Watch Review: Tudor Black Bay GMT a modern interpretation of a classic GMT

This article was first published on Fifth Wrist on December 16, 2019

In 1954 Rolex launched the GMT-Master ref. 6542. It featured a 38mm steel case with a 6mm screw down crown, slim lugs, no crown guards and a red and blue bezel. The 24hr hand and two tone bezel was developed in partnership with Pan Am for their pilots. The red half of the bezel representing day and the blue half night. This was the birth of an iconic design – the classic Pepsi GMT.

Tudor was trademarked in 1926 on behalf of Hans Wilsdorf the founder of Rolex. Wilsdorf took it over in 1936 and founded Montres Tudor SA in 1946. The aim of Tudor has always been to provide Rolex quality at a more affordable price point. The majority of early Tudor watches feature Rolex waterproof oyster cases but with off-the-shelf watch movements. Tudor’s foray into in-house movements is a relatively modern development.

At Basel 2018 Rolex released the GMT-Master II in steel with a ceramic Pepsi bezel (it was previously only available with the ceramic Pepsi bezel in white gold) and Tudor released the Black Bay GMT. The Black Bay range by Tudor has been incredibly popular since its launch in 2012, combining vintage inspired looks, modern practicality and, more recently, in house movements.

The BBGMT really combines so many good features and aesthetic. The profile of the lugs and the lack of crown guard echo the early Rolex Pepsi models. It is chronometer certified, with 200m water resistance and an impressive 70hr reserve. It has a modern 41mm case and an aluminium bezel. All in all it is a modern, practical, understated tool watch. Perfect for travelling and adventures. Ever since picking mine up it has been the watch that I wear most often. On the bracelet it looks good with almost any outfit. It doesn’t stand out like a modern Rolex and that’s the way I like it!

Pros:

  • Vintage inspired looks
  • Modern reliable package
  • In-house movement with 70hr reserve

Cons:

  • Case height
  • Date issues
  • Waiting list

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