March Mania: The “What-If” Chronicles — H. Moser Streamliner Vs. Tudor BB58
So, March Mania is officially all said and done. Officially, being the keyword here. There were twists and turns along the way and our mighty champion, the Czapek Antarctique, threw us a few curveballs and knocked out some heavy-hitting opponents along the way. At the request of many readers, we decided to see what would have happened if any one of the closely fought contests had gone against our ultimate champion…
On the other side of the draw, the A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Lumen destroyed the competition. As such, it had been the presumptive favorite going into the final against the Czapek. The Antarctique, on the other hand, found itself in brutal back-and-forth punch-ups every single round. When it arrived in the final to face the Datograph, it did so battle-hardened and with a legion of fans. Many of those fans joined forces with the Czapek after it downed their original favorites. But what if it hadn’t?
The maybe universe
What if the Tudor Black Bay 58 — the number one seed from Jorg’s group — had prevailed? The Tudor would have faced the Moser. The winner of that would have faced the Speedmaster. Finally, the survivor from Czapek’s side of the draw would have faced off against the Lumen. Would the A Lange & Sohne Datograph Lumen have taken the crown in the end? Or, would it still lose out? I guess there’s only one way to find out…
So in our first fantasy match-up of the “what-if” chronicles, we will imagine that the match-up between the Czapek and the Tudor had gone the other way. Therefore, the mighty Moser Streamliner faces off against the Tudor BB58 Blue. An interesting match-up for sure. How will it play out? For the purposes of this battle, I will be taking up arms for Team Moser and Bobby will be putting on the livery of Team Tudor. Let the battle commence!
The H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner Vs. Tudor Black Bay 58 Blue
Dave: Well, imagine that, if the Czapek hadn’t have beaten the Tudor. What a strange world that would be! To think that the BB58, in all its boring glory, might have beaten the right honorable Antarctique — shocking! They’re not even in the same league! But, to then suggest that it stands a chance against the mighty Moser Streamliner? That’s just downright rude. The Moser Streamliner is like a fine wine, and the Tudor is a bottle of Lambrini. I hope Lambrini is a thing outside of the UK so everyone knows of my contempt for my opponent. With that in mind, I’m going to do the gentlemanly thing and allow you the honor of going first, Rob. Show me what you’ve got.
Rob: Out of respect for the Czapek, I regard the Tudor as a worthy competitor. It seems silly now, looking back on the competition and how the Antarctique caught fire and was propelled to a resounding victory on the back of its newfound fan’s enthusiasm, but the Tudor almost took it out early. Remember, the Tudor was the favorite going into this match-up. It was, after all, the number one seed. And as ridiculous a comparison as it seems on paper, March Mania taught us a lot about the way our readers look at watches and how decisions are never made as easily as you might think.
So the ridiculousness of this comparison comes from how different the watches are. One is an affordable, practical, rather neutral daily beater, and the other is luxury steel sports watch retailing for about five times the price. One is mass-produced; one is extremely limited. The Tudor has a strong modern reputation thanks to its associations with Rolex; the Czapek is the very definition of independence.
Dave: I agree that Czapek better defines independence, and that too is why it was more of a worthy competitor to Balazs’ Moser Streamliner. Moser is a brand that can better match the independent spirit of Czapek. Not many brands out there can pick apart their own history and put it back today with the same combination of seriousness and sarcasm that Moser can. Look at the Swiss Cheese Watch. Moser knows how to have fun; Tudor does not.
Rob: But simply because the Czapek is “better” in every category, it isn’t “better” for every individual. The Tudor got a lot of votes because it connects with a lot of people. The Czapek is, to most people, a fine work of art hanging on a gallery wall. It is an unobtainable grail. There is something so otherworldly about it, it is totally possible for the emotional connection to go missing. A watch in the price range of the Tudor sets many a heart racing because those hearts know that it is quite possibly within reach. The Tudor’s accessibility gives it something of a “home-field advantage”. That, I believe, is why it came so close to slaying a genuine classic.
Additionally, the way people voted was different too. We saw it explained in the comments. Some voted from a very academic perspective: which watch is the best watch? Others voted on aesthetics: “I like blue, therefore I will vote for all blue watches,” for example. We also saw some people only voting for watches they could afford. I always found that last one a bit odd, because you don’t actually have to put your money where your vote is, but it is a popular strategy for many and thus I respect it.
Dave: I have to totally agree here. In a fantasy watch sports competition, it’s fair enough to fantasize you have the money to afford all of these watches. It’a not like the writers exactly had every watch in their groups in their own collections. If I had my own group, I can say that AkriviA and Urwerk would be in the mix, and those are not watches I’ll likely be owning in this universe within the multiverse. I just voted for the watches that I felt deserved to win, for whatever reason. I had actually voted for the Czapek in the original match-up, purely because I find the movement to be mesmerizing to look at through the case back. The dial texture of the Antarctique is similarly superb.
Rob: The Tudor Black Bay 58 in blue is one of the best “value” dive watches on the market today. I believe its only real competitor to be the Omega Seamaster 300M. If we agree that the value proposition of these reputationally sound brands is legit, it really only comes down to aesthetics when you’re making your pick.
If you trawl Instagram looking for pictures of the Black Bay, you will not come away empty-handed. It is an incredibly popular watch for a very good reason: it gets better the more you look at it. It is extremely photogenic. I may prefer the warmer tones of older models, but there is no denying the BB58 in blue is, however safe, a beautiful-looking object.
Dave: I have to partly disagree with the photogenic status. From the front it does the job and is OK, I guess. It’s not offensive but it’s not exactly handsome. It’s straight to the point and business first. Take a look at that side profile. It’s one of the biggest turn-offs for me with this watch, and indeed many of Tudor’s watches. It’s a solid slab of metal. No effort was made to make this watch appear slimmer. A chamfered edge on the lower side of the case would have made a world of difference. So I have to disagree with the watch being photogenic. Any watch can be made to look half decent in a photograph with the right setup and lighting. The BB58 doesn’t exude natural beauty or excellence. This is why it cannot compete with the Streamliner.
Rob: Funnily enough, I don’t think its crazy thickness (which I’d be mad to deny) has any effect on its photogenic nature at all. In fact, it is exactly within a staged photographic environment that the Tudor sings because you can eliminate its unwieldiness on the wrist by taking it off the wrist and shooting it sympathetically. However, as thick as it is, it fits its intended bill. It can take a serious pounding. It is, therefore, a perfect everyday watch.
And since it’s going up against the Moser Streamliner, I cannot help but call out Ed Meylan’s latest and greatest creation for being the exact opposite. The Streamliner is a curvaceous beauty — a work of art. It is not a daily grinder; it is a special piece to be treasured. But is that what you want? Would you really choose the slinky sophistication of the integrated lobster bracelet over a nice, comfortable, woven NATO? I didn’t think so…
You see, the Tudor did deserve to run the Czapek close because it is many things to many people. It wasn’t a fluke it took home 46% of the vote in its last stand. It performed better, even, than the Moser did when it came face-to-face with our soon-to-be-jubilant juggernaut. And now, I predict, it will triumph in its second life. But tell me, Dave, why do you think the Moser deserves to take home the spoils?
Dave: I’ll admit that perhaps there are some merits to the watch, and perhaps it deserved to come close to beating the Czapek. But it certainly did not deserve to beat it, nor does it deserve to beat the Moser Streamliner today. The Moser Streamliner is a master of all trades. It competes with class, it’s vintage yet modern, it has a cooler-than-cool bracelet, and has a delectable movement that you can view through its display case back. Need I go on?
Rob: I wouldn’t bother going on before going back and fixing the claim it is the master of all trades, to be honest. Not exactly ripe for dirt biking, is it?
Dave: In a time where the integrated bracelet look is king, Moser has done what Moser does. It has stormed into the party and shown everyone how it’s done before sitting down in the corner to quietly admire its work. When Moser released the original Streamliner chronograph last year, I got to spend some time with it hands-on in Meister 1881 AG, Zurich. The bracelet is one of the best-made and most comfortable I have ever had the pleasure of trying on. The integration is seamless. The way the links flow into one another feels organic and so natural. It’s hard to articulate how good this bracelet is. The bracelet alone beats the Tudor BB58 Blue as far as I’m concerned.
I appreciate that the Moser Streamliner is in a different league to the BB58. I don’t mean that contemptibly (for once), as the price point makes it difficult to truly compete. For example, to compare the movements wouldn’t be fair. The Tudor’s MT5402 cannot compete with the beauty of the Agenhor movement that powers the Streamliner. It’s just a non-starter to even try, so let’s just forget that for a moment. Instead, let’s look at areas of similarity. The dial. They’re both blue, no? But instead of the boring, flat shade of blue utilised by Tudor, we see a deep, rich fume dial on the Streamliner. Moser knows how to blue, and Tudor could learn a thing or too. Yes, I have just made a color into a verb. That’s a thing now, and I know how much that will wind you up.
Rob: To be frank, that was my favorite bit of the article and made more sense than the rest of the nonsense I had to wade through to get to the bit that matters most: the vote. Let’s turn this one over to the Fratelli and see who would have won had the Czapek failed to progress. We’ll pick up the later stages once we’ve settled this little fracas fairly. Enjoy the vote!