5 of the best custom Tudor Black Bays
Special Tudors for Google, Hodinkee, Ed Sheeran, Undefeated, and more
I love a good customized dial. The odder the pairing, the better. Of course, the Domino’s Air-King from Rolex has long been a cult favorite, and with one recently selling for $20k, prices have begun to reflect this popularity.
Nowadays, Rolex doesn’t much customize dials for corporate or VIP clients. But that doesn’t mean its buddies at Tudor down the hall can’t have a little fun. A bunch of customized Tudors have popped up over the past few months. Let’s take a look at some of the best. And if you’re wondering where your customized Tudor is, don’t worry, you’re not alone.
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Undefeated Black Bay 41
Founded in 2002, Undefeated is a sneaker and apparel boutique based out of Los Angeles. At the end of 2020, John Mayer posted the above photo of a Tudor Black Bay Blue with the Undefeated logo at 6 o’clock. The Undefeated’s simple logo works perfectly on a watch dial — present but not overpowering, staying true to the Black Bay’s tool watch ethos. It makes sense that Mayer’s got one too: nowadays, he seems to be just as into clothes as he is into watches, and the larger Undefeated team (including Chris Gibbs, who Mayer thanks in the post above), is at the forefront of everything jawnz related. Years ago, Mayer did a Week on the Wrist with the Tudor Black Bay Black, so it’s a fitting gift for a long-time Black Bay lover.
Air France Black Bay 58 and GMT
Now, for a decidedly less cool customization: a Tudor Black Bay 58 Blue and the Black Bay GMT (below) customized for Air France. By the looks of the mock caseback engraving, it seems to be a gift for employees of a certain tenure. Still, customizing a GMT for an airline employee certainly stays true to the origins of the GMT’s functionality. I’ve written about the golden age of companies gifting watches to employees before, and it’s nice to see Air France keeping that spirit alive with these two Tudors. Especially considering many American companies are more prone to giving out pens and paperweights than mechanical tickers nowadays.
Ed Sheeran “Divide” Black Bay
A few weeks ago, I mentioned that at the end of Ed Sheeran’s huge Divide World Tour (literally, it was the highest-grossing tour of all-time), he gave out Tudor Black Bays to 80 members of the production crew and staff featuring the Divide logo at 6 o’clock. Unlike the previous two custom dials, this one gives the black dial a playful pop of color.
Now, Delray Watch has another example for sale, after quickly selling another last year. It’s got an engraving on the back, “Thank you for all your hard work on the tour, Love Ed X”. You love to see Sheeran doing his part to spread the watch bug. $50k at Delray Watch.
“Watches for Good” Black Bay 58
Now, for the most subtle of custom dials. This one comes from Watches for Good, a non-profit that grew out of a private group of watch enthusiasts at Google. As they describe on their page, the organization raffles off watches, donating the proceeds to charitable causes (for example, to support covid relief efforts in 2020). Check out the colors outside the minute track at 6 o’clock. It doesn’t get much better (much Google-ier) than that.
State of Qatar Black Bay
Finally, here’s a Tudor Black Bay with the State of Qatar insignia, in both Arabic and English, at 6 o’clock. It’s believed this particular example was produced in extremely low quanities, available only through specific Qatari dealers and to friends and family of the State of Qatar. Revolution has this NOS example for sale.
Much the way the Rolex Air-King was customized for dozens of companies, retailers, and clients over the years, the Tudor Black Bay seems to be the customizable modern watch from the Hans Wilsdorf stable. Spot another custom Tudor Black Bay? Let me know about it.
Bonus Pick: Hodinkee Black Bay 58
As Gary Shteyngart also showed off, Hodinkee made 100 individually-engraved “friends of Hodinkee” Tudor Black Bay 58s:
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