Steel screw-down winding crown, with the TUDOR rose in relief
£2,500 - 2,800
For over a decade, classic and vintage designs have been the inspiration and theme behind a lot of product designs. Majority of brands, from the smallest businesses to the biggest ones, have been referencing their past and applying it as a testimonial to make new models. No doubt, strong foundations make us feel confident, but they must be part of our narrative.
Yet, as usual, some can record successes with the vintage designs that others aren’t able to. During this trend, a brand that has managed to hold its own, garnering deserved respect during the process is – Tudor. The company has achieved a highly-impressive following as a result of their Heritage collection when they rode the trend. Every accomplishment has a backstory, and here, it must be integrated with classic details into a contemporary package and not just a replica of the past.
Tudor launched again in the late 2000s and since then, has not shied away from its heritage. The brand is now well associated with vintage inspirations and themes, not forgetting the Tudor Heritage Black Bay, launched in 2012 at Basel World. This is currently the brand’s best-seller and pays homage to the Rolex Submariner timepieces through the 1950s to the 1970s. Nevertheless, the Black Bay uses features of various references and combines them into a wholesome modern, casual and top-notch package. The design was a welcome tribute to the classic tool watch of yore (the unique screw-down big crown was highly-praised among watch collectors and connoisseurs) while still adding modern design features such as the new bracelet and a robust dial.
There is a Black Bay made for everyone. For a while, Tudor has produced a variant of timepieces under one collection that interests several areas of the market. The Black Bay Fifty Eight coming in only one size and two dial colours keeps it very simple this time. Simply, it is for those who know what they like and want to pay homage to the great watch craftsmanship over the last few decades. The watch is a sincere homage to the watchmaker’s first diver’s timepiece presented in 1958 (hence the name). It was a remote and uncomplicated period when tool watches followed the ideologies of form and function and were used for their designed objective.
The Black Bay Fifty eight has a matte-black dial with an eloquent surface. This stays true to the classic appearance that the Fifty Eight is striving to realize. This is specifically considerate as all early dive watches from Rolex and Tudor (including that released in 1958) have matte dials. It still features the revealing Submariner-style hour markers made of lume-filled, rose gold appliqués. The luminous material is in a colour that makes it look old and vintage, also called faux patina.
Around the perimeter of the dial is a sealed index of hash marks for the minutes/seconds presented in a faux-rose gold print. In the middle, the logo is below twelve o’clock and the depth rating plus chronometer text is above six o’clock. The snowflake hour-hand has become standard on the Black Bay line, so it’s not surprising that the Fifty Eight got it as well.
The snowflake hands are a choice of preference, as not everyone seems to like them, but regardless they do have an important link to Tudor’s history. For this reason, they are very much relevant on a timepiece like the Fifty Eight. The hands are completed in polished rose gold.
At the very bottom of the dial, there is the “Swiss Made” text, which can be hard to see from some angles because of the domed glass. The matte black dial against the rose gold hands with lume always makes it easy to read the time on the Tudor Black Bay Fifty Eight.
The Black Bay Fifty-Eight has a 39 mm diameter stainless steel case (the bezel is 39.5 mm and hangs over the case .5 mm). It is the smallest Black Bay and has a one-directional bezel provided to date. The thickness of the case has notably decreased, compared to the usual full-sized 41 mm Black Bays. With a thickness of just 12 mm, the new Fifty-Eight’s slim size is one of its most compensating features.
The Fifty-Eight case measures 47.5 mm lug-to-lug. The crown is still the screw-down type with double gaskets. It is notably smaller at 6.5 mm. Despite the small crown, it is easy to control the locking mechanism, set the time, or manually wind it. Its water-resistance remains at 200 meters. The Black Bay Fifty-Eight has a very solid 60-click one-directional stainless steel bezel with matte-black insert, and a very obvious button on twelve o’clock to let you sense that you have reached the reset position.
One of the best elements of the Black Bay line, in general, is the satin-brushed top of the case and lugs, contrasted by bevelled polished edges and filly polished flanks, and this watch is impartial in that aspect. The general thickness is shared more evenly among the case-back, mid-case, bezel, and crystal.
The Tudor Black Bay Fifty Eight uses an in-house movement called the MT5402. This calibre has identical technical features as its bigger, older version, the MT5602 which is installed in the BB41s. The movement is a COSC-certified chronometer with a 70-hour power reserve, silicon hairspring, free-spring balance, and 27 jewels.
The calibre vibrates at 28,800bph and uses a bidirectional rotor. The main distinction between this and the Black Bay 41 Calibre is the size, and this implies that tactful approaches must be applied when constructing and handling it. The movement measures 26 x 4.99 millimetres, as to the old calibre which measured 31.8 x 6.5 millimetres.
Of course, the Tudor Fifty Eight is appreciated by a lot of people, as it sits much slimmer and discreet on the wrist. The strap options are rivet steel bracelet, aged leather strap, brown leather strap, burgundy fabric strap, black fabric strap, and black textile strap with golden stitching.
These are adjustable making the Fifty Eight a very comfortable watch on the wrist, you would commonly assume a watch of this size might be too snug, but with adjustable lugs on the stainless steel strap between 20mm and 16mm, it is certainly a ‘one size’ fits all.
Tudor has priced this new edition to the Black Bay family at a reasonable level. In line with other similar variants in the collection, the price of this timepiece starts at around £2,500 (€2770 or $3110) for the fabric and leather strap options. This increases slightly to around £2,800 (€3100 or $3490) for the stainless steel strap variant.
In all, we believe the price accurately reflects the reliability, heritage and long-standing similarities between the brand its older brother Rolex. Some might say you are wearing a Rolex (just without the somewhat hefty price-tag). It is available at selected retailers.
Review: Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight
With the uncertainties surrounding 2020, TUDOR has been certain with the Black-Bay Fifty-Eight. Powered by a reliable automatic movement, the luminescent hands and hour markers provide optimum visibility. They have focused on optimisation by equipping it with an impressive 70-hour power reserve with water resistant to 200 metres. At this price, it is a no-brainer to add to your collection.