For its first participation in the Only Watch charity auction, TUDOR decided to reinterpret one of the least known tool-watches in its history: reference 7923. Launched in the mid-1950s and produced in tiny quantities, this is the brand’s only divers’ watch to have been equipped with a hand-wound movement. It also stands out from the other divers’ watches produced by TUDOR with its baton-type hands. Highly sought after by collectors today, this rare reference was an excellent starting point for the creation of a one-off model destined for this unique initiative.
THE HERITAGE APPROACH
TUDOR’s Heritage line is characterised by a unique creative process developed by the brand’s Style Workshop, as well as by an exceptional level of attention to detail. Since 2010 and the presentation of the Heritage Chrono model, some of the most important models of its history have been reinterpreted by TUDOR. The very opposite of a mere re-edition, the watches belonging to this Heritage line are the result of a true temporal and stylistic encounter between past, present and future. The aesthetic codes that contributed to the renown of the brand’s historical models are preserved and injected with modern touches to update their iconic status. This approach has become one of TUDOR’s hallmarks and the Heritage Black Bay model was notably rewarded in this regard by the “Revival” category prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) in 2012.
The TUDOR Heritage Black Bay One created for Only Watch 2015 is part of this approach, reinterpreting the reference 7923 with enlightened freedom. It borrows the glossy black of the dial from the brand’s production in the late 1950s and early 1960s, while the inscriptions and gold-coloured hands (reproduced here in a shade of yellow gold) are derived from reference 7923 itself. The dial layout of the historical watch with its two lines of text at 6 o’clock has also been retained, specifying the maximum guaranteed immersion depth, in red, along with the mention “shock resisting” already present on reference 7923. Whereas the luminescent material was formerly painted directly on the dial, it is now laid in applied gold-coloured inserts ensuring improved definition. Finally, the dial of the TUDOR Heritage Black Bay One is domed, a subtle yet important detail for the experienced eye and representing another nod to mid-20th century watch design.
The sapphire crystal of the TUDOR Heritage Black Bay One is also domed in a particularly marked manner that is the most pronounced to date in TUDOR’s Heritage line. This characteristic is typical of the acrylic crystals used by the watch industry in the 1950s. The visual effect of a dial and crystal combination of this nature is truly striking, giving unique depth to the watch “face”. The latter is framed by the unidirectional rotatable bezel of the TUDOR Heritage Black Bay One, directly inspired by that of reference 7923, which does not provide minutes divisions.