It’s finally out…the watch industry’s worst kept secret has been officially launched from Tudor and the entire world now knows about the Black Bay Blue. If you’re reading this expecting a review of it, you’ve come to the wrong place. By this point many of you have probably done the exact same thing that we have and scoured all of the articles from our favorite watch outlets, learning every little thing about the already highly-coveted Tudor. So for us to repeat the same press release once more seems a bit redundant. What we will say is that love or hate it, it is nice to see a new release coming from Tudor in the midst of many watch brands, including big brother Rolex, saying that they will halt 2020 releases due to the pandemic.
So if we aren’t talking about the watch, why are we here?
“Did you see the new Tudor yet?” “What do you think of the new Black Bay?” “So and so sent me pictures of the Black Bay Blue.”
As watch media, we have an unspoken respect to not share details of a watch until its embargo is lifted. We never sign anything. There’s no contract that keeps our mouths closed. But we honor what the brand is trying to do, out of both professional courtesy on our parts and admiration towards this amazing hobby that we all find ourselves. And if we’re being honest, there’s also the reality that if we share this information prior to the lifted embargo, neither that brand nor many others would want to work with us anymore. It’s a relationship, and one of the foundations to any relationship will always be mutual trust and respect.
Now in regards to those questions above, we’ve seen them everywhere. In DMs, group chats, Facebook groups, watch forums…everyone had pictures and conversations about this new watch a week prior to Tudor launching it. I’m not talking about renderings or hopes and dreams, I’m talking actual wrist shots and pictures of the watches in their coffins. It would seem that the moment Authorized Dealers got these watches in store, they were quick to send photos of it to their clients with the caption “don’t show this to anyone” who, of course, sent them along to others, which got posted online, and some made it to a few YouTube videos. Nothing was secret. But in reality, it’s better worded that nothing was sacred! Let’s be honest, these watches were going to sell out immediately! Tudor took a watch that already had a wait list and made it in the most popular color for a steel sports watch out there…of course it was going to fly off the shelves. So why did dealers and more specifically their sales staff feel the need to rush through and sell them all before they were even released? Why is there such little integrity in the retail world that staff feel the need to leak photos of a watch days before they’re supposed to?
Honestly, by the time the actual release came out I was over it. I had already seen a dozen terrible pictures of the Black Bay Smurf from some greedy sales person’s cell phone all over the internet. There was nothing new. Nothing exciting. I would almost say that Tudor missed out on their own launch by being overshadowed. The hype was stolen from them and had long worn out by Tuesday morning. Yes we are all going to speculate over new releases, that’s what we do as enthusiasts. But you can’t convince me that fun speculation and banter is the same as these dealers ruining it for us. Essentially they are the kind of people who go and see a highly anticipated film opening weekend and then immediately post online that your favorite character dies and go in depth on how the movie ends. They are taking the fun out of it for the rest of us and no one is calling them out or holding them responsible. In all honesty, I truly believe that Tudor would have every right to pull out of any dealer who was found guilty of this and I would fully support it. But let’s be realistic…the dealer would then whine about it online and gain the support of people who do not understand that what they did was wrong.
Why do I say it was wrong?
Aside from what they’ve done to Tudor, lets look at what they are doing to our hobby as a whole. Everyone is quick to point their fingers at brands like Rolex, Patek, Tudor, and AP for creating wait lists and selling to only certain people. I’m going to let you in on a secret…it is not their fault! The entity to blame is the Authorized Dealers! I have it on good accord that several of these dealers had ten or more of these watches that were sold out days before Tudor announced this release. I was even in the middle of a group chat in which someone had forwarded pictures from their dealer, mentioning they had a few left, and someone else in the chat purchased one just like that. Why is this fair? It means that for the most part, unless you’re “in the know” or “know a guy”, you had no chance.
When I got into this hobby, I always was concerned about watch meetups and RedBar events, thinking that it was just full of a bunch of pretentious people flashing around their money. Things like this make me see the sad reality that my initial perception isn’t entirely wrong. While reading the comments on all these leaked photos with the same “look what I secured before the wait list” there were three types of comments. You had the regular “congratulations”, the arguing over whether or not people even liked the watch, and the guys who didn’t understand how someone could get the watch before it is even being sold. Here’s the truth that makes this hobby so damn frustrating: If you have enough money and big enough spends, your name is first in line to buy that highly coveted watch from any brand. If you know the right guy who knows a retailer desperate for sales then you can get one.
But let’s have a freaking reality check…most of us aren’t in that position. Many of us save for quite some time to buy one expensive watch and we can’t even get it. Our name will never come up on these elusive wait lists. Us “watch enthusiasts” make up such a small portion of watch consumers. We know this shitty fact in the back of our mind, whether or not we choose to believe it. But what about the guy looking to buy his first nice watch. What about the guy who saw on Instagram a brand new Blue Black Bay released earlier that day, only to be laughed at by a salesperson when he inquires about it a few hours later because all of their allotment was sold days ago. You can think to yourself that I’m being dramatic, but this shitty “we’re better than you”, “who do you think you are” behavior happens all the time with dealers when highly sought after watches are being inquired upon. You think watches are a dying hobby? I don’t blame smart watches actually. I blame the inability for regular average people to buy that first luxury watch that they’ve dreamed of and worked for.
Alas, all of this is for nothing as this behavior will never change. It’s no wonder many brands don’t clue in anyone about a new release…look what happens when they do. I genuinely feel bad for Tudor. Whether or not I like the watch, they never had a chance to launch it in their own way. But more so I feel bad for our hobby. For everyday people who just want to buy a watch and can’t. For those of us who just want to enjoy the tease of a new release without having it all ruined. Where is the integrity? And why are we encouraging it? Are we so focused on the instant gratification of being first with it on our wrist or to get more likes on social media that we don’t see how we are hurting the hobby? Be better. Make this hobby better.
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