Tudor Black Bay GMT.
Tudor Black Bay GMT.
Image: Supplied

Coke or Pepsi? Although consumer appetite for soft drinks is shrinking, most people still have an allegiance to their favourite. When temperatures soar there is nothing quite as refreshing as an ice-cold cola. Coca-Cola’s global market share is about twice that of my favourite, Pepsi, yet despite this, it’s the nostalgia-laden red-blue that is instantly recognizable, no matter your camp.   

We have been spoiled for choice this year with an excellent array of well designed, function-first, tool watches. Among these are diver’s watches, which include vintage-inspired, classic revivals and anniversary editions. Manufacturers are also offering good value propositions for newcomers seeking the prestige of a luxury brand and mechanical movements but at affordable prices. One of them is the Tudor Black Bay collection inspired by the brand’s first diver’s watches from the 1950s. 

A most welcome surprise this year is the addition of a 41mm “Pepsi” bezelled Black Bay GMT (about R57,000) with three time-zone function. You don’t have to be a scuba enthusiast to wear a diver’s watch and, what’s more, this timepiece combines the rugged good looks and strict regulatory requirements of a diver – robustness, reliability, accuracy, legibility, waterproof (200m) – with GMT functionality in the perfect companion for globetrotting cosmopolites.

The GMT is powered by a new COSC-certified Calibre MT5652 self-winding mechanical movement with 70 hour power reserve. Functions include a jumping hour (for a second time zone, indicated by a red Snowflake hand), independent hour hand (for local time) and stop seconds (for precise time setting).

The third time zone is monitored by the 24-hour bidirectional rotatable bezel in distinguishing deep blue and burgundy. The matte black dial features characteristic simple bold markers, Snowflake hour hand (unique to Tudor) and date window at 3 o’clock. Hands and markers are all treated with lume for extra legibility when cabin lights are dimmed.

With the same functionality and similar aesthetics, but at just over twice the price (R119,900), you can get the new Oystersteel GMT–Master II from big brother Rolex. Although there is no argument over which is the superior watch, when it comes to value for money, the Tudor is an impressive investment for inclusion in any collection. It also comes with the option of leather and fabric straps or the more appealing and sporty flat three-piece steel bracelet. The GMT–Master II’s new five-piece link Jubilee bracelet is, in my opinion, too “60s executive” looking and possibly more fitting on a DateJust. Either way, in the deep sea of choice, I’m definitely with Pepsi.

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