Tudor Black Bay P01 70150 Review & Guide
There’s no question about it. The Tudor Black Bay P01 reference 70150 is a watch that splits opinions.
Even so, it’s a watch that has stirred a ton of controversy and caused heated discussions.
Right from the first glance, it’s evident that the Tudor P01 is not your ordinary Tudor watch. It’s something very different, and something very bold. In some people’s eyes, even a bit strange. But what it does is align perfectly with Tudor’s slogan ”Born To Dare”. The P01 is not your conventional steel sports watch, and it is certainly not a watch that anyone would expect Tudor to release at Baselworld 2019.
In this article, we will be talking about Tudor Black Bay P01 reference 70150. We will discuss the history behind the watch, how it came about, and of course, talk about the specifications of this very unique watch.
Tudor Black Bay P01 background and history
The Tudor P01 70150 was released at Baselworld 2019. At its launch, no one expected Tudor to release this watch. Generally, you can expect what different manufacturers may release, but the P01 was completely out of the blue and took everyone with surprise.
Of course, doing something controversial and unexpected can be a good idea if executed correctly. Because if the Tudor P01 has done anything, it is that it has gotten people talking.
Looking at the rest of Tudor’s lineup of watches, the P01 certainly is an odd bird. But at the same time, like many of the Tudor sports watches that the brand has launched since its relaunch in 2012, it has an interesting background and history to it.
Where does this strange design derive from?
The answer is the year of 1967, and somewhere in Tudor’s archives of ”watches that never became”.
More specifically, to Tudor’s archive of prototypes that never got the chance to see the light of day.
It goes back to 1967 when the US navy provided Tudor with technical requirements for a new timepiece that they were requested to develop.
The requirements were the following:
- A better-protected crown;
- a bidirectional bezel that is removable for cleaning
- locked spring bars.
Tudor took these requirements into its development, and the result was a 1960s prototype which is not awfully different from the Tudor P01 in design. This, of course, means that The modern Tudor P01 is based on the prototype that the brand presented to the US navy.
The result was a unique looking prototype that featured a new bezel-locking mechanism that allows the bezel to lock into place, thus preventing it from moving.
The prototype even got an own name, named ”Commando”. In 1968, Rolex also filed a patent for the bezel-locking mechanism. The patent was granted in 1070. But in the end, the Commando never saw the light of day. There is no official reason as to why the Commando was scrapped, but one may assume that the watch was too complicated to use and operate. The bezel could also be removed and cleaned.
Only four prototypes of the predecessor to the P01 were made. Two were given to the US Navy for evaluation. The remaining two were kept by Tudor. The Marines perhaps thought Tudor’s solution was too complicated for a simple problem. As a result, a different watch brand was chosen instead.
But there’s more to the story…
In 2004, the watch auction house Antiquorum auctioned out a “U.S. Marine Prototype” Rolex Ref 1690. This watch sold for CHF124,500. As seen in the image below, the watch is almost identical to the Tudor Commander prototype. According to information from the auction house, the brand only made two prototypes for the U.S. Marines. However, the catch is that the Rolex brand denies the watch has ever been made by them.
With that in mind, the Rolex watch below which was sold turns out not there authentic and instead has been custom-made and modified
However, the auction house has continued to deny this and insists the watch is a genuine Rolex prototype. The point of this story is that for a long time during history, the Commando prototype is a watch that was almost mythical. Part of this has to do with the auction of one in 2004. This sparked questions amongst collectors of whether or not this watch had actually been made by Rolex/Tudor.
Right before the Tudor Black Bay P01 70150 was released, Tudor released a number of teasers on social media, as follows:
The next post said ”Not only will we show you it exists but we put our own twist on it #TudorxBaselworld”
And lastly, when the watch was released, Tudor said ”Not a myth. Meet the inspiration behind the new #BlackBay P01, a unique 1960’s prototype codenamed Commando and proposed to the US Navy #BBP01”.
So, while the Tudor P01 will never be a watch for everyone due to its niche design, perhaps the purpose of the release of the P01 was to put an end to all of the speculations and prove that the Commando was not a myth.
Tudor Black Bay P01 70150
Now that we have some context to this very unique timepiece. Let’s look at the Tudor P01 in detail.
As you can see, the watch is very similar in design to the original Commando prototype. The edges and lines have been slightly refined, and some visual changes have been made, but it’s very clear that the P01 stays true to the original, which of course is the purpose of the P01 in the first place.
The case of the P01 is entirely satin-brush to give the watch a robust, sporty, industrial feel and look. It does not have any beveled or polished edges, simply because this watch is not meant to elegant or classy. The catch, however, is that because this watch lacks these details, the case may be perceived to have a cheap finish. Even if the case has been made with every detail in mind.
The raw edges, such as the crown guard, which has not been finished to high perfection, gives the feeling that the P01 is a prototype, and this is exactly what Tudor wants.
But while the prototype and the P01 70150 share a lot of similarities, they do also have a number of differences.
First off, the original prototype has a 40mm case, whereas the P01 has a 42mm case. With that in mind, there is no denying the P01 is a seriously bulky watch that has a great presence on the wrist. So not only does the P01 not appeal to everyone, but it can not be worn by everyone either due to its size.
Furthermore, a more technical change is the fact that only the top-end link of the P01 is hinged, as opposed to the prototype where both end links were hinged. The P01 also uses a different internal design from the original patent. And because only one of the end links are hinged, it means you are not able to remove the bezel like on the prototype.
To further give the watch an industrial look, the bezel insert has been made in satin steel like the case.
Moving on to the dial, which also happens to be the part of the P01 which people appreciate the most. And frankly, how could you not? The Tudor P01 70150 has a matte black dial, painted markers instead of applied, snowflake hands, and a red line of text. In other words, all elements that people have come to love about vintage Rolex and Tudor watches.
The snowflake hands have today become a hallmark of the Black Bay family, and the P01 is no different.
At 12 o’clock you’ll find the “claw” mechanism that locks the bezel in place. The locking mechanism is actually surprisingly easy to use, and you can even operate it whilst on the wrist.
The locking mechanism opens with a flip that works almost like a flip-lock. You open it by applying pressure on the outer edge of the claw/end link and then put it back into place by pushing it back with gentle pressure.
Because the watch has two end links which are equally long, in addition to the strap which also has metal attachments, the watch becomes long. So, it’s safe to say that the P01 wears quite large, and demands a relatively large wrist to pull it off comfortably.
In terms of width, the watch isn’t perceived as very large, but there’s no denying that it sits tall.
The lug width is 20mm, so there are plenty of straps out there that you can replace it with. People have already discussed that the watch would look great on a tropic strap or similar.
Tudor Black Bay P01 70150 movement
The Tudor P01 is equipped with a Tudor manufacture caliber MT5612. This movement has a variable inertia balance and a non-magnetic silicon balance spring. It is also COSC-certified as a chronometer. The movement offers a 70-hour power reserve. At the price of the P01, a robust and reliable in-house movement from Tudor is actually a great value proposition – like the whole Black Bay range.
Tudor Black Bay P01 Strap
The most interesting detail about this watch is, of course, the hybrid strap and the bezel locking mechanism.
For this feature, Tudor has chosen to use a ”hybrid strap” to go with the P01.
The hybrid strap is a first for the brand and is named just that because of its combination of leather and rubber. On the inside of the strap, you have rubber, and on the outside is a brown leather trim. This is a really interesting combination for a strap.
Is the Tudor Black Bay P01 70150 a mistake?
If you look at the response to this watch, there’s a clear majority of people that dislike this watch, or even so, hate it.
However, there is a small group of people who find that the watch is growing on them, or who may just even love it.
There’s no denying that the P01 is not a watch for everyone. It’s large, it’s bulky, and it has a very unconventional case design that will naturally not appeal to everyone.
But what the Tudor P01 does have is an interesting history. But after all, the Commando prototype was not chosen by the U.S. Marines, and there are a lot of people who argue that the P01 should have remained a prototype.
But there is something interesting
Will the P01 fly off the shelf like the ordinary Black Bay Diver? Of course not. And Tudor is very much aware of that. But that’s not the point of this watch. It’s about living up to the slogan ”Born to dare”, and it’s about highlighting a part of the Tudor history that has been mythical for a long time, and mediating the truth.
Perhaps the P01 will appeal to the most die-hard Tudor fans that like to go their own way and enjoy the thought of wearing a watch that not a lot of people will wear.
Technical specifications of the Tudor P01 70150
- Case: Satin-finished steel, 42mm. Domed sapphire crystal – 60-notch, 12-hour graduated steel bidirectional rotating bezel with stop system for the bidirectional rotating bezel via a mobile end-link at 12 o’clock – screw-down steel winding crown at 4 o’clock, with the TUDOR logo in relief – waterproof to 200 meters.
- Dial: Matte black. Lume-filled (painted lume, not applied markers) Snowflake hands. Painted hour markers- Date window at 3 o’clock.
- Movement: Manufacture Calibre MT5612 (COSC) – self-winding mechanical movement with a bidirectional rotor system – power reserve of approximately 70 hours.
- Bracelet: Hybrid leather and rubber strap with folding clasp and safety catch, entirely satin-finished
- Retail Price: GBP 2,830/ 3730 EUR.
If there’s one thing we can say about the Tudor P01, it is that (at least based on the feedback the watch has received). it’s certainly not a watch for everyone. There are people who say they absolutely love it, and those who do also tend to be people who do not like to follow the stream. What makes the watch attractive is the knowledge that this watch won’t be seen out in the wild by a lot of people. And as a result, you will wear something very unique if you decide to get the P01.
The P01 does not just split opinions, but it only appeals to a niche group of devoted fans who like to go their own way and only find the P01 more appealing when people say they dislike it.
What do you think about the P01? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!