Hands-On With The Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue
Amongst Fratello team members, we were joking around what the review of the new Black Bay Fifty-Eight could be. Watch journalist life the easy way…” This is the new Tudor Black Bay 58!!! What’s new? It’s blue. Thanks for reading!” Oh, you’re still here? Let’s find out if there is more than a color change to the story of the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue.
As soon as word came out, Tudor was releasing a new watch; the buzz was everywhere. For the brand, releasing the blue version of the Black Bay Fifty-Eight is not only a logical next step but also a smart one. The overwhelming success of the initial Black Bay Fifty-Eight has created a massive demand for more Black Bay Fifty-Eight models. And in a year where everything has been different compared to any other year, a relatively easy change of color has created the biggest hype in the watch world up until now.
My initial feelings about the navy blue Black Bay Fifty-Eight were mixed. Those mixed feelings were fed by both the release itself and the hype surrounding it. With hype also comes a lot of noise, and that distracts from what it should be about: can you find a personal connection to a watch?
In the two interactions I had with the Black Bay Fifty-Eight, I didn’t find that connection. As you can read in Mike’s article on the black Black Bay Fifty-Eight that was introduced in 2018, the combination of a smaller and thinner case than the regular Black Bay seemed very appealing. But in reality, I tried it twice on the fabric strap, and it seemed too small for my wrist.
I was disappointed as I love the looks of the watch and combined with the in-house movement and its price tag, I wanted to like it. But after spending time with it twice, I decided this was simply not the watch for me. Despite several Fratello team members owning one and a lot of enthusiasts loving the watch, for me, it was off the list of “wants”. Although chunkier, the regular Black Bay and the Black Bay GMT still are great options for me because of their bigger diameter, which seemed to be the way forward. That is until I tried on the new Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue.
The same specifications
The new Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy has the same specs as the first Black Bay Fifty-Eight. It features the same 39mm case that is 11.9mm high — including the boxed sapphire crystal — and measures 47.75mm lug to lug. The lug width is 20mm, which is perfect for mixing up straps — something a lot of the BB58 owners love to do.
The watch is water-resistant up to 200m with an excellent quality screw-down crown. I love the quality and the ease with which you can operate the crown. One of those details that will let you know it’s a product built with high quality. And a crown that doesn’t have the colored crown ring like the regular version of the Black Bay. Remember the discussion on the colored ring when the Black Bay was first released? Leaving it off the Black Bay Fifty-Eight at least hasn’t caused any heated arguments.
The Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue is also powered by the in-house produced automatic Tudor Caliber MT5402. The movement is COSC-certified, ticks at 28,800vph and has a 70-hour power reserve. Tudor calls it their medium-sized movement that is currently only used for the Fifty-Eight line. So when it comes to the specs, it is the same watch as the black version that was released two years ago. So how could the new Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue win me over, right?
Black Bay success
If anything, the color change was a move away from what I usually prefer. I naturally prefer anything black 99 percent of the time. It’s precisely why I was not that fired up like the people in Camp Blue when the rumors of a Black Bay Fifty-Eight in blue turned out to be true. Mike pretty much summed it up perfectly in his introduction article: “Tudor has now managed to captivate watch fans solely by changing a color. Ten years after Tudor embarked on a reinvention back in 2010, I’d call that a successful reinvention indeed.”
Which is entirely accurate. For a brand to be able to do that, it’s a perfect place to be in. And I have to give Tudor credit because the success of the Black Bay line has not come overnight. Ever since its introduction in 2012, Tudor has cleverly built a vast collection of Black Bay models that cater to a lot of watch enthusiasts.
The Navy Blue color
The first thing that struck me about Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue is the color blue Tudor has used for the domed, matte dial, and the aluminum insert. As many know, the color Navy Blue references the blue color for Tudor divers used by the French navy during the 1970s.
A little sidestep, Mike wrote a great article on the possible return of the Tudor Submariner. Your reactions were overwhelmingly positive, and we did ask Tudor casually whether that could be the next step for the brand when we picked up the Fifty-Eight. The answer was a heavy silence. What to make of this? Your guess is as good as ours.
Back to the Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue. I like the actual color a lot more than the pictures would have me think at first. When you wear the watch in light conditions, the blue really pops. But when the light conditions are low, the color changes into a beautiful deep blue. And the blue is different from the other Tudor models. The blue used for the Pelagos is a lot brighter, and the Midnight Blue color of the bezel inlay of the regular Black Bay (ref. M79230B) is a lot darker. I definitely suggest that you check the color in reality because it is a lot better than in pictures.
No vintage looks
The blue color is combined with the bright white Super-LumiNova used for the hands, indices, and the white numerals on the unidirectional bezel. It creates an overall aesthetic that is very crisp. It’s a nice change from the vintage looks of the black version of the watch. It makes you think how a black version with crisp white hands would look. A line-up we can see actually on the different Pelagos models. I have to say I am impressed with the crisp colors of the new Black Bay Fifty-Eight. It’s a nice break from all the vintage-inspired designs we have seen a lot of over the past couple of years.
The Soft Touch strap
Another difference compared to the initial Black Bay Fifty-Eight in black is the introduction of the blue Soft Touch strap with folding buckle and safety clasp. The strap is made from synthetic flannel-like material on the outside and faux leather on the inside. Next to that, you have the choice of the familiar stainless steel bracelet with a folding clasp or a blue fabric strap with a buckle.
Fellow Fratello team member Bert and I were able to check out the watch in all three available configurations before we took the version with the blue textile strap with us for review. The new Soft Touch strap does feel very qualitative and comfortable. And it makes the watch look very good, yes even on my wrist it works well. It’s a great option that replaces the leather strap that comes with the black version. And it’s where the seed was planted that I might have to adjust my opinion on the Black Bay Fifty-Eight.
Strap or bracelet?
The second option I tried on is the watch on the blue textile strap with a silver band. And I was back at where I left off with the black version of the Black Bay Fifty-Eight. For me, putting the Black Bay Fifty-Eight on the textile strap messes with the sizing that I need for my wrist. Besides that, the strap is rather short as I had to size it to the maximum to make it fit. I know many Black Bay Fifty-Eight owners love wearing it on the strap and more power to the people that can pull it off. For me, it’s where the watch becomes too small and loses a lot of its wrist presence.
The stainless steel bracelet, however, is the answer. First of it gives the watch more wrist presence and making it seem less small. Secondly, the bracelet also makes the watch look a lot better overall, in my opinion. As soon as I put it on my wrist, it all made sense. The stainless steel bracelet is of excellent quality and sits comfortably on your wrist. And there was the realization that so many others have had before of the Black Bay Fifty-Eight being a great watch to wear that is less bulky than its bigger brother but still maintaining that great Black Bay looks.
And the price difference? The list price of the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue is €3,430 on a bracelet and €3,140 on a Soft Touch or fabric strap. I will gladly pay the extra money for owning the watch on a stainless steel bracelet.
After wearing the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight for a week on the fabric strap for review, two thoughts stuck in my head. The first is that Tudor has added a great looking watch to the Black Bay Fifty-Eight collection. Technically it is what we know from the Black Bay Fifty-Eight in black. But the Navy Blue Black Bay Fifty-Eight has a more vibrant feel to it. I actually like the crisp aesthetic of this navy blue version better.
The second thought is that I was happy to find out that the Black Bay Fifty-Eight is a watch for me. The Black Bay Fifty-Eight on the stainless steel bracelet is an absolute winner for me. Although the Soft Touch strap is also a good option, the version with the stainless steel bracelet I would seriously consider adding to my collection.
With the introduction of the Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue, Tudor shows that what seemed a boring release is something to get excited about. The simple change in colors shows the great versatility and appeal of the Black Bay Fifty-Eight line. Add the in-house movement, the high-quality execution, and the affordable pricing, and Tudor has another absolute winner at their hands. A winner that has little competition in both price and appeal.
Find out more about the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight on the official Tudor website here.