The New Tudor Black Bay Pro M79470
Tudor’s releases this year saw them continue the good fight for what can be described as ‘proper’ tool watches.
It is a tactic which has seen them thrive in recent years, picking up where their parent company, Rolex, left off when they changed mission in the 1980s. Where that horologic giant was once famous for building the most no-nonsense, hard working watches available, they changed tack after the quartz crisis to instead market their products more as status symbols. And while that too has been a massive success, it left the door open for Tudor to take up the baton for the kind of models still beloved by purists.
And among the introductions the brand made in 2022, we have the new Black Bay Pro M79470.
What Is It?
At first glance, the M79470 looks like just another addition to Tudor’s Black Bay collection, by far the manufacture’s biggest winner since it was introduced back in 2012.
And, reading off the stat sheets, it would be easy to consider this as merely something of an amalgam of two of the range’s most popular watches; the Black Bay Fifty-Eight dive models and the Black Bay GMT.
However, that word in the title—‘Pro’—tells you here is something just a little different. It is the first Pro in the Black Bay series and it identifies the M79470 as something designed for those looking for the ultimate adventure watch, one which can handle just about anything and be worn just about anywhere.
So it has a GMT function, perfect for travelers. It, like the rest of the BB watches, is water resistant to 200m, meaning it’s suitable for diving. It has a fully steel construction, making it extremely tough. And inside is a thoroughly tested, chronometer-rated movement, so it is highly accurate. In short, it covers literally all the tool watch bases in one watch, and does it with a heaping helping of retro style.
If you’re wondering where you might have seen this watch before, cast your mind back to 1971 and the arrival of Rolex’s inaugural Explorer II, the ref. 1655. It’s all there; the 39mm case, surely the most nostalgic size for a vintage-inspired sports watch these days. It shaves 2mm off from the Black Bay GMT, and even eschews crown guards, going still more retro than the debut Explorer. Then there’s the brightly colored and distinctively shaped extra hour hand, Tudor’s own version of the Freccione.
But most of all, that non-rotatable, 24-hour engraved bezel is practically a carbon copy. It means the watch can be used to display a second time zone or work as a day/night indicator as the ref. 1655 was first set up to do, in order to keep cave divers conversant with the time of day up on the surface.
But just as with the Black Bay collection as a whole, that evocative styling of yesteryear is combined with the very best of modern touches.
The hour markers, for instance, with their typical dot and baton makeup, are actually fashioned from solid monoblocks of luminous ceramic rather than being applied metallic indexes filled with luminous paint. It gives a greater surface area to the luminescence, allowing for greater visibility as well as lending an attractive depth to the dial as a whole. And as a nice side effect, they have a patina-effect cream color to them.
The manufacture movement inside the M79470, developed in conjunction with long-time partner Kenissi, is the Calibre MT5652. Released in 2018, this is the same as found in the Black Bay GMT, featuring an anti-magnetic silicon hairspring and a variable inertia balance held by a tough transversal bridge. Ticking away at 28,800vph and with a 70-hour reserve, Tudor maintain it outdoes the COSC’s standards for precision and is accurate to within -2/+4 seconds a day.
Furthermore, it is what is known as a ‘real’ GMT, in that it is the local hour hand (the main time-telling one) which moves in one-hour jumps when setting the watch. It also has a retrograde date function, meaning the date display will jump back to the previous numeral if you are winding the hands in reverse—a handy and timesaving feature.
Even though the MT5652 is an integrated dual time zone movement rather than a standard caliber with a GMT module stuck on top, it is quite a tall mechanism. As a result, the Black Bay Pro and Black Bay GMT share a case height of 14.6mm, significantly more than the Fifty-Eight’s 12mm. Just something to be aware of if you were thinking of pairing the Pro with a tailored shirt sleeve.
As with most of the range, the Black Bay Pro comes with a few strap options, each lending its own character to the watch.
My personal favorite is the steel bracelet, complete with period correct riveted links. It comes with Tudor’s own innovative T-Fit micro-adjustment system which we first saw on the BB58 Bronze that offers up to 8mm of extension in five positions.
Then there’s the beautifully soft and compliant fabric and rubber hybrid strap in black, or the Julien Faure-made Jacquard strap, also in black but with a yellow stripe running down its length which perfectly matches that GMT hand.
Other than that, you are limited to just the one dial color for now, although it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the collection expanding in time. This is destined to be a truly popular watch, especially considering the price, one area few can compete with Tudor. On a strap, the Black Bay Pro has an official retail of just $3,675, rising to $4,000 on the steel.
All-in-all then, Tudor have done it again. By drawing on their own, and Rolex’s, history, they have created a perfectly executed throwback to a simpler time, at a moment when the watch buying public is craving the style of years gone by. It may be a congested field, but hardly anyone do it as well or as affordably.
— Featured Photo: BeckerTime’s Archive.