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Beauty on the wrist

Tudor rolls out its first GMT watch with burgundy and blue bezel.

Tudor's Black Bay GMT.

Above, left: Black Bay Fifty-Eight. Above, right: Black Bay 36.

TUDOR'S first divers' watch looks like its Rolex counterpart. It's even named the Submariner, like Rolex's, and is attached with a crown that has the Rolex logo on it.

So it's no surprise that Tudor's first GMT watch is similar in look with the first Rolex dual time zone watch - especially the bezel of the first Rolex GMT, which has the same red and blue colours as soft-drink Pepsi-Cola's logo. After all, Tudor is a sister company of Rolex.

The only surprise, perhaps, is why Tudor chose to roll out the Black Bay GMT at the same time that Rolex launched an updated version of the Pepsi, the GMT-Master II. Wouldn't the latter steal the show from the Black Bay GMT? Some may argue that this may not happen. On the contrary, it may create a bigger buzz for both watches.

Yet, while Tudor wouldn't have minded getting some help, Rolex doesn't need it to sell its watches - even if it's from a sister brand. If anything, the Black Bay GMT could pinch some of the new Pepsi's sales initially. It's less than half the price of the Pepsi, which retails for S$12,430, and is probably easier to get than the GMT-Master II.

Of course, it's more likely that those who want the Rolex GMT would still buy it, even after they have acquired the Tudor equivalent.

A more likely reason for the two brands to release their GMT models simultaneously is that the Rolex group, taking a longer view, wants to subtly remind the market of Tudor's relationship with Rolex - and what Tudor can do with the group's backing.

The Black Bay GMT is not just Tudor's first watch with a multiple time zone function that sets local time without losing sight of the time of two other time zones. The mechanism which makes this possible is also new - and developed by Tudor.

Tudor says the new automatic movement, calibre MT5652, fitted on a 41mm stainless steel case, "introduces a new function to the line of Tudor manufacture calibres, an apt demonstration of Tudor's approach to technical development".

The movement, along with its non-magnetic silicon balance spring, is certified as a chronometer by the Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute, more commonly known as COSC. The certification is an attestment of the robustness, longevity and reliability of the Black Bay GMT.

Calibre MT5652 has a 70-hour power reserve, which means you can take off the Black Bay GMT on Friday evening and put it back again on Monday morning without having to re-set and wind it.

Another notable feature of the watch is its winding crown tube, which is in satin-brushed steel. This is new for the Black Bay line, but it goes well with the case and winding crown design-wise.

The watch retails for 3,700 Swiss francs (S$5,064) in steel bracelet and 3,400 Swiss francs in brown leather or black fabric strap.

Just as exciting, if not more so, is another new addition to the Black Bay collection - the Black Bay Fifty-Eight, named after the year in which the Tudor divers' watch dubbed the "Big Crown" was launched. Its more striking feature is the 39mm stainless steel case, which is in keeping with the characteristic proportions of the 1950s. The watch will appeal to people with slim wrists - and vintage fans.

Evocative of the time when Tudor divers' watches were first being made, finishing touches in gold have been applied to the hour markers, hands and minute track of the black and steel bezel. As with the new Black Bay GMT, the winding crown tube is in satin-brushed steel, which is new to the Black Bay line.

The Black Bay Fifty-Eight is powered by a new, COSC-certified Tudor-manufacture movement with a medium-sized diameter. The automatic movement, calibre MT5402, has a power reserve of 70 hours. The watch is priced at 3,400 Swiss francs in steel bracelet and 3,100 Swiss francs in brown leather or black fabric strap.

The Black Bay 36 and 41 brought a formal feel to the Black Bay collection, which features watches in 41mm and 36mm steel cases with a black lacquered dial.

The Black Bay 41-36-32 extended the line to include watches in 32mm explicitly for women and in a blue lacquered dial.

Prices for the watches: 2,800 Swiss francs for the 41mm case with steel bracelet; 2,700 Swiss francs for the 36mm case with steel bracelet; 2,600 Swiss francs for the 32mm case with steel bracelet; and 2,300 Swiss francs for the 32mm case with leather or black fabric strap.

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