The Tudor Black Bay vs the LIV GX Diver Automatic

 
Any watch collection worth its salt is going to have at least one dive watch, and likely more than one. For people who live outdoors, both above and beneath the water, a dive watch is a perfect companion. Rugged, water-resistant, elapsed time bezel, and highly visible hands and hour markers in daylight and darkness.
Several big-name brands are known for their dive watches. One of those is Tudor, a sister company to Rolex. Among the fresh new crop of microbrands is LIV Watches, also a purveyor for premium quality dive watches. In this review, we'll compare the Tudor Black Bay M79230N-0009 to the LIV GX-Diver Automatic.

The Tudor Black Bay offering

Tudor's Black Bay range has everything necessary to qualify as a professional diving instrument. Believe it or not, the International Standards Organization (ISO) has voluntary standards for what classifies a professional dive instrument.
The Black Bay M79230N-0009 is powered by an in-house caliber, the 25-jewel MT5602 automatic. Tudor houses this three-hand movement with date in a 41 mm stainless steel case. This movement winds bi-directionally and provides a power reserve of approximately 70 hours when fully wound.
The movement also carries a COSC label, meaning it has been tested according to ISO standard 3159 by the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres, the official Swiss chronometer institute. This organization rigorously tests movements and certifies its accuracy.
Other features of this timepiece include a depth rating of 200 m, a black domed dial with pink index, a uni-directional rotating bezel incorporating an anodized aluminum insert, oversized snowflake hour and minute hands, and generous use of lume in all the critical locations.
This model's bracelet is constructed from rivet steel. This is more a technique than an actual grade of steel. The Black Bay uses stainless steel throughout. Rivet steel refers to the method of connecting the links. From the side, the links resemble a bicycle chain. An interesting and durable design.
 
 
Finally, a domed sapphire crystal provides clear visibility and protection, and a screw-down crown bears the Tudor logo. This is a handsome and rugged dive watch and will appeal to Tudor collectors and others in the market for a reliable diving companion.

The LIV Watches offering

LIV Watches jumped into the industry in 2014 with a unique direct-to-consumer business model. Veterans of the traditional Swiss-Made manufacturing and distribution system, LIV founders, decided to offer premium, Swiss-Made timepieces to collectors at prices accessible to most budgets.
The LIV GX-Divers Automatic is the company's first offering in the dive watch segment, and they have made a bit of a splash (you knew this pun was going to crop up somewhere) with it. Let's get into the details.
 
LIV GX-Diver Automatic
 
A robust and widely respected Swiss-Made ETA 2824-2 automatic movement is the heart of this timepiece. The ETA 2824-2 is a three-hand movement and offers a date display. In the case of the GX-Diver Automatic, it shows through an aperture at the 3 o'clock position. Like the Tudor, this automatic has bi-directional winding capabilities and, when fully wound, has a power reserve of approximately 42 hours.
LIV GX-Diver Automatic exhibition case back with sapphire crystal
 
The 41 mm case and bracelet (where chosen) are crafted from 316L stainless steel, carry a water resistance rating of 300 m, features sapphire crystals front (anti-reflective coated) and rear, and have a ceramic uni-directional rotating bezel.
The multi-layer dial features hand-applied indices and markers and is finished with a striking wave motif. To ensure reliable performance at depth, the case back is a screw-down design, as is the crown.
 
LIV GX-Diver Automatic 3D shot
 
A variety of dial colors and strap options allow buyers to customize the GX-Diver to their personal taste. As a limited edition timepiece (1000 pieces of each colorway), the chances of bumping into another collector with the exact watch are slim. Handcrafted leather, double-injected silicone, and nylon straps round out the 316L stainless steel bracelet options.
LIV fans, watch collectors, and people seeking an affordable wat to add a Swiss-Made dive watch to their collection will find everything they want in the GX-Diver Automatic.

Head-to-head

If you are intrigued by this matchup, read on, as this David and Goliath contest dives into the final phase. Who will rise to the surface victorious, the Tudor Black Bay or the LIV GX-Diver? Yes, yes, two more puns to keep things lively.
Here goes, the nitty-gritty of the Black Bay vs. the GX-Diver.
 
Component Tudor Black Bay M79230N-0009 LIV Watches GX-Diver
Calibre Tudor MT5602 (COSC), 25-jewel, self-winding automatic ETA 2824-2, 25-jewel self-winding automatic
Case 41 mm x 14.8 mm, stainless steel 41 mm x 13 mm, 316L stainless steel
Crystal Domed sapphire Scratch-resistant, anti-reflective sapphire, exhibition screw-down case back with sapphire crystal
Crown Screw-down Screw-down
Water resistance 200 m (660 ft) 300 m (1,000 ft)
Bezel Anodized aluminum, uni-directional rotation, coin-edge Matte blue ceramic with BGW9lLuminescence; 120-click unidirectional rotation.
Strap/bracelet 22 mm, rivet steel with safety clasp 22 mm, 316L stainless steel with safety clasp
Limited edition No Yes, 1000 pieces with individual serial numbers
Warranty 5 years 5 years
Price with bracelet $3,800.00 $690.00
 

The bottom line

The contest is, as they say, finis. Who is the champion? As with many competitions, one contender did not lose, the other won. Same result you say? Not really. Let's break it down.
  • Both are Swiss-Made.
  • Both watches meet all the requirements for a dive watch.
  • Both are rugged and offer two distinctly different styles.
  • Both use premium materials.
  • One is from the sister company of Rolex.
  • The other is from an up and coming micro-brand.
The GX-Diver comes in first for a few reasons we feel are important to watch freaks and collectors everywhere.
  1. The GX-Diver edges the Black Bay in specifications; 300 m vs 200 m water resistance, date display, exhibition case back.
  2. The Black Bay does not specify what grade stainless steel it uses. The GX-Diver is front and center with 316L.
  3. The Black Bay is 5.5 times more expensive than the GX-Diver.
Is the Tudor name worth $3,110.00? If it is, then you have purchased a fine timepiece. If not, you have purchased a better watch from LIV, the company dedicated to delivering Swiss timepieces that meet, and often exceed, the quality of the big brands for a whole lot less.

Some reviews of the LIV GX Divers automatic

"Had this for a couple of weeks now and it gets attention from everyone. Superbly built. Glass back is a beautiful touch. Has the quality, feel and look of a watch many times the price. Very happy indeed. Not sure which one to get next! "
- Nick A. from the U.S.
Great watch the orange colour really pops and have had loads of positive comments.you get a lot for your buck which you would normally find on high end watches 300 M, carbon bezel etc. Thanks LIV
- MICK London