This watch is definitely a surprise from Tudor. Following the S&G (Steel and Gold) version we saw from Baselworld 2019, the brand has just this past week on the 14th of September, launched yet another variation in Black PVD, in partnership with the New Zealand Rugby Team, the “All Blacks”.
How should we think of this watch? Well, combine the standard Black Bay Chrono in stainless steel, with the PVD coating seen in the Black Bay Dark from 2016, and what you get is this new stealthy watch in the form of the Black Bay Chrono Dark.
The Black Bay Chrono from Tudor is a watch that I’ve enjoyed before in stainless steel, and the black PVD coating of this new version certainly gives it a whole different character. Aside from the obvious colour change of the case and bracelet, the new watch differs also in the use of a red tipped chronograph seconds hand that matches the “200m 660 ft” text on the dial, as well as the white numerals of the tachymeter scale now set against the black bezel.
In hand, the PVD coating, derived from thin-film technology developed by NASA, gives the watch a smooth and cool sensation to the touch, that in combination with the overbuilt character of the watch itself, makes everything feel well-sorted. Certainly, one of the concerns of a buyer of a watch like this, is that the coating can wear off in everyday use. That might be the case for coatings of lesser quality. In this instance, although I have not experienced it myself, I have seen the coating of a number of Black Bay Dark watches that are worn everyday by owners, and have found them to resist scratches and wear very well, with, in most cases, only microscopic marks that are evidence of hard use.
The unique thing about this watch is that is is a limited edition without a fixed limitation. What do I mean? Well the number of watches produced will be tied to the number of All Blacks players that have ever played, right from the creation of the team in 1903. Today in 2019, that number stands at 1181, which will be the number of Black Bay Chrono Dark watches available. Next year, the number of watches will increase based on how many new players will join the team. It’s an interesting idea that assures fans of the watch who miss out to always know that there will be more, only that they will have to be patient.
Another thing to note is that the thickness of this new watch has come down from 14.9mm in the standard Black Bay Chrono to 14.4mm. This was something that we saw with the Black Bay Chrono S&G this year, and is a welcome move from Tudor. This was a change prompted by customer feedback that the original watch was just a little too thick. Now that the thinner case has also been implemented on the new Black Bay Chrono Dark, it will make a difference to wearability and comfort.