Being cursed with more taste than money, one of the watches that I really like is the Tudor Heritage Black Bay. With a black case, black leather strap, black bezel, and black dial, this Tudor has the business-like look of a classic commando dive watch. The weathered look of the watch strap makes the Tudor Black Bay look like a timepiece with a thousand stories that it can never tell. I also respect that Tudor as a Rolex-brand brings high quality components and workmanship together with a non-Rolex movement. It sheds pretense to bring you solid capability at a more affordable price point. Unfortunately, that price point is still quite a bit out of my range.
The next obvious question for me is simple: how do I recreate the look and some of the capabilities of a Tudor Black Bay watch at a price point that I can afford? The first step is to identify a suitable water resistant watch that has a similar look to the Tudor Black Bay. One of the first dive watches to meet my criteria is the Orient Ray Raven II Black PVD watch. It has the black case, black dial, and black bezel. It also has circular batons to denote the hours. Both are similarly sized watches with the Tudor coming in at 41 millimeters and the Orient coming in at 41.5 millimeters. Both watches are water resistant to 200 meters.
The next step would be to replace the stainless steel bracelet of the Orient with a distressed leather strap. Fortunately, StrapsCo offers a 22 millimeter distressed leather watch strap in a variety of colors including black. With the strap and the watch, you’ll get the all black look of the Tudor Black Bay. You’ll also get a bona fide automatic watch. However, the price tag will still be somewhere in the neighborhood of $300.
There are Tudor Black Bay models with a similar look but a traditional stainless steel case. If you prefer the flat unpolished stainless steel look, this project gets considerably easier. For the lowest cost for this project. I would suggest an Orient Pro Diver or even a Casio Duro Quartz Analog Dive Watch. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to verify the strap width. But, the look is right on!