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Cartier Tudor

Blacked out watches: Cool, too trendy or somewhere in between?

Yesterday fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld died. Hodinkee (naturally) reported on his watch, a blacked-out Audemars Piguet Royal Oak made in 1972.

Courtesy: Hodinkee

The watch was well-worn by Lagerfeld and seemed like a perfect extension of his personal style, which was sharp, bold and menacing. The photo of his watch shows what most watch collectors fear about ownership of an all-black watch, the coating has worn and the metallic colors of the bracelet and case are showing through.

After seeing this photo of Lagerfeld’s AP, I realized that a well-worn PVD/DLC’d watch looks pretty good, and the wear marks give it character and tell a story of where the watch has been.

Now would I commission a blacked out Rolex from a customizer like Bamford? While I do like the creativity that’s behind Bamford’s designs, I prefer, like many, my Rolexes natural, especially with the understated brilliance of 904L grade steel.

There are plenty of options for an all-black watch. Mine is Casio G-Shock GW-5000 with it’s DLC caseback. I get a lot out of mine and I’m not afraid to wear it during active pursuits.

The Tudor Black Bay Dark, with its red lume pip on bezel insert marker and red line of text (indicating the depth rating) on the dial, is an outstanding execution of the all-black watch. The Cartier Santos 100 ADLC (with in-house movement) is one of my favorite watches because the all-black look gives a very traditional esthetic a tasteful edge.

Photo by Monochrome Watches

The Santos’ coating is reported to be ultra-resistant to scratches, but after seeing Lagerfeld’s AP, the idea of metal showing through a blacked-out watch doesn’t bother me at all.

Oris Tudor

Would you wear a smaller dive watch?

During the recent Wind Up Watch Fair I stopped by the Oris booth to try on their 36mm version of the Aquis Date dive watch. It looked small on the wrist, but it felt very comfortable and it could be a look that I’d get used to. The 36mm size is more commonly associated with watches such as the classic Datejust and works really well with more traditional business attire.

We love dive watches, of course, and our own Oceanking is sized at 40.7mm wide and 11.9mm thick, which we think is the ideal size for most men. The standard bearer, of course, is the Rolex Submariner, which comes in right at that 40mm mark, even in its modern ceramic bezel incarnation.

But to go down 4mm in case size for a dive watch is pretty drastic, but it’s nice to see more available in a smaller size, which is great for women and men who want to wear a dive watch in dressier situations. The size is very sleek and discrete, which sometimes is a necessity in settings where flashy jewelry may not be a good look. Even the aluminum bezel Submariners have a lot of wrist presence and shiny bits to be quite noticeable.

Tudor 75090

This mid-sized Tudor Sub features a 35mm case and wears small. No longer in production this 1990s model has a matte back dial and tritium lume plots. These can be found for sale at a relatively lower cost due the its 39mm brother being more popular. If you love the classic diver look and have a smaller wrist, this one could satisfy your needs for an excellent everyday wearer.

Oris Aquis Date 36mm

The Aquis Date is one of the most practical sport watches within an lineup. While still maintaining a relatively conservative design, it possesses its own look thanks to Oris’ smart design team. The proprietary bracelet interface works really well and it’s a solid piece for the price. For some time, this watch was only offered in a 43mm size and now comes in and 40mm and 36mm sizes too. As seen below, it works really well for smaller wrists.

Rolex Yachtmaster 37

The Yachtmaster line is under appreciated and overlooked by many due to the resounding popularity of the Submariner, GMT Master and Daytona models. The Yachtmaster comes in a 37mm size and the Everose Gold ref. 268655 is stunning, especially under natural lighting conditions. This particular watch is perfect for the guy or gal who wants to rock a more refined sport watch look.

Tudor Black Bay 36

With the release of the Black Bay 58 (in 39mm) the popular modern Tudor dive watch line listened to consumers who demanded something smaller than the 41mm original. But those with smaller wrists shouldn’t forget the Black Bay 36, which could be a nice substitute for those who wanted a now discontinued 36mm Rolex Explorer I. We know the many watches thrown into the Go Anywhere Do Anything category, but the Black Bay 36 pretty much nails that definition with flying colors.

Monta Oris Tudor

Blue dialed divers: It’s essential for dive watch lovers

There’s something about the color blue and how well it works with dive watches. Of course, the ocean is blue, but there is also something soothing about the warmth of blue set against the coldness of steel. We, of course, adore the blue dialed version of our Oceanking. But at the end of the day, we’re just watch guys who can appreciate any well-executed version of the blue diver. Here’s a roundup of some of our favorites:

Monta Oceanking: At 40.7mm wide and 11.9mm thick, our Oceanking draws inspiration from vintage divers. The modern features make it ready to go for real ocean adventures. The Oceanking’s bezel has been favorably reviewed (both other watch media) as having one of the best feelings of any rotating bezel in any class. The blue Oceanking, with its ceramic bezel, is an excellent choice for the watch collector who appreciates upscale details in a classic package. $1,925 at

Oris Aquis Date: It’s not secret that we love Oris as a brand. The Aquis Date remains one of the best values of any automatic watch. Their blue sunburst dial is beautifully executed. When we visited their booth as Baselworld, we were smitten with their entire range. The Aquis Date now comes in both 43mm and 40mm sizes, so it will fit well on a range of wrist sizes. $2,000 at

Omega  600m Seamaster Planet Ocean Co-Axial Chronometer: A lot of watch collectors will declare that no one does blue like Omega. It’s Planet Ocean series has a loyal following. It’s a bold statement watch for sure encased in grade 5 titanium. The co-axial movement and Liquid Metal ceramic bezel make this stunner a much coveted piece. $6,550 at

Tudor Pelagos: There’s not much more to be said about one of the most-heralded modern dive watches. This one has a three-dimensional dial, matte finish and in-house Tudor movement. The rectangular markers match the Snowflake handset and draws lots of attention from folks who aren’t watch enthusiasts. $4,400 at

Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Blue Diver: This one has a square case, a feature that by itself makes it standout from the rest. Bell & Ross is known for its square cases and this watch has enough traditional design elements to tame its unconventional shape. $3,700 at


The cost of entry: Tudor 1926

Amidst the new offerings by Tudor at Baselworld 2018, a subtle line, the 1926, basic three handers with a date complication, was overlooked by its popular sport models. Almost everyone at the fair couldn’t stop talking about the Tudor GMT or the Black Bay 58. Understandably, a plainer watch lineup was overshadowed.

But now that the dust has settled, we’ve recently noticed how nice looking the white textured dial 1926 model looks with its metallic blue markers and hands. (The gold accented version is pretty hot too.) The fact that it’s available in four sizes (41, 39, 36 and 26 millimeters) and priced under $2,0o0, makes this Tudor and its variations a very tempting pickup. Inside these watches is an ETA 2824 movement, which is a fine choice to lower the price point.

Photo: Bob’s Watches

Sometimes you just want a watch that will do its job without much fuss, but with plenty of owner satisfaction. The details such as elegant sword hands and waffle-patterned dials, bring a simple joy when glancing at the time and day of the month. The Jubilee-style bracelet is as comfortable as a bracelet can be.

The re-energized Tudor brand has largely ridden the success of its sport models. After all, the titanium Pelagos may be the best dive watch under $5K. The Black Bay and Heritage chronographs are beefy wrist adornments that emit a cool factor. But the newer dressier models from Tudor, the Glamour and Style lines, haven’t resonated with watch guys. The 1926 line has just enough interesting details that just might sway die-hard sport watch lovers. Let us know if you’ve taken the plunge.

Photo: Bob’s Watches


The Tudor Black Bay Fifty Eight: Hitting the Sweet Spot

Photo by Dante Barger for Bezel and Barrel

One of the announcements at this year’s Baselworld that caught us off guard, but very happy was the first sightings of the Black Bay Fifty-Eight, a smaller version of Tudor’s popular vintage style dive watch. Critics of the original Black Bay felt it was too large and too thick, a trait that accentuates the tall slab sides of the case. Tudors appears to have addressed those points with the a new version of the Black Bay that possesses a 39mm case with an 11.9mm thickness… and they fit in their in-house movement. Black Bay critics were shushed, well, at the least the ones who didn’t feel the need to complain about the use of gold on the dial and bezel insert markers.

What’s also cool are the small details like the matte dial with gilt accents. Unlike the first generation Black Bays, this latest iteration does not have a colored crown tube, with will please traditionalists. Dive watches on leather straps are scorned by some, but in this instance the pairing really works in the looks department. Faux vintage means you can get away with the whole faux vintage look. Remember, we’re talking about watches here, no need to get too uptight on the imaginary rules of the hobby.

The new Black Bay Fifty-Eight contains the in-house MT5402 movement, which is COSC-certified and has a power reserve of about 70 hours. What we like about this new model, which should be hitting stores late summer (according to ADs we’ve spoken to), is that it provides the best esthetic attributes of a vintage Submariner (no crown guards!), yet retains the traits that make it distinctly Tudor (snowflake hands). Tudor, for the most part, can still fly under the radar in scenarios where rocking a Rollie can be considered flaunting one’s status. We, of course, don’t feel that wearing a Rolex is a signifier of wealth, but unfortunately that perception exists. With the Black Bay Fifty-Eight the owner can own a watch that wears like a traditional Sub and at the same time stand out from the Submariner crowd, which in certain situations it seems like a big crowd indeed.

Photos courtesy of Tudor

Priced at $3,575 on a bracelet, this model should be very tempting for anyone thirsting for a vintage style diver with modern features. It’s definitely a very versatile offering and we think Tudor nailed the look and feel completely. For more information, visit


Baselworld 2018: The Tudor Black Bay Pepsi GMT

Who would’ve imagined that Rolex and Tudor would come out with a Pepsi bezel GMT at the same time. The Tudor version is part of their popular Black Bay line and features a Snowflake GMT hand. The matte aluminum bezel insert and lack of cyclops date magnifier help distinguish it from Rolex’s version, which we featured earlier. All in all, the Tudor Black Bay Pepsi GMT watch adds up to a watch that will appeal to a range of collectors.

The Tudor Pepsi GMT is offered in three strap combinations: faux rivet bracelet, leather strap and nylon strap. The case size is the as the original Black Bay at 41mm. This will allow it to fit a range of wrist sizes and also identify it as a distinctly modern watch.

Overall, we think this is one of the best watches in this year’s show. It’s due out this summer in the $3,500 range and will be popular with those who like vintage flavor with modern capabilities.

The new Tudor Black Bay Pepsi GMT announced at Baselworld 2018