Whoa. I had a feeling that new Rolex GMT’s were going to be introduced this year at Baselworld 2018, but I had no idea Tudor would do the same.
For me, the Rolex GMT (particularly the 16710) occupies one-half of my watch holy grail. That is to say that this watch, combined with another, make up the center pieces and collecting goals of my watch obsession. I have one of those, which is an original Rolex Submariner date ceramic. Now the other might be replaced by the all new Tudor Black Bay GMT. I have been drawn to that two-tone, red / blue color combination ever since I became serious about watches. It started with my first “real” watch purchase: a Japanese domestic market Seiko SKX-009J1. The problem I have had is finding a quality Rolex 16710 on the secondary market at the right price. The 2nd hand and vintage watch markets have been out of control for the past few years. Which is a good thing! But every day, it prices us mere mortals out of the market one dollar at a time.
These 2 new GMT’s from Rolex and Tudor fix that to some degree. The Rolex, which cost prohibitive, is now going to have catalogue and somewhat limited dealer availability similar to the Rolex BLNR GMT (the Batman). There will be a strong grey-market presence too. While I think I prefer the matte bezel for the GMT, it’s now an option (albeit an expensive one) to buy a new and truly modern two-tone red / blue GMT with all of the watchmaking technology and manufacturing advances that make my Submariner one of the best and most watches in the world.
Enter the Tudor GMT. Low cost point? Check. Red / blue matte GMT bezel? Check. Rolex manufacturing & QC? Check. Size and wrist presence? Ruh-roh…
My problem with the modern Tudor line is the meaty-ness of the case. The Black Bay line and the Submariner *I believe* are the same thickness. The modern sub is significantly more thicker than the modern GMT. Yet Rolex skirts any wrist presence issue by having a case back that graduates the slope thickness from the center point to the edge of the watch case. Tudor does not do this. I was also interested in the Black Bay Chronograph last year, but was not immediately thrilled by it’s wrist presence. When the Tudor GMT is released later this year, I’ll need to properly put it through a few wrist checks at the dealer before I commit.
Here is Hodinkee’s First Take video on the new Tudor Black Bay GMT.