Geneva-based Tudor has said that it will donate a unique timepiece to the Only Watch 2015 charity auction, slated to take place on November 7. The Heritage Black Bay One, reference 7923/001, marks Tudor’s first association with Only Watch, a charity that raises money to fight Muscular Dystrophy.
Tudor is a subsidiary of Rolex SA, and the brand looked into its archives for inspiration to create a unique piece. Ultimately, it selected its reference 7923 (picture below), a diving watch that was released in the mid 1950s.
The stainless steel 7923 was produced in small quantities and featured a 37mm case. The timepiece relied on a manual winding movement, and is the only diving watch in Tudor’s collection to feature a hand wound calibre. This tool-watch further differentiated itself from other Tudor divers through its use of baton-type hands.
As you can see from the picture above, the Heritage Black Bay One is clearly inspired by the reference 7923. The Black Bay One features yellow-gold baton hands, patinated luminous hour markers, a black bezel and a glossy dial with gilt printing. You’ll also find two lines of text, with the depth rating printed in contrast red.
The watch’s dial is protected by a domed sapphire crystal, which pays tribute to the domed acrylic crystals that were prominently used by the watch industry in the 1950s. This unique watch’s 41mm case is also chamfered, and there are no end links on the bracelet, the latter is another feature that was popular in the 50s.
As with the red- and blue-bezel Black Bay timepieces that are part of Tudor’s current collection, the Black Bay One offers extra strap options in addition to the steel bracelet; a dark brown aged leather strap and a Jacquard-weave admiralty grey fabric strap.
This year, the Only Watch charity auction will present 44 different timepieces, and we’re convinced the Heritage Black Bay One is going to be one of the most sought after pieces. It’s a handsome timepiece and even if you regain control of your faculties and take a long hard look at it, there’s plenty to like.
As a brand, Tudor has never produced limited edition or unique pieces. This immediately ups the desirability of the Black Bay One because it is Tudor’s first one-off piece, in line with the concept of Only Watch. In taking this step, is Tudor showing a change of direction? We don’t know yet but owning the only unique piece that Tudor has ever created is a pretty compelling reason for a seasoned collector to want to own this piece.
The legendary reference 7923 is, today, a highly collectible piece and the fact that the Black Bay One shares so many traits with it, is the other reason we’re certain this piece will bring in big bucks when it goes under the hammer. Tudor has taken several very identifiable traits of the 7923 and put it into the already handsome, and modern, 41mm case that we first saw when the Black Bay was introduced.
Another area where the Black Bay One differs from the reference 7923 is in terms of its movement. While we would have loved to see Tudor’s recently introduced MT5621 in-house calibre feature here, the Black Bay One displays hours, minutes and seconds thanks to its automatic 2824 movement. This is basically an ETA movement, which offers 38 hours of power reserve when fully wound. As we said earlier, the reference 7923 was the only Tudor diving watch to feature a manually wound movement and that is still the case today.
If you’re curious about the Only Watch charity auction, read our short piece on it by clicking here. We list all the participating brands and shed light on the charity itself. This timepiece, as well as all the other timepieces for Only Watch 2015, will be auctioned off on November 7.
To learn more about Tudor, click here.