Tudor Pelagos vs Black Bay

For many decades, the Tudor watch brand was known to many as Rolex’s more affordable sibling brand. In the 2010s, Tudor stepped out of Rolex’s shadow using a simple formula: to take inspiration from Tudor’s vintage watches and combine it with modern design and technology. Tudor launched hit after hit, and was back in the luxury watch game.

Two of its releases are now perennial favorites: the Tudor Heritage Black Bay and the Tudor Pelagos. Both signature diver’s watches, and launched in 2012, these two always present a conundrum for collectors who want a Tudor timepiece.

 

Here’s a simplified guide on what sets the two apart:

 

Black Bay Pelagos
Tudor Heritage Black Bay Steel Watch VS Tudor Pelagos Blue Dial Titanium Watch

CASE AND BRACELET

While the Pelagos has remained largely the same since 2012, Tudor has released several different models under the Heritage Black Bay family since then – such as GMT and chronograph versions. For this review, we’ll be comparing the basic dive watch versus the Pelagos.

 

Black Bay

The original Heritage Black Bay release (ref 79220) comes with a stainless steel construction and a 41mm case. It also features a large screw-down crown, a feature taken from the famous Tudor “Big Crown” ref 7924 from the 1950s.

The Black Bay eschews crown guards and features a unidirectional dive bezel with anodized aluminum inserts. The first model came in burgundy, promptly followed by black and blue bezel choices.

 

Pelagos LHD
Tudor Pelagos 42mm LHD Titanium Mens Watch

Pelagos

The Pelagos, meanwhile, comes with a titanium construction. In fact, it’s the first titanium diver within the Rolex brand. With a 42mm case, it’s larger than the Black Bay and even the traditional Submariner, but its lightweight material provides comfortable wear. In keeping with the contemporary look, the Pelagos is equipped with a ceramic bezel with luminous markers.

While you can also dive with the Black Bay, the Pelagos was certainly created for this purpose. Compared to the Black Bay’s 200m depth rating, the Pelagos has 500m depth capability, so Tudor added a helium escape valve on the side of the case to enable saturation diving. It also comes with a diver’s extension rubber strap to use over a wetsuit.

 


 

Heritage Black Bay
Tudor Heritage Black Bay Steel Mens Watches

DIAL

The Pelagos comes in bright blue or classic black, with white details; while the Black Bay comes in a steel case with burgundy, black or blue bezel inserts and domed black dials.

Being dive watches, both possess lume on the dial. The Black Bay comes with round hour markers with gold surrounds, while the Pelagos comes with square ones. Depending on the model, the Pelagos may come with bright white markers or vintage-looking lume as seen in the Pelagos Left Hand Drive (LHD) model. These details give the Black Bay a more vintage vibe, and the Pelagos a more contemporary one.

Both the Black Bay and the Pelagos come with the snowflake-style hands that Tudor has been known for, but the hands, inverted triangle and baton markers are thicker on the Pelagos.

 


 

Pelagos
Tudor Pelagos 42mm LHD Titanium Mens Watch

MOVEMENT

The original releases of the Black Bay and Pelagos used to come with ETA movements – the standard 2824 for the Black Bay and the Tudor modified 2824-2 for the Pelagos.

Since 2016, all models of the Black Bay and the Pelagos have been equipped with the in-house Tudor Manufacture Movement MT5612. With this development, the Black Bay was also given the date function.

The MT5612 automatic movement gives a power reserve of up to 70 hours, and of course this Tudor movement has the coveted COSC certification.

 


 

Black Bay Variants
Tudor Heritage Black Bay 43 Bronze, Blue Bezel, GMT Pepsi Bezel Steel Mens Watches

VARIANTS

Since 2012, the Pelagos has kept things simple with only 3 models: the black or blue versions with bright white lume, or the LHD (left-hand drive) version with aged lume.

In contrast, a lot has happened with the Black Bay since its first release. Today, there are more than 30 Black Bay three-handed diver watches; as well as GMT, chronographs, PVD coated styles, steel and gold styles, and even a design based on a military prototype.

 


 

Both watches possess the design DNA of the Tudor brand’s divers from yesteryears, but the Black Bay has a more vintage feel to it, and the Pelagos has a more contemporary look. For a more rugged, retro design and a wider selection, go for the Black Bay; for a more contemporary tool watch, go for the Pelagos. Either way, you can’t go wrong with these Tudor divers.

 

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