As a luxury industry, there are lots of different standards of prestige in watchmaking – at the lower end there are quartz timepieces and at the high end there are perpetual calendars and minute repeaters. But another factor that determines a watch’s value is exclusivity and you can’t get more exclusive than a 1-of-1 piece unique – which is what the charity auction Only Watch specialises in, raising money for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research. For Tudor’s contribution to the auction this year they have unveiled the Black Bay GMT One.
Looking at the design, it’s classic Black Bay with a 41mm stainless steel case, snowflake hands, large lumed indices and a thick rotating bezel. Of course, because this is a GMT version, the bezel is a 24-hour ring that, in combination with the GMT hand, allows the watch to display three time zones with ease. However, while the design is similar to the regular BB GMT the style is vastly different.
Most notably, the texture of the stainless steel case, bracelet and crown is rough and earthy, instead of the usual smooth polish or brush. It looks like an artefact pulled from the ground – an effect that Tudor achieved by using a ‘secret stainless steel aging technique’. I want to call it a form of patina but that’s a term usually reserved for bronze watches, but regardless of how you describe it, it’s emphasised by the uniform bezel in dark grey that eschews the traditional day/night indicator.
On the inside, Tudor have continued their foray into master chronometer movements that began recently with the Black Bay Ceramic. It’s the manufacture MT5652-1U automatic, which is the same as in the ceramic version except for the addition of the GMT function. It has a 70-hour power reserve and 15,000 gauss magnetic resistance as certified by METAS as part of the master chronometer testing. The bridges and main plate have also been aged to match the aesthetic of the watch.
The Black Bay GMT One is an interesting watch because it’s arguably one of Tudor’s most advanced timepieces but they’ve made it look like one of the oldest by weathering it – a cool juxtaposition worthy of a piece unique. As with all Only Watch entries, it will be auctioned for charity later this year.
Price & Specs:
Model: Tudor Black Bay GMT One
Case/Dial: 41mm diameter x 14.5mm height, aged stainless steel case with open case back engraved with “PIECE UNIQUE” and “BLACK BAY GMT ONE”, matt black domed dial
Water resistance: 200m (20 bar)
Movement: Manufacture calibre MT5652-1U, automatic, Master Chronometer-certified by METAS
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power Reserve: 70h
Functions: Hour, minutes, seconds, GMT, date
Strap: Aged stainless steel
Price/Availability: An estimate of CHF 4,000 – 8,000, 1 unique piece produced
More details at Only Watch.