanor and METAS Master Chronometer certification – a step up from the Ceramic One’s COSC stamp of approval. Speaking of which . . .
Tudor’s METAS stunting video is long on disco beats and clean room imagery, short on facts. For those of you with better things to do than research watch testing procedures, METAS is a fully independent, absolutely incorruptible Swiss organization – as you’d expect from a country whose banking system has nothing to do with secretly laundering trillions in dictators’ and criminals’ blood money. Any more. Theoretically.
A METAS-approved watch must maintain at least 0/+5 seconds per day precision after exposure to a 15k gauss magnetic field, wild ass temperature fluctuations (to use the technical term), more positions than the Kama Sutra and underwater depth pressure simulation. Before this watch, METAS was an OMEGA deal – to the point where the ostensibly independent org runs their tests from a lab inside OMEGA’s factory.
What up with Tudor accepting OMEGA as its alpha? Tudor is Rolex’s baby brother. Rolex has its home grown Superlative Chronometer rating (system comparison here). Why not use Rolex’s testing protocol for the Black Bay Ceramic? Some say Tudor went with METAS to pit its products against OMEGA. Maybe Rolex hates Tudor. After all, the corporate parent sent its downmarket-brand off to Breitling to develop their first in-house movement.
Who cares? The only real problem with the Tudor Black Bay Ceramic: it costs $925 more than the next most expensive time-only Black Bay 41’s. Stickering at $3800, those non-METAS models arrive on a steel bracelet. The new Ceramic Black Bay attaches to its owner via a hybrid leather and rubber strap with a “free” woven fabric alternative. Bonus! The Ceramic’s reasonably attractive engine shelters behind an exhibition caseback.
I reckon this bad boy will fly off the shelves. It takes all the qualities of the Tudor Black Bay 41 that earned a TTAW four-star review, removes the stiff leather strap outrage (outrage I tell you!), lightens the case (weight-wise), darkens the dial and hits it out of the proverbial ballpark.
Again, there’s only one loser: the poor bastard who shelled out nearly 400 large for a virtually identical, less desirable watch. Still, the money went to a worthwhile charity. As for the new watch, charity begins at home.