Sailing with Giants: TUDOR Heritage Black Bay

Setting sail from the city in search of migratory whales with the aid of the time-tested marine chronometer



Nestled in the shadow of the newly erected One World Trade Center on the shores of the Hudson River, lies the home of the often overlooked community of NYC sailors. The city is home to prime sailing conditions for much of the year and from late summer through the fall, pods of humpback whales migrate along New York’s Atlantic shore. Exchanging manmade behemoth skyscrapers for some of the largest mammals on earth, we set sail from Tribeca with the aid of TUDOR‘s Heritage Black Bay timepiece. Lining up tides, navigating the Hudson’s infamously tempestuous currents and coordinating our route with the majestic visitors required a chronometer that was both capable, ocean-ready and (last but not least) sartorially fit for our 1964 Hinckley Custom Pilot 35.

Rooted in horological history, the Heritage Black Bay traces its origins back to the early days of the diver watch. Designed with dependability at remarkable depths, the dive watch has become a staple in watch design. Far from simply reissuing the Black Bay, the contemporary version is the result of continued ideation and balanced integration of modern styling through the lens of a classic dive watch.


Devotees to the Black Bay will recognize continuity in the structural character of today’s rendition. Streamlined, elegant lugs give way to a domed crystal and dial that are the hallmark of the watch’s timeless appeal. An oversized, ornate winding crown along with the brand’s signature snowflake hands are characteristic of TUDOR’s brand heritage.


The Heritage Black Bay’s entrance into modernity comes in the form of technical material updates. A 41mm steel case with an anodized aluminum crown tube contribute to the watch’s burly seaworthiness. Not just a pretty face, the Heritage Black Bay is waterproof to depths of 200 meters. Hour markers on the domed dial and the hands reveal brilliant luminosity in low light and darkness. Whether you find yourself on the water past sunset or in the depths of the sea where sun’s rays cannot penetrate, keeping time is never an issue with the Heritage Black Bay. Luckily for us, we weren’t plunged into the frigid November Atlantic to put these particular features to the test.


Sailing out of New York Harbor past Brooklyn’s Fort Hamilton and rounding Breezy Point we met the open ocean. Precision timekeeping is of the utmost importance on an open water sail. Leaving the harbor, we had the current of the Hudson in our favor—upon our return we would be making three steps forward, two steps back. While GPS devices take care of the brunt of navigation, old fashioned technical knowhow and a reliable watch can see one through when more advanced gadgetry fails.


Just as the high tide mark hit, we reached the periphery of the humpback’s migration route. Keeping in line with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northeast whale watching guidelines, we kept a safe distance from where humpbacks were most recently sighted. As the three foot swells lolled the Hinckley’s forrest green hull and the 10 knot breeze unfailingly filled our sails, our whale watching window steadily closed without so much as the illusion of a breach.


Tacking upwind to dock at our Tribeca slip before sundown, the trip proved to be a lesson in the merits of the journey over the destination. The sea makes no promises, gives nothing for free and demands all of one’s strength and attention. For the discerning maritime adventurer, the TUDOR Heritage Black Bay is a trustworthy, sturdy companion.

Available in deep burgundy and midnight blue, the TUDOR Heritage Black Bay is available nationwide.

Images by Hans Aschim