Tudor Black Bay 79220R – a Future Collector’s Watch?
In modern times, it’s safe to say that the Heritage Black Bay is the most important model range from Tudor. After many years of absence from many markets, Tudor didn’t exactly flourish. The brand didn’t have its own identity, nor did the brand have widely popular model ranges.
However, this would come to change in 2012 When Tudor, as part of the strategy of relaunching the brand, introduced the Heritage Black Bay.
The success of the model was great, and it helped put the brand back on the map. Why was it such a huge success? Because unlike in the year prior, Tudor didn’t, to a large extent, build on an already winning concept. Tudor is mostly famous for its relationship with Rolex. More specifically, its dive watches which are today loved and appreciated by collectors. So why not leverage that as a part of the rebranding strategy? And Tudor did. The first model line to build on the heritage of Tudor’s loved and appreciated vintage dive watches is the Heritage Black Bay, reference 79220.
We have already covered the whole of the Heritage Black Bay 79220 collection, which consisted of 3 watches. In this post, we are going to look closer at one of them. The Heritage Black Bay 79220R.
Tudor Heritage Black Bay 79220R background and history
Tudor released the Heritage Black Bay range in 2012, but since then, the company has introduced countless watches into the collection, to continue to build on the immense success of the Black Bay range.
But the first and the original watches carry the reference 79220. This reference was discontinued in 2016 in favor of an upgraded version equipped with an in-house caliber as well as a few other tweaks and refinements.
The Heritage Black Bay reference 79220R is inspired by Tudor’s vintage watch history. But unlike many other brands, that make re-editions of a specific timepiece, Tudor simply took the best elements from all of its vintage dive watches, and made it into one. The watch that has most obviously been the source of inspiration is the reference 79220, and the similarity can even be found in the reference number.
The fact that the model is built on design traits from the 50s and 60s means that the Black Bay 79220R has a truly timeless design. The designs of the watches from the 50s and 60s are even more appreciated and loved than when they were first released, so why wouldn’t the modern iteration which uses a similar design be?
Black Bay 79220B Specifications
The Tudor Heritage Black Bay 7922R has a 41mm stainless steel case, of course, inspired by Tudor’s vintage watches. The inspiration relates to the lugs which are brushed on the top and have a lovely polishing along the edge, known as chamfers (or bevels). Tudor’s vintage dive watches all have this element, and apart from giving the sense of a higher finish, and looking really good, the beveling also makes the lugs perceived as slightly more refined and elegant.
The case is polished on the sides. The perhaps most obvious is the fact that the 79220R does not have any crown guards, which has almost become standard for today’s dive watches. The reason for this is of course that Tudor’s early dive watches did not have crown guards either. This brings the benefit of a less bulky case, but also a stunning design. The vintage watches that feature no crown guard on Rolex’s and Tudor’s vintage dive watches are the most popular, and so it makes sense that Tudor decided to go for this for its new dive watch inspired by its heritage.
Placed on the side of the case is also a so-called ”big crown”. The big crown is yet another element that collectors love, and which existed on the non-crown guard dive watches from the 50s. Tudor’s take on the big crown for the 79220R is a red crown tube attached to the case, to which the crown is screwed down into to ensure water-resistance. The red crown tube matches perfectly with the burgundy red bezel and looks great. On the side of the crown, you can find the Tudor rose logo, which pays tribute to Tudor’s history.
Moving on to the bezel, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay 79220R has a unidirectional rotating bezel, as you would expect on a dive watch. But it is the bezel insert that truly stands out on the 79220R. The watch has a burgundy red bezel, which is a color you certainly don’t see every day on a dive watch. But the burgundy red color is beautiful, unique, and is chosen for a reason. Not a lot of people know the backstory of the burgundy red bezel, but of course for heritage, vintage-inspired watch, you can be damn sure that there is one.
In the 1978s, Tudor released the 7900 Submariner series. This watch was made in both blue and black. However, Tudor also made a prototype of a burgundy red Submariner. This model did not make it into production, but instead, it worked as the inspiration for the colorway of the Heritage Black Bay 79220R some 30 years later. The bezel insert has 60-minute markings, like a true diver’s watch.
Moving onto the dial, the Tudor 79220R has a matte black dial with a rich texture. For a vintage feel and more depth, the dial is slightly domed. Equally so is the sapphire crystal. To match the red color, the watch has gilt printing on the dial. Furthermore, the hands have been rose-gold plated.
The luminous mass is also slightly aged (Faux patina). All of these details give a warmer feel to the watch and contribute to its vintage look. The hands used are Tudor’s now-iconic snowflake hands. It’s safe to say that this hand design has gotten a legendary status and is loved by collectors. It’s an iconic trait of vintage Tudor dive watches, similar to the Mercedes hand on Rolex watches. Apart from the obvious ties to history, the snowflake hands bring the benefit of allowing for great readability. This is, of course, something that is crucial for a diver’s watch.
Printed on the dial is Tudor’s rose logo which was used by Tudor in its earlier days before moving to the shield logo. The text ”self-winding” is curved, which is inspired by the printing of the vintage 7922 model. This curved text has resulted in the Tudor Black Bay 79220R to acquire the nickname ”smiley”. This small detail, together with the rose logo are two of the reasons why many people prefer the first generation Heritage Black Bay over the new generation reference 79230 with an in-house movement.
The Black Bay 79220R has a thickness of 13mm with a flat case back. This is yet another reason why many people prefer the 79220 over the 79230. To make room for the in-house movement of the new version, the case back points out, which means it sits much taller on the wrist and just feels much bulkier.
The Tudor Heritage Black Bay 79220R is powered by an ETA movement. More specifically the ETA 2824 caliber. It is modified by Tudor, including things like a modified balance, Kif shock absorbers and triovis regulator. The balance has a higher grade hairspring, higher grade pallet fork and is regulated to within COSC specs without being COSC certified.
Boring, some may say, but there are actually plenty of benefits to this. Firstly, the purpose of the Tudor brand from the start was to offer the same quality and durability as Rolex watches but at a lower price. The way this was achieved was by using off-the-shelf movements, so Tudor has a long history of using ETA and other off-the-shelf movements.
Furthermore, the ETA movement is reliable, durable, and long-lasting. Plus, it’s a caliber that is easy and cheap to maintain as most watchmakers can work on it.
The Tudor Heritage Black Bay 79220R was, when retailed, available on either a leather strap or steel bracelet. Regardless of what you choose, you got a complimentary Tudor fabric strap in black. The complimentary fabric strap was, however, removed from the Black Bay set with the introduction of the new reference 79230.
The 79220R uses the bracelet with reference number 95740. This bracelet is quite similar to the Rolex Oyster bracelet with its three-link structure. The clasp of the bracelet has the shape of a shield, inspired by Tudor’s shield logo. On the flip-lock, there is also an additional engraving which is meant to resemble a shield.
The bracelet is sturdy and feels of high quality. It does not have the faux rivets, which the new generation 79230R has. The rivets split opinions, but looking at the opinion of the crowd, it seems like people prefer the cleaner look of the non-rivet bracelet.
Black Bay 79220R – A future collector’s piece?
The retail price of the 79220R on bracelet was about 2500 EUR on bracelet when it was released, and looking at the build quality and finish of it, it’s impossible to say anything else other than the fact that the watch offers great value for money. And if you find in-house movements important, you have the new reference 79230 to choose from, which offers yet another value proposition thanks to the movement.
But despite this, for all of the above-mentioned reasons, including the movement, many people still prefer the original. But not only because of the mentioned reasons, but also because it is ”the original”. It’s the watch that started it all and thus has huge historical importance in the revival of the Tudor brand. And if you should know one thing, it is that factors like these often prove to have great importance in the collectability of timepieces down the road.
Tudor Black Bay 79220R prices and value
The Tudor Black Bay 79220R is out of production, and therefore, the only way to find it is to look at the secondhand market. If you look at the secondhand market, you will also notice something interesting, and that is that the prices for this reference have climbed slowly and steadily over the years. In particular, since being discontinued in 2016.
There is a great interest from the market in the Black Bay 79220R, and this interest isn’t decreasing. This, together with all of the other mentioned factors about the original, gives indications that the 7922R may very well be a future classic and collector’s piece.
Specifications Tudor Heritage Black Bay 79220R ETA
- Caliber: ETA 2824
- Jewels: 25
- Frequency: 28800BPH
- Diameter: 41mm
- Height/thickness: 13mm (12.7mm)
- Lug width: 22mm
- Lug-to-lug: 50mm
- Production: 2012-2016
The Tudor Heritage Black Bay 79220R has great importance in the history of the Tudor brand. It has contributed to the immense success the company has seen in recent years, and it is continuously increasing in popularity as more people find the beauty of the model, as well as the importance of this timepiece.
It’s simply a stunning watch that leverages already tried and true – and appreciated – design elements and features.
Overall, the 79220R offers great value for money. It is a well-build watch with a high level of finishing for the price, and it feels robust and sturdy. It has no rattle or feeling of low quality. Let’s not forget that Tudor is backed by the expertise and knowledge and expertise from Rolex, which simply enables the company to make better watches.