At Baselworld 2018, Tudor showed us a number of new watches. There’s a new Black Bay GMT with a Pepsi-esque bezel that we will cover shortly, but the watch that stood out to our team was a bit of a surprise: the new Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight.
To be honest, the proliferation of the Black Bay lineup since its introduction in 2012 has been nothing short of voluminous. There are models with dates, without dates, bi-color, PVD, bronze, and even a chronograph that debuted last year. So, this year, when the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight showed up on the screen during the annual press conference, we assumed that the model was nothing more than a color variant using an existing case and movement. Clearly, we were wrong and what we actually saw just might be the most worthwhile Black Bay on the market.
We were given some history by the brand that explained how in 1958, the first Tudor Submariner was released. Much like its Rolex brethren, the watch had no crown guards, contained a gilt dial, and a red triangle at 12:00 on the bezel. The reference 7924, as it was called, was around for a very short time and these watches can command 6-figures today. With the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight, the brand looks to channel at least some of the original styling, but in an all-new case and using an all new movement.
Versus the typical 41mm Black Bay case, the new Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight comes in at 39mm. More importantly, though, the thickness drops by a substantial amount. While I didn’t have my calipers with me, the change is significant and it addresses a bit of a show stopping point for me on the other, thicker case. If you want to know how it wears, the best comparison I can make is a compelling one; it wears like the Rolex Submariner 14060M (or anything prior to the blocky cases we’ve seen since the current models).
Ostensibly, the brand was able to achieve this via the use of a new movement, the in-house MT5402. This is a slimmer automatic movement that’s 26mm in diameter, has a 70-hour power reserve, runs at 28,800 bph, contains a non-magnetic silicone balance spring, and is chronometer certified. In this configuration, thankfully, there’s no date complication. Water resistance is maintained at 200M.
Moving to the dial, the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight brings a gilt look to a matte black background. The hands, applied indices and writing are all cast in the familiar gold color. The same goes for the numbers and hash marks on the aluminum inlay bezel. Frankly, there’s nothing groundbreaking dial-wise, but it’s as attractive and wearable as it was nearly 7 years ago. Some other welcome changes are the removal of the colored crown tube and the inclusion of an embossed Tudor Rose on the crown itself.
The Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight is available on a riveted oyster style bracelet at 3400 CHF, a brown leather strap with folding clasp at 3100 CHF, or a fabric strap at 3100 CHF. At this price, it’s a convincing release. If our Instagram post with this watch is of any indication, the slimmer case and older feel will strike a chord with a lot of buyers who have been waiting for their concerns to be addressed. For my money, this just might be the best watch in the brand’s portfolio.
For more information and pricing, head to the Tudor site.