The Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925: A Silver Bullet Straight To The Heart
Let’s not ask why Tudor thought is it was a good idea to make a diver’s watch in silver. Let’s not try to explain the silver case from a historical or instrumental viewpoint. I don’t think I can. Can you? I don’t think anyone can. But when you look at it with an open mind, things are becoming easier and clearer. Because the Silver Bullet that is the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925, is a watch that sweeps in under the functionality radar and aims to strike at the heart of the watch lover. Let’s find out if this Tudor hit the bullseye.
Silver is a strange and specific choice when it comes to creating a watch that is, at its core, an instrument for divers. Silver is a relatively soft alloy that also tarnishes. Also, silver is more expensive than steel or titanium, but way cheaper than white gold or platinum. In other words, it falls somewhere in the middle, and it doesn’t seem to have very much going for itself to be the chosen material for a watch case. Still, Tudor has another view on the matter. And that resulted in the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925: a silver bullet straight to the heart
The Silver Bullet
Although I started this article by saying that I don’t want to ask Tudor why they decided to build a retro diver’s watch with a silver case, I still did. I didn’t want to ask because I kind of knew the answer would not be satisfactory. And the answer I got proved me right. Tudor (like Rolex) does what it does because it wants to do it. So if the brand wants to create a silver watch, it does so. It’s “the Rolex way”. That says it all.
One peek at your grandma’s silverware turned all black, proves that silver oxidizes.
But I also wanted to know the thinking behind the open case back? Did that have to do with the idea that wearing silver on the wrist is a bit like wearing a bronze watch on the wrist? For wearability reasons, a bronze watch is almost always equipped with either a titanium or a sapphire case back. One peek at your grandma’s silverware turned all black, proves that silver oxidizes. But during the presentation, Tudor proudly stated that its alloy of 92.5% silver and 7.5% other/classified metals, would not corrode in any way for the next one million years.
Isn’t that alloy also fully safe to wear directly on the wrist, then? In any case, both the gold Fifty-Eight 18-karat and the silver Fifty-Eight 925 come fitted with sapphire case backs. And I really want to know why that is. Does the uptick in material luxury demand a more luxury case back visage? What do you think?
How to look good behind glass
I did wonder whether cost played a factor here. For the 18-karat version that makes a fair bit of sense, but it seems less likely to be the case when it comes to the silver model. Consequently, I settled on this explanation: Tudor wanted to present a solid-gold talking piece in the Black Bay family — the most expensive Tudor in the history of the brand — but wanted to keep the cost in some way affordable. A sapphire case back seems like an upgrade in some ways, but, in this instance, was a savvy cost-cutting measure.
As such, the movement needed a bit of a brush-up so it could handle being on display. The in-house caliber MT5402 of the Fifty-Eight range was outfitted with a bigger, case-fitting base plate and rechristened the MT5400. And since this new movement was now available, why why not use it in another new Fifty-Eight family member? But what was that reason? Duly, I investigated…
I got my answer, well, AN answer anyway
I got an answer from Tudor. Was I right? No, of course not. To cut a long answer short, Tudor said it wanted to put its craftsmanship in the spotlight and bring its tool watch heritage together with the exclusivity of an elegant manufacture timepiece. Tudor also said something about the fact that diving watches normally don’t have a display back. Perhaps in theory that is true, but we all know that isn’t necessarily the case in this day and age. Anyway, nothing about allergies or cost. With the thinking behind the watch covered, let’s dig into the Fifty-Eight 925 on the wrist.
Unusual but not unique
The final product has a lot of going for it. Silver is unusual but not unique. Cartier made silver watches in the past and I can also remember the Van Der Bauwede creations in a silver “tonneau” case and a grill on the front. But as far as current collections are concerned, Tudor is one of the only high-end manufacturers with a silver-cased watch on offer. It is especially rare and interesting in this price segment and within the genre of tool watches. However. the silver Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925 (39×12.7mm wide, 47mm lug-to-lug) looks anything but odd or spectacularly different on the wrist.
… a brownish gray or grayish brown color depending on the light hitting the watch …
The color and tone of both the brushed silver case and the taupe dial and bezel paint a soft shimmering picture that is quite charismatic. Maybe it’s the taupe dial and bezel. By the way, do you know what taupe is? “Taupe” is the French word for mole. So taupe is the color of the mole. It’s a brownish-gray or grayish-brown color depending on the light hitting the watch and/or the color of the clothes you’re wearing. It matches the slightly warmer-than-steel shade of the silver.
Catching a glimpse
You could call the Fifty-Eight 925 a soothing watch. It’s so easy on the eye and the wrist. The one I tried for a couple of days was fitted with a fabric strap. It is not a real NATO strap because it’s held in place by a solid connection with the spring bars, but the open case back is still covered by the fabric. Unless you have your tools close at hand, you will never properly see the movement. You can only catch a small glimpse. That said, there’s also a leather strap available that shows the see-through case back. Both versions have a 925 pin buckle, which is a very much appreciated addition. Both the fabric and the leather versions cost €4,080.
The thin fabric strap can only just manage the weight of the watch.
The silver Black bay on a fabric strap tipped 90g on the Fratello Watches HQ scales — not too light and not too heavy. The thin fabric strap can only just manage the weight of the watch. I like wearing a watch quite tightly — I don’t like too much movement on the wrist. And in my case, this works well. But if you want things a bit looser, the weight of the watch starts to distort the shape of the strap, thus affecting the way it sits on the wrist.
Tudor’s fabric straps are adjustable, so bear that in mind when trying them on. The idea is that you can achieve a really perfect fit once you’ve set the strap up correctly. However, despite the fact, the buckle can be moved (check out the below video to see how you can quickly do it yourself), I still find these straps to be a little bit short at their maximum extension.
I have a medium-sized wrist, and the strap fit with one hole left. I can live with that, but I doubt I will get away with gaining much weight. Bigger guys (standing taller than my (Dutch) average1.83m) might have some difficulty putting it on. Assuming it fits your wrist, however, I must say these straps are exceptionally comfortable against the skin. The quality and finishing of these straps from the French company Faure are on point. The end of the strap shows some clever stitching that prevents the nylon from unraveling.
The Silver Bullet that is the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925: final thoughts
You can look at the Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925 from a practical/instrumental/historical standpoint or an aesthetical one. I have chosen the latter. Because of the answers I got back from Tudor and based on the fact that a silver diver’s watch doesn’t make much logical sense. But from a design viewpoint silver and taupe DO make sense. The silver Fifty-Eight 925 is a silent stunner with its shimmering luster. The dimensions are spot-on. Taupe doesn’t only work well as the color of your bedroom wall, it works wonders as a dial and bezel as well. The vintage-inspired domed sapphire crystal also adds to the overall “softness” of the watch.
… why would you try to rationalize everything you feel and love?
So, did the Silver Bullet that is the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925, strike my heart? Yes, it did. Not because it makes sense, on the contrary, it hit my sweet spot but because it really doesn’t. It’s a watch you want to look at and touch even more because the silver and the color invite you to do so. It just looks and feels right. And why would you try to rationalize everything you feel and love? You would kill the magic, close your heart, become a bitter person. And I can definitely feel the mysterious magic powers of Tudor’s “Silver Bullet”. Find out more about the many Black Bay variants on Tudor’s website.
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