Hands-On: Tudor Black Bay P01 (VIDEO)

A Face only a mother could love, or so I thought. When I first saw this revealed at Baselworld, I thought Tudor had absolutely lost its mind. Then, at the GPHG it won an award, it won the ‘Challenge’ prize and I shook my head in disagreement. after handling this watch in the metal I must admit, this watch can not be judged based on pictures. Click below for the full video review or read along for the details.

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This is a watch based on a concept watch which Tudor produced in the late sixties for the US Navy. In the past, Tudor was in fact supplying the US Navy with divers watches. In order to improve upon the standard issue watch a number of prototypes were developed. The p01 is based upon one of these prototypes and it certainly maintains that overall prototype vibe.

When holding the watch for the first time, one thing that truly jumps out is that the entire watch feels very tool-like and built to last. I suspect this is due to the no nonsense finishing, everything including the bezel is basically brushed stainless steel. The lugs, the crown guards, they’re borderline rough, but in a good way. It really feels like a toolwatch as a result, a tool built for a purpose, and able to withstand pretty much anything. 

Let’s begin with what makes this watch so unique. The locking mechanism securing the bidirectional bezel . The bezel is locked and unlocked by the articulating end-links. These are what really give the watch the unusual face. It is very different and creates a lot of visual mass, the watch in and by itself is not that massive at all, but the locking mechanism just inflates the overall size and length of the watch quite dramatically.

The mechanism however it may look, feels built to resist a nuclear blast. It provides an unusual tactile feel that you simply don’t get with any other watch. When you press the lock down, it releases the bezel and you can freely rotate it. When you press the lock back into place, you then also lock the bezel and this avoids any risk of the bezel accidentally rotating. The locking mechanism is where the fun is at with this watch. Lock and unlock it a million times, it’ll work just as good as the first time, at least that’s how solid and well-built it all feels.

As I said, due to this mechanism,, the watch does wear large despite that it is not a very large watch. The watch comes on a strap which is a bit of a hybrid. rubber lining and a leather upper, a leather strap on a diver’s watch, a bit of an odd choice I must say. It is labeled as being water resistant, I did not take it for a swim to give that a test. That said the strap perfectly fits the watch in the sense that it is extremely overbuilt, feels nice and solid and ready to take a massive beating.

Let’s briefly stop at the dial, what jumps out is that the markers are not applied and lume filled, like say on a standard black bay. Instead they opted for old-school applied lume. By applying the lume in this fashion, they succeeded to amp up the nostalgia factor here without resorting to the overused and frankly lazy ‘fauxtina’ approach that has infested watch designs as of late. You have to see it in real life to appreciate it this was an excellent design choice and truly provides essential character to this watch. Not that this watch is lacking character in any way.. Tudor fans will of course recognize the familiar Tudor snowflake hands.

The movement is the manufacture calibre MT5612 and displays hours, minutes seconds and a date. This calibre has a very practical 70 hour power reserve which will bridge that weekend gap, take it of at the end of the week and pick it up on Monday morning, it’ll still be ticking. 

This is not an every day watch, or well, not for most of us anyway. I will say that this would make a fine addition to any watch enthusiast’s collection. These are not for everyone, and they certainly were never intended to be so. The Tudor P01 turns out to be a very enticing watch, color me surprised. 

Never judge a book by its cover certainly rings true here.

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