Tudor Black Bay GMT 79830RB Review

by Chamath Gamage
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Introduced in Baselworld 2018, the Black Bay GMT is a new classic and bold timepiece by Tudor. This model is Tudor’s answer to GMT watches for world travellers. The Black Bay GMT owes its heritage to the Black Bay Divers watches of the 1950s. In 1954, Tudor released the first reference 7922. This was the first divers watch in the long line of legible, robust and ergonomic divers watches released by Tudor. 

It was the famous American Architect Louis Sullivan that said that “according to whom, the form of an object must follow its function”. The early Tudor diver models perfectly resembled this saying as they laid down the foundations of aesthetic and technical watches that are ideal for divers. Since the first launch of the reference 7922, Tudor’s diver watches have had a constant improvement for sixty years. Each new model that was released by the brand would see unanimous recognition from professionals, such as some of the greatest military navies in the world.  

The GMT function in the Tudor Black Bay GMT establishes local time without losing track of time in other time zones. The additional time zone is indicated by the red angular “snowflake” hand as described by Tudor. The characteristic snowflake hand is also used for the hour and constant second hand. This snowflake design first appeared in Tudor’s catalogue in 1969, which shows that although modernising the watch, Tudor still sticks to their heritage. 

The bi-directional rotatable bezel on the Tudor Black Bay GMT is calibrated to 24 hours. The bezel has the matte burgundy and blue colours, both of which are commonly found on models in Tudor’s Black Bay range. The daylight hours are printed on the burgundy section of the bezel while nighttime hours are shown on the blue section.    

The dial on the Black Bay GMT like the other models in the Tudor Black Bay range is inspired by the Tudor diver’s watches of the 1950s. The contrasting black dial with white luminescent hour markers makes the Black Bay GMT legible in all environments and conditions. Along with a date display on the 3 o’clock position, there is also the added “GMT” inscription on the 6 o’clock position of the dial. The winding crown that was characteristic to the first generation of Tudor divers watches is also present on the Black Bay GMT along with a fine finished 41mm satin-brushed steel case.

The GMT function on this watch works by utilising a Local Jumping Hour system. This means that the GMT function (red snowflake hand) is able to jump the local main hour hand in one-hour increments in either forward or backward direction to update to a new time zone. When the Local Jumping Hour function is used, the movement does not stop, which means that the local time is still ticking along. To set a second time zone, the crown needs to be unscrewed to the second position and rotated to set the GMT hand to the correct 24-hour time. Doing this along with rotating the bezel to offset the local time with the GMT hand can produce the second time zone. A third time zone can also be read from the Tudor Black Bay GMT by simply doing some calculations to convert the GMT hand to its 24-hour display against the hour markers on the dial. With the ability to read three time zones simultaneously, the Tudor Black Bay GMT is an ideal watch for world travellers. 

In order to use the Local Jumping Hour hand function, Tudor had to make a new movement for the Black Bay GMT. This is because majority of ETAs are not able to produce a movement with the Local Jumping Hour hand function. Therefore, to get this function added into the Black Bay GMT, Tudor either had to modify an existing calibre or manufacture a new calibre. Tudor chose the latter option and manufactured a new calibre; Calibre MT5652.  

To create the calibre MT5652, Tudor took a technical approach of adding new functions to the movement by having a more flexible architecture in the design. The new calibre had to be designed to ensure that robustness, longevity, and reliability were not compromised. The calibre MT5652 has an openwork rotor which is satin brushed and has sand blasted details. The bridges and main plate also include sand blasted surfaces along with laser decorations. Certified officially as a chronometer by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC), Tudor’s Black Bay GMT comes with up to a staggering 70 hours power reserve. What this means is that if the Tudor Black Bay GMT were to be taken off the wrist on Monday, it can be worn again on Wednesday without needing to be rewound. 

How does Tudor Black Bay GMT wear? 

The Tudor Black Bay GMT is offered in three strap variations; the standard steel rivet bracelet with a polished and sating finish, a “Terra di Siena” leather brown strap or the black fabric strap with a burgundy stripe down the middle. This makes Tudor’s Black Bay GMT a very flexible timepiece that can be worn for different occasions.

Strap the steel bracelet on and it can look very classy matched with a suit or formal attire. The leather strap can be worn for more casual events and outdoor functions. With the Black Bay GMT being waterproofed to 200m, using the fabric strap can be ideal for sporting occasions or when used for light swimming activities. With a case thickness of 15 mm, the Tudor Black Bay GMT with the fabric strap feels a little bulky yet comfortable on the wrist.

The overall versatility along with the ability to read three time zones makes the Tudor Black Bay GMT a very desirable watch. With similar timepieces from other brands being in higher price brackets, the Tudor Black Bay GMT is good value for money.

Tudor Black Bay GMT 79830RB Specification

  • Case diameter : 41mm
  • Case material : Steel case with polished and satin finish
  • Bezel : Bidirectional rotatable 48 notches bezel in steel with 24-hour graduated anodised aluminium disc in matt burgundy and blue
  • Crystal : Domed sapphire crystal
  • Winding crown: Steel screw-down winding crown, with the Tudor rose in relief 
  • Water resistance : 200 meters/ 660 feet
  • Movement : Caliber MT5652
  • Power reserve : Approximately 70 hours
  • Bracelet : Comes in a choice of riveted steel bracelet, with polished and satin finish, or “Terra di Siena” brown leather strap with folding clasp and safety catch, or black fabric strap with burgundy band and with buckle 

Australian Retail Pricing : $4,970 for stainless steel bracelet, $4,570.00 for leather strap and  $4,570.00 for fabric strap. 

World wide Warranty : 2 years 

Availability : Available now through local Tudor authorised dealer.

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