The Black Bay P01, is a watch based on a legendary prototype developed in the late 1960s and proposed to the US Navy, and in so doing lifts the veil on a little-known aspect of its history.
Like all other models in the Black Bay line, the P01 adopts the TUDOR hands with their characteristic angular shape, known to collectors as "Snowflake", which appeared in the brand's 1969 catalogue. The result of subtle combinations of historical aesthetic codes and contemporary watchmaking, the Black Bay line is far from simply being an identical re-release of a classic. It brings together over 60 years of TUDOR divers' watches, while remaining firmly anchored in the present.
The hinged end-link system on the original prototype was the subject of a patent in 1968, which covered a locking and dismantling system for the bezel to aid maintenance of the watch. The Black Bay P01 model borrows from this mechanism, providing a stop system for the bidirectional rotat-ing bezel via a mobile end-link at 12 o’clock. Black Bay P01 is waterproof to 200 metres and features hours, minutes, seconds and date functions. It is fitted with a domed matt-black dial with painted luminescent hour markers. Respecting the utilitarian aesthetic of the prototype that inspired it, the case is entirely satin-brushed for a matt finish.
The Manufacture calibre MT5612 that drives the Black Bay P01 model displays the hours, minutes, seconds and date functions. Its finishes are typical of TUDOR's Manufacture calibres. Its openwork rotor is satin-brushed with sand-blasted details, and its bridges and plate have alternating polished sand-blasted surfaces and laser decorations. Its build has been designed to ensure robustness, longevity and reliability, as has its variable inertia balance, which is maintained by a sturdy traversing bridge fixed in two-points. Thanks to these qualities, together with its non-magnetic silicon balance spring, and 70-hour power reserve, the Calibre MT5612 is certified as a chronometer by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC).
In 1967, TUDOR, who had been supplying the US Navy with divers' watches since the late 1950s, began development of a new watch needed to meet a set of specifications required by the American government and incorporated the results of the latest research carried out by the brand's engineers. This resulted in the production of prototypes, as well as a patent for a hitherto unseen function. The ambitious project, which carried the code name "Commando", never came to fruition. The TUDOR Black Bay P01 model – which stands for prototype 1 – is inspired by a prototype developed as part of this study and kept in the brand's archives, only to have its unique aesthetic brought to life 50 years later. The Black Bay P01 reflects the exploratory nature of the project, a cross between a divers' watch and a sailing watch.