Tudor Black Bay P01: An Unorthodox Dive Watch

Tudor Black Bay P01 Steel Mens Watch 70150

When the Tudor Black Bay P01 was launched at the 2019 Baselworld, it was completely out of left field. Watch collectors and Tudor fans are quite familiar with the iconic Tudor diver aesthetic, and the P01 just stood out from the collection. With its 12-hour graduated bezel and crown at 4 o’clock, the intriguing timepiece was unlike anything we’ve seen before from Tudor.

As it turns out, Tudor dug very deep into their archives (and Rolex’s too!) for this novel diver. Let’s take a closer look at the Tudor Black Bay P01.


Tudor Black Bay P01 Steel Mens Watch 70150
Tudor Black Bay P01 Steel Mens Watch 70150 (photo: Tudor)


Tudor Black Bay P01: A Backstory

The Tudor Black Bay P01 takes inspiration from a 1960s prototype produced for the US Navy, nicknamed the “Commando” project. In 1967, Tudor was tasked to come up with diver’s tool watches with the following technical specifications required by the American government:

  • a better-protected crown;
  • a 12-hour, bidirectional rotating bezel that simplifies maintenance and servicing; and
  • locked spring bars, which Rolex requested patented for in 1968.


“Commando” prototype from the 1950s with original technical drawings 
“Commando” prototype from the 1960s with original technical drawings (photo: Tudor)


The watch Tudor had created was essentially a beefed-up Submariner and an ambitious hybrid of a divers’ and sailing watch. It was presented in a big, elongated casing and included a 12-hour bezel with hour and minute markings. A crown at 4 o’clock with sloping crown guards provides improved protection, while hinged end links at either end of the case allow the wearer to adjust and lock the bezel in place.

There were four prototypes made in total. The US Navy received two of them for evaluation, while Tudor kept the other two. The design was eventually abandoned (perhaps because it was thought too impractical at the time), and the watch simply became part of Tudor’s archives.


 “Commando” prototype from the 1950s vs Tudor Black Bay P01 Steel Mens Watch 70150
 “Commando” prototype vs Tudor Black Bay P01 Steel Mens Watch 70150 (photo: Tudor)



About the Tudor Black Bay P01

In 2019, Tudor released the Black Bay P01 – short for prototype 1 – with an aesthetic that is similar to the original, albeit with a few enhancements and modifications. This watch also reflects the exploratory nature of the Commando prototype and Tudor’s interesting heritage.


Case and Bezel

The stainless steel case of the Black Bay P01 measures 42mm in diameter, which is larger than the 40mm original and is elongated in design. The bi-directional bezel is scaled for 12 hours, just like the original, with a pivoting end-link at 12 that secures the bezel. However, the lower end link on the P01 is fixed, which makes it impossible to remove the bezel.


Tudor Black Bay P01 Steel Mens Watch 70150
Tudor Black Bay P01 Steel Mens Watch 70150 (photo: Tudor)


Though it is functionally and visually similar to the Commando prototype, the internal design of the hinged end-link is entirely different. According to Tudor, they have been revamped to operate more smoothly and easily.

The Swiss brand also retained the spirit of the prototype through its finishings. To minimize reflections, the stainless-steel housing is completely satin-finished, with sharp, 90-degree edges instead of the bevels that characterize all other Black Bay watches. Meanwhile, the crown guards are chunky and seemingly less than refined.




Completing the design of the Black Bay P01 is a matte black dial with a date display at 3 o’clock. It has the hallmark traits of the Black Bay series including the iconic “snowflake hands” but with hour markers printed on the dial rather than applied lume-filled hour markers. A minor detail but one that contributes to the vintage prototype vibe.


Tudor Black Bay P01 Steel Mens Watch 70150
Tudor Black Bay P01 Steel Mens Watch 70150 (photo: Tudor)


A domed and sufficiently curved sapphire crystal protects the dial. The end result is a watch that, despite being completely modern, bears a strong resemblance to the original.




The Black Bay P01 runs on the MT5612 – a movement that was originally designed for the Pelagos and is Tudor’s first manufactured caliber. It was introduced in 2015 and has been built and assembled in-house ever since.


Caliber MT5612
Caliber MT5612 (photo: Tudor)


The Caliber MT5612 is also certified by the COSC and features a 70-hour power reserve, silicon hairspring, and a free-sprung balance wheel. Its date function can be set at any time of the day, unlike most movements that cannot be set around midnight when the date is unchanging.




The Black Bay P01’s strap is a “leather-rubber hybrid” construction, which is a first for Tudor. It’s essentially a rubber strap with a top leather made of brown calfskin. The snowflake motif can also be found on the underside, which was designed specifically for the Black Bay P01.


Tudor Black Bay P01 Steel Mens Watch 70150
Tudor Black Bay P01 Steel Mens Watch 70150


Moreover, the strap is attached to a steel end-link, allowing for quick swapping. Notably, the end-link is also attached by a short spring bar, suggesting that it can possibly be detached as well.

Overall, the strap of the Black Bay P01 exudes retro appeal thanks to its pale contrasting stitching, and its moveable lugs do more than symbolically establish the connection to the original prototype.



The Black Bay P01 is a striking, unusual dive watch with a storied past. It’s perfect for dive watch and Black Bay fans who want a piece off the beaten path. Explore our vast selection of Tudor watches at SwissWatchExpo.com.

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