Tag Archives: Tudor Black Bay

Wednesday Watch Day! The Next Best Thing

A Guy’s Gotta Dream

Welcome to another episode of Wednesday Watch Day. I hope you are enjoying these weekly trips into my personal horological world. However, my best assumption is that you’ve almost got to be a watch nerd to read past this sentence 😉

Anyway, are there things in your life that you wish you could have, but reality has whispered in your ear, “Get real”? I’m that way with a particular brand of watch – Tudor.

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Tudor Heritage Black Bay 41 (Retail: $3,050)

And when it comes to Tudor watches, there are three that I sometimes daydream about. One of those is the Heritage Black Bay 41 with a black dial (I’ll tell you about the other two, later).

Now, I don’t want to go on and on about the Tudor Heritage Black Bay 41, but some details may help lend perspective. This particular watch is 41mm in diameter, made of stainless steel, and has a scratchproof sapphire crystal. It also has a screw down crown at the 3 o’clock position, a screw down solid case back, and has a water resistant rating of 150 meters (500ft.).

Inside the Tudor is the caliber 2824 movement (based on the Swiss-made ETA 2824) which has 25 jewels and bits at 28,800 vph (vibrations per hour). Besides being very accurate for a mechanical watch, this smooth movement give Tudor an approximate 38-hour power reserve.

Reality Ain’t So Bad!

Here’s the reality: unless I become a famous painter, author, or pastor of a church with a big, golden globe rotating behind me when I preach, I’ll be saving a long, long time for a Tudor.

However, just because I can’t afford a Black Bay 41, that doesn’t meant I can’t have the next best thing, a Seiko SRPE55!

Seiko SRPE55 ($200 – $300)

Honestly, I love my Seiko and wear it more than any other watch in my collection. To be specific (because I have an app on my phone that track all this stuff), my SRPE55 has a wear rate of 12.5%, compared to the next-most-worn watch at only at 7.5%!

And why shouldn’t I love it? I mean, look, if you didn’t know anything about watches, a quick glance at both would make one question the huge price difference. They look very similar and the Seiko even has a day/date complication and a longer (41 hour) power reserve!

My watch on a page from a Tudor catalogue. Left-Right: Tudor Heritage Black Bay 41; Seiko SRPE55; Tudor Heritage Black Bay 36 (all to scale)

Look, there are real, honest-to-goodness reasons why Tudors cost 10 times the amount of a Seiko (although you can pay over $5 grand for some Seiko’s). The 4R36 movement in the SRPE55 has 24 jewels and operates at 21,600 beats an hour, but it’s not as smooth at the Tudor. Neither is the water resistance rating of 100 meters as good, partly due to the push/pull crown.

But that’s not all the differences; the Seiko only has a “Hardlex” crystal, not sapphire, which is more prone to scratches. But the real differences go much deeper than a casual glance can see, and these differences are what demands a much higher premium for one and not the other.

However, the Seiko DOES have a pretty open case back 🙂

True Beauty

You know the old saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

There’s another saying you may know. It goes like this: “True beauty is more than skin deep.”

But if true beauty is more than skin deep, and if beauty is in the eye of the beholder, who can actually see the true beauty?

I know Who! He’s even the One who invented time!

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature because I have rejected him. Humans do not see what the LORD sees, for humans see what is visible, but the LORD sees the heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7 CSB, God speaking to Samuel regarding Eliab, one of David’s brothers

Samuel listened to God and didn’t choose the “next best” option. Looks weren’t everything.

But I think the Lord would still prefer me stick with what I’ve got 😉

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The Humble Grail

Within the wristwatch-wearing community – those who wear timepieces, not computers – there is a term which describes the watch (or watches) you someday hope to own. These watches, often expensive and/or rare, are called “grails.”

A few watches immediately come to mind when we think of “grails.”

Grand Seiko Snowflake Dial
  • Rolex Submariner ($15,000 avg.)
  • Omega Speedmaster ($5,000 avg.)
  • The Grand Seiko “Snowflake” ($6k-$7k avg.)
  • Rolex Datejust ($6k – $15k and more…a lot more)
  • Tudor Black Bay 58 ($4,000 avg.)

Grail watches, depending on a person’s dreams and aspirations, vary greatly. However, what is typically the same is that they are difficult to obtain and often prohibitively expensive. And we’re not even talking about upper-end luxury watches that can cost over $100,000.

But not all grails are expensive. Some are simply rare. For example, those who collect Timex watches have different models they would love to obtain. My first Timex grail was a 1967 Marlin “dot-dash.” I picked one up for $67 off eBay, but only after I lost a bid on another a few weeks before. Other collectors dream of that perfect vintage Timex dive watch.

Just recently I was thrilled to obtain a grail. For months I had been going to farmer’s markets and posting paintings online, all to generate enough money to buy a Seiko SRPE 55. When the last painting sold brought in what I needed, online shopping I a-went! Like a Knight of the Round Table with a key to the gate, I charged the virtual castle and captured the Japanese-made legend.

But let me point out a few things before you think I spent ten thousand dollars on something. First, the watch I bought, the Seiko SRPE 55, cost me less than $200. It could have cost me $275+, but I shopped around and got the best deal. Also, every dime I spent on the purchase of this watch was earned from selling my paintings, prints, and an old Timex or two.

One reason I wanted this watch was because how similar it was to the Tudor Heritage Black Bay 41 and 36, watches costing around $3,000. The Tudor could be considered a true grail watch for me, but I can’t justify spending that much. Therefore, when I saw the striking similarity between the Seiko and the Tudor, my decision was made. And, I didn’t have to save for 10 years to make the purchase!

My Seiko between the Tudor Black Bay 41 and 36

Are there any other grails I want to buy one day? Honestly, not at this time (no pun intended, but it works).

Right now, my main goal is to finish my doctoral assignments, prepare sermons, visit people, and be a husband, dad, grandfather, and son. As I find old Timex pieces to add to my collection, I will take them home, clean them up, and work on my watch servicing skills. But what I am not going to do is dream about a watch that could pay for a trip to the Holy Land!

That brings me to my final though about grails: Do people ever think about the futility of what they are seeking?

From where to the term “grail” originate? Well, it comes from the word used to describe the cup from which Jesus shared the wine with His disciples at the Last Supper. That cup is often referred to as the “Holy Grail.”

You’ve probably seen other things besides watches referred to as the “holy grail” of one thing or another. It’s a term meant to describe something as the ultimate, most-elusive prize to be had. This stems all the way back to when legends described the cup Jesus used as one made of gold, encrusted with precious stones, and even capable of mystical powers.

But what was the “holy grail”? Would it not have been a simple cup made of wood, stone, or clay? Most certainly it was simple, lacked ornamentation, and had no other significance other than that it was handled by the Word made flesh, the Creator of time.

What made the grail “holy” was that was set apart unto a holy work. Other than that, it was humble. A humble grail.

So, that brings me back full circle to watches. Why do we have “grail” watches? In reality, just like the elusive Holy Grail of old, how many fortunes are lost in pursuit of something glittery, shiny, hand (of man) crafted, with no inherent power other than the ability to do what it was designed to do?

It seems very ironic to me that we want those glittery cups and not the humble one. We lust after the opulence of the Tudors and scoff at the utilitarian simplicity and dependability of the lowly Timex.

Even more ironic is that the very “grail” for which the Indian Jones’ of the world search is the very same cup (metaphorically speaking) that Jesus asked, “If it be Thy will, let this cup pass from me.” He knew what it was going to cost Him, but He wasn’t purchasing it for Himself; it was meant to be a gift for those who could NEVER afford to purchase it.

Therefore, what makes the grail precious? It’s monetary value? The gold and jewels? The intricate, fine-crafted details? Or could you be satisfied with something simple?

To be honest, the most precious watches in my collection, those for which no price could buy them away from me, are those which my wife and daughters gave me as gifts. They are irreplaceable, even if they only cost $20.

I’m wearing a $30 Timex MK1 Steel on a canvas strap now, and I really like this watch! But I’m going to swap it out for my new Seiko before I leave the house.

I wonder what Jesus would wear.


Your thoughts and comments mean a lot to me, so let me know what you think 😊

Have a blessed day and start to your week.

Anthony

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