Considering all the tools and resources accessible to Tudor and Rolex, I hope that in the future they are able to deliver alloy watches that look new a good deal longer. I’m not sure who else feels like this, but I believe that as soon as you become accustomed to durability features like this, it is really hard to return to more delicate metallic surfaces.Nevertheless, Tudor is in its best when machining a metal case. For the money there isn’t any better-made watch case I am aware of than those offered by Tudor. Rolex makes them as well, but naturally for more money. The precision machining when it comes to fine angles and fragile differences between completing patterns (including the intersection of 2 brushed surfaces) is excellent about the Pelagos case. It’s really a beautiful thing, and that I understand watch lovers at all experience levels will truly come to appreciate Tudor’s handiwork here.The mechanical motion inside the Pelagos LHD is the Tudor caliber MT5612-LHD. Given the crown is flipped, the movement gets its own designation. Considered a nice upgrade from a standard ETA 2824, the MT5612 is a very impressive automatic that provides 70 hours of power book with a 4Hz (28,800 bph) operating frequency. More so, the movement has a silicon equilibrium spring as part of this balance wheel which is held in place with a durable traversing bridge (basically it connects on two sides). The motion also offers more regulation than ETA movements, therefore it could be adjusted to be more precise. More so, the motion is COSC Chronometer licensed — that is actually not too common for lefty orientation watches (since the job of the crown is taken into consideration as part of their chronometer certification tests for the motion).
Making its debut inside the new Tudor Black Bay Chrono, the MT5813 is a lot of movement for comparatively little money. It’s made by Breitling for Tudor, and is likely the highest spec Swiss made chronograph movement for the money on the market today, being inside a watch that costs less than US$5000.
The MT5813 has a column wheel as the start-stop switch for the chronograph, as well as a vertical clutch that transmits power from the base movement to the chronograph mechanism.
Both are features standard in mid- to high-end modern chronograph movements like the calibre 4130 in the Rolex Daytona (which according to industry lore was developed by many of the same engineers who subsequently created the Breitling calibre).
It also has a 70-hour power reserve, meaning it’ll run for three days on a full wind. And the balance wheel is fitted with a silicon hairspring, a technological convenience that’s resistant to magnetism, temperature variations, as well as not needing any adjustment.
The movement has a solid, even sophisticated, construction, but is evidently produced in a mechanical manner. The look is functional and straightforward. Steel chronograph levers are stamped and tumble-finished, while the gilded gears are sandblasted. And the spiral graining on the edge of the base plate is obviously engraved by machine.
The Breitling connection
Despite the “MT” prefix, which is short for “Manufacture Tudor”, the MT5813 is manufactured by Breitling, a fact Tudor candidly revealed, to its credit.
It’s essentially a variant of the Breitling 01 (or B01) movement, the in-house movement Breitling introduced in 2009. That’s the same calibre used as the base for last year’s awesomely high tech Chronoworks.
Having embarked on a collaboration with Breitling several years ago, the MT5831 chronograph movement is produced by Breitling for Tudor. And in return, Tudor will supply its own automatic MT56 movement to Breitling; that’s the same calibre found in the second generation Pelagos and Black Bay.
The reciprocal arrangement makes sense, since each brand has likely built up production capacity that’s more than enough to satisfy its own demand. Breitling, for instance, built a four-storey building in La Chaux-de-Fonds for production of the Breitling 01 movement.
What sets it apart
Several features distinguish the Tudor version from from a Breitling movement. The first two are cosmetic and the most obvious: the sandblasted finish on the bridges and base plate, as well as the rotor design. Both are also found on Tudor’s own in-house calibres.
More significant is the Tudor regulator, made up of a free sprung balance wheel with four adjustable masses, which is the same balance is found on Tudor’s own movements.
And on the front, the elapsed minute counter is for 45 minutes, instead of the more conventional 30-minute counter.
While the historical congruence of the Black Bay Chrono is controversial (since the diver’s watch dial doesn’t tally with the auto racing tachymetric bezel), its value is more certain.
Priced at SFr4800 (that’s about US$4840) on a bracelet, the Black Bay Chrono is almost half the price of a similar Breitling Chronomat with the Breitling 01 movement.
That’s about as affordable as it gets for a Swiss made chronograph with a comparable movement. In fact, it’s almost comparable to Seiko’s automatic chronographs, which are probably world champions in the value for money stakes.