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Hands-on – The Cool-Factor of the Tudor Black Bay Chrono Steel & Gold


It is far from an industry secret the Black Bay collection is Tudor’s cash cow. And by saying that, I am by no means implying that as a bad thing. Far from it, the Black Bay and its retro-cool vibe have been a formidable and versatile platform for different materials and colour combinations. Heck, multiple iterations of it have found their way into the collection of several MONOCHROME editors. With no less than seven sub-collections, stretching to an even greater number if you include all sizes and colour variations, there’s a myriad of options. And while most might focus on the new Black Bay Pro or the BB58, there’s one new release we certainly didn’t want to keep from you. The watch in question is the sparkling (pun intended) Tudor Black Bay Chrono with champagne yellow gold dial.

Black Bay Background

The Black Bay saga started in 2012, which honestly feels like ages ago. Since then, we’ve seen it morph from a cool looking dive watch with outsourced movement into a very widespread collection featuring different materials and colours, added complications and various sizes. You can have a 31mm time-only watch with a smooth bezel, or a root-beer GMT with a two-tone case and bracelet, and everything in between.

The revamped, steel Black Bay Chrono of 2021, with panda/reversed panda dials and contrasting bezel

In 2017 the collection was expanded with the introduction of the Black Bay Chrono, a watch not without a hint of controversy. It combined the diving elements of the Black Bay range, with racing elements like the tachymeter scale on the bezel. Some argued it made no sense since the large Snowflake hand, a signature element on Tudor dive watches since the mid-1960s, would block the chronograph 45-minute counter for quite some time. The Tudor Black Bay Chrono was overhauled in 2021 and it featured a whole range of subtle yet substantial touch-ups to improve on the original concept. No drastic changes, but with a Panda or Reverse Panda dial and contrasting bezel, it looked rather impressive!

Champagne Gold

With the full steel Black Bay Chrono from last year being a big hit yet again, it was time for Tudor to expand the collection once more. Like clockwork, every year we see new styles, materials and colours, and 2022 is no exception of course. During Watches & Wonders, Tudor revealed what might be the most provocative Black Bay Chrono yet, as it launched the Steel & Gold with a champagne-coloured yellow gold dial. While the Chrono was already available with a black dial and gold-tone subregisters, this new edition flips that style the other way around.

But first, the basics. The Tudor Black Bay Chrono hasn’t changed in terms of specifications. So we still have a 41mm wide and 14.2mm tall full steel case. For the Steel & Gold models, this is topped with a yellow gold bezel and given yellow gold screw-down crown and pushers. The tachymeter insert is done in black, as with all currently available Black Bay Chronos. A domed sapphire crystal covers it all, while a solid screw-in caseback hides the movement from view.

Adding that very expressive Midas Touch to the dial of the Black Bay Chrono changes the look quite drastically. The champagne tone of the dial really jumps at you but is slightly toned down by the black sub-registers and printed minute track. The signature Snowflake hands are present as well, paired with applied hour indices and all filled with Super-LumiNova. The only other touch of colour is the red tip of the chronograph seconds hand and the red print in the lower half, stating the 200m water resistance of the watch.

Manufacture Movement… By Breitling

Tudor has never been secretive about the origins of the Manufacture MT5813 that beats inside the Black Bay Chrono. Based on the architecture of the Breitling B01, it is an integrated automatic chronograph. Its column-wheel and vertical clutch construction ensure a smooth action when pressing either of the pushers. After unscrewing them that is, perhaps one of the few drawbacks of this model. The variable inertia balance comes with an anti-magnetic silicon balance spring and the movement provides a very solid 70 hours of running time.

The movement runs at a frequency of 28,800vph and indicates the central hour and minutes, small seconds, and the date. The chronograph function is shown through the central chronograph seconds hand (with a red tip) and a 45-minute counter at 3 o’clock. Even though it’s hidden from view, the movement has a decent level of finishing and is driven by a Tudor-branded rotor. The precision of the Tudor Black Bay Chrono’s movement is chronometer-certified by COSC.

Spoilt for Choice

When it comes to how the Tudor Black Bay Chronograph Steel & Gold is worn on the wrist, you can go in three different directions. The first one is the simplest one, and that is the black Jacquard fabric strap with a steel pin buckle. We know it from previous Black Bay’s and it’s very comfortable. But, given the added weight of the gold on top of the wrist, it might feel a bit unbalanced when strapped on.

The next option is the funkiest one perhaps. The aged dark brown leather Bund strap is of discerning taste and surely not up to everyone’s liking. It does add even more vintage character to the overall retro look of the Black Bay. And the safest bet? Well, that’s hands-down the steel and gold riveted bracelet. It matches the two-tone style of the case perfectly, is very well finished and wears comfortably. In terms of pricing the black Jacquard fabric strap and the leather Bund strap will set you back EUR 5,650, while the steel & gold bracelet bumps that to EUR 6,840.

All in all I certainly feel this evocative gold-coloured watch is worth your time (and money) as you still get a very handsome, strong watch yet with an intriguing twist. It looks a little bit left-field, in a good way, and will certainly set you apart from most people. Forget the standard white or black, go for gold once in your life!

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