Milton Glaser recently said in a Guggenheim lecture that design has nothing to do with art—more a “process of going from an existing condition to a preferred one.” The octogenarian graphic designer of I <3 ny="" fame="" reminds="" us="" that="" design="" is="" both="" form="" and="" function="" focused="" on="" not="" only="" the="" cosmetic="" but="" also="" core="" purpose="" of="" a="" creation="" in="" short:="" it="" s="" about="" making="" things="" better="" p="">
Watches, one finds, are a true test of intelligent design.
Take the Tudor Heritage Black Bay: It is an amalgamation of new in-house technology and all the lovely pieces of the past that have been re-assembled into a thing of precision and a source of pride. Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Tudor and Rolex, wanted to make a highly dependable watch back in the 1920s, and that philosophy is carried on today.
This particular steel beauty sports the Tudor calibre MT5602—featuring hour, minute, and second functions—which is an updated variation of the first ever Tudor Manufacture movement launched in 2015. MT5602 is referred to as “weekend-proof” since the 70-hour power reserve combined with an antimagnetic, high-precision silicon balance spring ensure you can take it off on Friday eve and wear it again on Monday morn without having to wind it.
And beat this: The mechanism is certified by the COSC, the independent Swiss precision testing institute. (The Swiss, through laboratories and observatories, have been cultivating their obsession over handcrafted, mechanical watchmaking since the 19th century, thus we tend to respect their imprimatur.)
While the watch itself is an iteration of the 2012 model (which won the Revival Prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie in Geneva by the way), its domed dial and crystal, not to mention its general aspect (flourishes like that triangle marker at the 12, those rectangles at 3, 6, and 9, etc.) hark back to the first diving watches produced by Wilsdorf, notably the Rolex Submariner in 1953 and the Tudor Submariner in 1954. Jack Cousteau lovers (or Wes Anderson fans) will be thrilled at the longevity of these iconic watches. Features also include the so-called “big crown” or prominent winding crown engraved with the Tudor rose from the famous Tudor 7924 reference of 1958, as well as the characteristic angular hands, known as “snowflake,” lifted from the Tudor watches used by the French national navy in the 1970s.
Even the bracelet takes inspiration from the riveted bracelets of the 1950s and 1960s, with stepped construction and rivet heads on the sides. The main difference? Tudor Heritage Black Bay uses stainless steel instead of folded plates of metal. The extra fabric strap, a signature feature of Tudor’s Heritage line, does not escape the French tradition either, as it is produced according to the traditional “Jacquard” or weaving technique mastered by a century-old family business located in the St. Etienne region of France. Just another way to make the seemingly ordinary can-be-used-everyday timepiece, a bit more special.
You coud strap on a vintage piece…or, if you prefer, go with a heritage watch like this.