My Cart

Close

The 5 Best Tudor Black Bay Affordable Alternatives And Homages

Posted on July 28 2021

Black Bay Affordable Alternatives

What is an affordable watch?

The answer isn't obvious. It depends a lot on what you earn and the value you place on a watch.

Tudor watches were created to be affordable. Rolex bought the brand in the 1930s. Their intention was to offer their customers a collection of more affordable watches.

But most Tudor watches are now over £2k. Is that affordable?

It's not for me. To buy a Tudor Black Bay I'd have to make some financial sacrifices that my wife wouldn't like.

So as ever, I've explored the world of Tudor Black Bay homage watches.

Let's have a quick look at why you might fancy a Tudor watch. And then I'll show you the best five affordable alternatives.

Tudor and the Black Bay


Tudor began in the 1920s, was bought by Rolex in the 1930s and the first release by the new brand was in the 1940s.

Tudor created some iconic watches, but nothing to overshadow their more famous sibling. In fact, they regularly referenced Rolex. Their models had names like the Tudor Oyster and Oyster Prince.

A typical Tudor watch would have a Rolex case with a third-party movement. The watches would be assembled at the Rolex factory. The overlap between the two companies was deliberate. Tudor would go on to release their own 'Submariner'.

Like many brands, Tudor struggled through the 1970s and 1980s. By the 2000s they were no longer selling watches in the big markets of the UK and the US.

But a new designer, Davide Cerrato, breathed life back into the brand. Two of the new watches stood out. The Pelagos and the Heritage Black Bay.



What is the Tudor Heritage Black Bay?


The Black Bay is a dive watch that is inspired by the brand's Submariner models from the 1950s.

The watch has a case without crown guards, snowflake hands and gold accents on the hands and markers. It's a distinctive look that has proven popular since its release in 2012. Indeed, it won the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève Revival prize in 2013.

Affordable Alternatives to the Tudor Heritage Black Bay


The Black Bay is a beautiful watch. It's Swiss-made and has an in-house automatic movement. That puts this watch out of the reach of many.

In the UK the watch is nearly three grand.

As usual, I've been keeping my eye on the alternatives. There aren't that many - and the full homage models are all from Chinese brands. But they are out there and I've put together a list of the five best.

Corgeut Black Bay Homage Watch

This is my favourite Tudor Black Bay homage watch.

If you’re familiar with Corgeut watches it will be because you’ve already seen their Tudor Black Bay homages. They are high-quality automatics that have been well received by the watch nerd community.

This variation of the Black Bay comes with a reliable Japanese movement. It has great specs for the price - a sapphire crystal and 100M of water resistance come as standard. I prefer it to some of the cheaper homage watches.

The style is 100% inspired by the iconic Tudor model.

  • 41mm Case
  • No Crown Guards
  • Snowflake hands
  • Black Dial with Gold Accents

It’s a stunning design and very faithful to the Swiss original.

The Corgeut can be found with a choice of Seiko or Miyota mechanical movements. Both are great and often used in watches two or three times the price of the Corgeut. This marriage of Chinese manufacturing and Japanese components means the watch is both reliable and inexpensive.

Importantly, there’s more than just the black and red variation on offer. Corgeut is a bit of a specialist in Tudor homages, so have a good look at their full range.

If you want the best bang for your buck, I'd start here.

Corgeut Black Bay 2010C-SRB

  • 41mm Diameter
  • 12.5mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic Movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 100M Water Resistance


Stuhrling Forti Black Bay Watch

The Stuhrling Forti isn't a full homage to the Black Bay. Instead, it's a vintage-inspired quartz model that gives more than a nod to the Tudor.

Stuhrling is a young American brand that has sold over 15 million watches since 2002. They're ambitious and release both original designs and homage models.

The Forti has a case, bezel and crown that are reminiscent of the Tudor. They remind me of the Black Bay without mimicking the watch. But both watches have a shared look.

This design works for me. It has a retro appeal and the dive watch vibe is softened by the canvas NATO strap.

This is a casual diver.

The colours are simple and stick to black and gold. And there is the Tudor inspiration again - on the gold second hand. The hand is the same style as the Black Bay, as is the red triangle on the bezel.

The more I look at this watch, the more that I like it. It's a well-thought-out watch that costs a little over £100. It's ideal if you want something in the style of the Black Bay, but that stops short of recreating the Swiss watch.

Stuhrling Forti 3958

  • 41mm Diameter
  • 9.1mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Quartz movement
  • Mineral Crystal
  • 100M Water Resistance

 

 


Benyar Black Bay Homage Watch

Benyar is another Chinese homage brand. They're a little cheaper than some of the others and not as widely known.

Their version of the Tudor isn't an exact replica of the Black Bay. It has the styling and the influence is obvious, but it hasn't tried to recreate every element.

Given the choice, I prefer Corgeut's Black Bay homage. But the Benyar is half the price. And that's for an automatic watch with 100m of water resistance.

You get a lot for your money.

And the design still works. Why wouldn't it? It has all the major design points of the Tudor. This variation, with the maroon bezel, is a real beauty. It's eye-catching and a little less obvious.

The look is enhanced by the snowflake hands and bold markers.

It might not be the best Black Bay homage, but it's definitely a contender. Particularly if you're a fan of the uncommon maroon bezel.

Benyar Black Bay 58 BY5179BY-ER

  • 42mm Diameter
  • 16mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Automatic movement
  • Hardlex Crystal
  • 100M Water Resistance

 


Pagani Design Black Bay Homage Watch

This is a wonderful looking watch that draws heavily from the Tudor Black Bay. At 42mm it's comfortably sized and is driven by Seiko's NH35A movement.

It's quite a bit more than the Benyar, but is still great value for money.

There is a lot going on here. The Pagani has an attractively textured dial and gilt accents on the hands, dial and bezel. There is also a bit of red on the bezel and crown.

I particularly like the applied square markers - that's a nod to the original vintage Tudor models.

Other than that, this watch is reasonably faithful to the current Black Bay. The snowflake hands, case, bezel and oversized crown are all familiar.

It's available in a few colours too, each mirroring a release from Tudor.

Whilst I still prefer Corgeut's Black Bay homage, this is a great looking watch. If you favour the square markers to the round variation, then start with this model.

Pagani Design Tudor Black Bay PD1671

  • 42mm Diameter
  • 13mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 100M Water Resistance

 


NTH Barracuda Black Bay watch

I used to sell Lew and Huey watches - they were a small American microbrand. And I still wear my Lew and Huey Cerberus. It's an Omega Aqua Terra inspired watch that pays tribute to the three-headed beast that guards the Underworld.

Lew and Huey was a unique brand. Owner, Chris Vail, used it to channel his creative and somewhat argumentative personality. But being a microbrand upstart can be stressful.

In his words “I felt a need to find the “spiritual center” for myself and my business, a refuge of purity, removed from the controversy which had always swirled around the Lew & Huey brand”.

So he created a new watch brand. NTH - a Nod to History.

NTH blew up and have released one successful watch after another. Their dive watches - or Subs - have been the most popular. It's from this collection that the Barracuda surfaced.

It's the most expensive watch on my list. But it is an exquisite piece with 300M of water resistance. Again, it's another watch that is very similar to the Tudor without being exactly the same. All the basics are evident.

So, why buy the NTH Barracuda instead of the cheaper Corgeut?

One of the obvious reasons is to support a small, independent American business. Everyone in the watch world knows the brand's founder and will have chatted to him online.

If you want cool new startups, you need to support them. The bonus is that NTH watches are great too.

NTH Barracuda Vintage V2

  • 40mm Diameter
  • 11.5mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 300M Water Resistance

 

Conclusion


Tudor was created as an affordable brand. They were Rolex's sister company, supplying less expensive watches to the same customers.

They were owned by Rolex and assembled in the Rolex factory. But to keep costs down they didn't use Rolex movements. The idea was to get a Rolex on a budget.

But times have changed.

Since the release of the Tudor Black Bay, the brand has gone from strength to strength. They also make their own in-house movements now. Tudor are very desirable watches in their own right.

And the result?

I don't think there are many people who'd now describe Tudor watches as affordable.

So if you want a Black Bay, but don't have or want to spend £3k?

Have a look at a high-quality homage.

I've picked out the five best for you. My list ranges from Chinese watches priced at less than £100, to a well-regarded American microbrand.

There should be something for you here. I'd suggest that you follow some of the links and dig in. And of course, let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Subscribe to my list for updates and offers

Related Posts

Aviator - Exciting Swiss Pilot's Watches with a Russian Heritage
Aviator - Exciting Swiss Pilot's Watches with a Russian Heritage
Imagine that you're a fan of Russian watches and you start browsing the internet looking at your favourite brands. Yo...
Read More
Doxa - The 5 Best Watches From Iconic Swiss Brand
Doxa - The 5 Best Watches From Iconic Swiss Brand
Some products define a brand.We all know what a Jeep looks like. And we all know who makes a Big Mac.The world of wat...
Read More
The 5 Best Zodiac Watches - Stunning & Colourful Swiss Timepieces
The 5 Best Zodiac Watches - Stunning & Colourful Swiss Timepieces
Not all watch brands get the recognition that they deserve.We all know the Rolex Submariner. It's the most famous div...
Read More
The 6 Best Seiko Reissues, Reinterpretations, Re-creations and Recrafts
The 6 Best Seiko Reissues, Reinterpretations, Re-creations and Recrafts
Some watches have a place in watchmaking history.They have an iconic design or a new feature. Or it could be that the...
Read More
Marathon - The 3 Best Military Watches (Canadian Designed and Swiss-Made)
Marathon - The 3 Best Military Watches (Canadian Designed and Swiss-Made)
The Godfather author Mario Puzo once compared the strength of a family to that of an army. The strength of each comes...
Read More
The 5 Best Oris Swiss Watches - A Buyers Guide
The 5 Best Oris Swiss Watches - A Buyers Guide
With independence comes freedom.That's the driving force of Swiss heritage brand Oris. This family-owned company forg...
Read More

0 comments

Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing