This article was first published on Scottish Watches on June 20, 2019.
I like an in-depth review where someone has lived with a watch for a while, I think they can move beyond the basic technical stats and initial aesthetic details in order to give an overall impression of what it is like to live with and use a watch. My plan with this article is to write a more in-depth review of my ownership of a Tudor Black Bay Bronze (79250bm). I have called it “Three Years On The Wrist (Sort of)” for a couple of reasons.
I got the watch in September 2016 so I haven’t quite owned it for three years (although depending on how long it takes me to write this article that might change) and Two – it hasn’t been my daily beater, which I will expand on more later in the article.
In October 2018 my friend Cameron Wong interviewed me for Time and Tide Watches. In the interview “WHAT SEALED THE DEAL: On Chris’s Tudor Black Bay Bronze” I run through why I purchased the Black Bay Bronze and what the deciding factors were.
I don’t want to regurgitate that article here, so I will start with a quick synopsis instead. The Black Bay Bronze was released at Baselworld in 2016, it was generally well received and certainly helped to make the bronze watch trend more mainstream. Personally, I thought it looked like a fantastic watch and it ticked a lot of boxes for me – bronze, no-date, 3-6-9 dial, in house movement, 70 hour reserve. I already owned a couple of dive watches but this was sufficiently different and I could appreciate what it would add to my budding watch collection. I do like dive watches (despite the fact that I am yet to go diving, it is certainly something I would like to do in the future) due to their robust build and reliability. We live on a relatively small island in the U.K. and as such we are surrounded by water which results in inclement weather, as a result, a decent level of water resistance is always something I look for in a watch.
Before I take this article too much further, a confession – for the first 18 months of owning the Black Bay Bronze I almost exclusively took photos of it using my iPhone. I saw it almost like a badge of honor for Instagram, only posting photos taken with a phone. After a while, I realised that I wasn’t always achieving the quality of shot that I wanted and that I could achieve more interesting effects by using a “proper” camera. Over the last 18 months, I have increasingly used a seven-year-old compact system camera which was gathering dust, neglected in a cupboard, along with a couple of different lenses. Nothing especially fancy or expensive but I have slowly progressed from using it only in auto mode to experimenting with the manual settings, to having a couple of favoured setups for particular styles of shot. When you are looking through the photos in this article you might see some of this evolution of style.
Boring bit over, now onto how, when and where I wear the Black Bay Bronze. Initially, during the honeymoon period, I wore the Black Bay Bronze a lot, in many different scenarios. Before the patina developed the case had a brilliant gold like finish to it, I likened it to a budget chocolate Rolex Daytona. I did wear the Black Bay Bronze on the OEM leather strap with suits a few times. It looked good but I found that it was too chunky under a cuff and a suit jacket. The OEM leather strap is super comfortable, definitely one of the softest, most subtle straps I have experienced but at the same time, it is 23mm wide and relatively thick. Combine that with a 43mm case that’s 14mm thick and 52mm long and you have a chunky combination which is at the upper end of what I can comfortably wear. Don’t get me wrong, I love the size of the watch, the look, and the wrist presence, but ultimately I have ended up using my Black Bay Bronze as a high days and holidays watch.
Now the temptation at this point is to just list holidays where I have worn the watch and provide a selection of photos of the watch in front of monuments and/or cocktails. I suspect that would have a very mixed reception so instead, I will try to give a more broad explanation of how, when and where I have worn the watch with a few specifics thrown in.
One question I often get asked on Instagram is along the lines of “what have you done to create the patina on your watch?” and the honest answer is nothing! I have not tried to force it by sitting it in buckets of salt water or steaming it with vinegar. I also have not tried to prevent it in any way. I have worn my watch at the beach and I have taken photos of it in the sand but I have not worn it in the sea (and that is purely because I have not been swimming in the sea, I haven’t purposefully avoided taking it in the sea if you catch my drift). I have worn it in the sunshine a lot and I have worn it in the rain and snow and waterfall spray. I have also worn it whilst doing some fairly adventurous activities such as mountain biking and kayaking on Lake Ontario. All of that is to say that I have not purposefully done anything to create the patina, it has just naturally developed as I have worn the watch doing all kinds of fun things.
Personally, I think the Black Bay Bronze makes a perfect smart/casual watch. Its coffee tones and dull patina make it a good match for jeans, chinos, shorts, t-shirts and shirts. It looks great on a beach or in a bar. It has often been the only watch I have taken on holidays. It is smart enough that it doesn’t look out of place at a restaurant or on a boat but at the same time subtle enough that it doesn’t draw unwanted attention if you are walking around a flea market. It flies under the radar of most non-watch nerds but is recognisable and a good conversation starter with watch geeks. It has sparked a few conversations over the last three years at work, in bars and on the New York subway.
So there you have it the Tudor Black Bay Bronze Three Years On The Wrist (sort of). My smart/casual high days and holidays adventure watch!