Watch of the Week: Black Bay Bronze – TUDOR’s Naval Heritage
The famous Black Bay Bronze model, winner of the “Petite Aiguille” prize at the 2016 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève and a symbol of TUDOR’s naval heritage, is now available in a new slate-grey model with shaded dial and fitted with the TUDOR in-house Manufacture Calibre MT5601, as TUDOR continues to explore this rare bronze material with its characteristic patina.
The choice of bronze is, in essence, a tribute to the long standing relationship between TUDOR and some of the largest navies in the world – including the French Marine Nationale and the US Navy – which all extensively made use of TUDOR diving watches. This started soon after the launch of TUDOR’s first diving watch, reference 7922 in 1954, and lasted well into the 1980’s.
The case of the Black Bay Bronze is made from aluminium bronze. This is an alloy often used in naval engineering for parts submerged for long amounts of time (propellers for example) and because of its exceptional anti-corrosion properties.
A typical aluminium bronze alloy would usually contain 4 to 14% of aluminium, the rest being copper. In its new condition it possesses a golden-yellow tone.
Bronze is a metal that is “alive” and can change in appearance – patinating, depending on the conditions it is subjected to, but typically darkening to variable degrees. It took the R&D team at Tudor 3 years to discover the ideal Bronze alloy; one that would allow for the development of a patina that is controlled, homogenous and noble – eventually stabilizing to a dark chocolate tone unique to each watch and depending on the lifestyle of its owner.