Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight Review

by Ross Povey - Jul 04 2018

Baselworld has an undisputed enfant terrible. The ‘cheeky’ younger sibling of Rolex, Tudor has always surprised and delighted in equal measure. Relaunched via the incredibly successful Heritage line in 2010, the Heritage Chrono was Tudor’s comeback hit that sent reverberations around the horological hemisphere that hasn’t stopped in any of the following eight years since. Baselworld 2012 was arguably the smash-hit with the launch of the now massive Black Bay. What began as a cool reinterpretation of the 1950s Big Crown Subs has now become a line in its own right. Red, Blue, Black, Green, Bronze, Steel, Chrono, PVD coated, GMT and dress versions – there really is a Black Bay for everyman (and woman). So surely there couldn’t be another version that collectors would covet? Could there? Step forward the Black Bay 58…


Such a easy and great size on the wrist – the new Tudor Black Bay 58

 

Big Crown Big Story

1958 was an important year for Tudor. It was the year that they produced a batch of the reference 7924 Submariner that would be delivered to the French National Navy. I’ve written about it here before, but here’s a quick recap of the relationship. The Marine Nationale played a key role in the development of the Submariner and worked alongside Tudor in a research and development capacity. The first batches of watches delivered to the MN were reference 7922 Submariners. These watches had 37mm cases without shoulders either side of the 6mm winding crown, known as ‘no crown guard Subs’, and was depth rated to 100m. The immediate feedback from divers was that the winding crown was too small and so a version of the 7922 was created with a new, bigger 8mm winding crown. This watch was more successful and so an updated watch was issued to the MN for testing – the reference 7924. This watch was actually depth rated to 200m and the main batch issued to the MN was manufactured in 1958. And it is this date that is the clue to the Black Bay 58’s name.

Vintage Vibe

The Black Bay watches are undeniably influenced by Tudor’s back catalogue, in fact they are an overt celebration of the iconic brands vintage output. The original Black Bays had stylistic attributes from the 7922 and 7924 Submariners, but the execution is in a case of much more contemporary proportions. A case diameter of 41mm with a significant case depth, give the watch a presence on the wrist that is undeniably modern and sporty. The very same issues that made the watch a huge commercial success, however, is maybe the reason that vintage collectors have been less keen. Buyers of modern sports watches want the heft and big presence on the wrist but this can often be at odds with the preference of passionate collectors of vintage watch. And it is this latter market that I believe the Black Bay 58 (BB58) will appeal to most. The shares a lot more proportion with the 7924 from 1958 and that is why we love it so much!

Comparison between the Tudor 58 below and an original 1950th Rolex 6538 Big Crown on top

 


Comparison between the 1950th Rolex 6538 Big Crown on left and new Tudor BB58 at the right

 

The first thing to note about the Black Bay 58 is the case size. Much more in line with the 1950s aesthetic, the diameter has been reduced to 39mm and the watch’s profile is noticeable thinner. I was at the launch of the watch at Baselworld this year and happened to be wearing my vintage 7924 Submariner and was able to hold them side by side for comparison. I was amazed by how faithfully Tudor have recreated the case profile when compared to an original example. The flow of the lugs and the bevels are beautiful. So cool and so easy to wear for vintage fans.

The Tudor Black Bay 58 (39 mm case) next to the Tudor Black Bay Black (41 mm  case)

Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight Review
You can see the difference in hight and size between the 2 models

Small Details

It’s the little big things (to quote Mr Drew Povey) in life and never so much more than in vintage watch collecting. Tudor have paid attention to detail in general with the Black Bay line, but even more so with the new 58. The domed sapphire crystal brings the watch alive in ways that a flat crystal cannot, an effect enhanced by the light domed profile of the dial itself. Like the Tropic 19 on a vintage Submariner, the domed crystal brings the dial alive in different lights in different angles. The pink gold surrounded hour markers dance across the dial with the flick of the wrist.



See this super domed look of the indexes, like on a cool vintage Submariner. Well done Tudor!

 

The gilt lettering is also almost 3D. Unlike vintage pieces where the text on the dial was relief printed through black gloss dials (via a galvanic printing process), the BB58 has the text printed in strong pink gold lettering that stand proud and adds a depth to the dial that brings the watch alive. The pink gold theme continues noticeably on the bezel insert; the pearl has a gold surround and the numerals and markings are now in gold. This use of a pink or rose gold makes the watch look warmer to the eye.

Clean Lines

There are other new touches that enhance the watches vintage look that are new to the BB58 too. The lug bevels are much more pronounced than on previous Black Bays. The 58’s lugs have a bezel that tapers from the outer edge right along the upper edge where it diminishes to light edge below the bezel before tapering out again to the other lug. Pure vintage bliss. I also love the fact that the crown tube, onto which the winding crown threads in now in brushed steel. Previously we have seen this tube in the same colour as the bezel insert. This subtle change to steel colour, in my mind, creates a cleaner look and is a more faithful to the vintage Big Crowns.

Strap Options

The Black Bay 58 is available on both steel bracelet, leather strap and fabric strap.  Reminiscent of military-esque nato style straps, Tudors woven straps are manufactured using centuries old techniques by French artisan weavers. Up until this year they were included with both steel and leather as an additional item, but now it is an offered variation.

The steel bracelet is of vintage inspired rivet construction. The riveted folded link bracelets that appeared on Oyster watches in the 1950s and 60s are a key look of any vintage watch and to see a similar look on the Black Bay is very cool indeed. We love it and the new slimmer case and rivet bracelet make this the perfect look for the pool this summer!

Bernhard’s Choice

“It’s not a secret i love the Tudor Black Bay and Heritage watches from Tudor. For me they are some of the nicest modern watches out there and the most watch you can get for your money. Yes i am a vintage watch lover, so these tick all my boxes. When the BB 58 came into the office and i started to shoot it, i knew even after the first image… this is the nicest one to me. I own the Black Bay Black and have proudly written about it and been wearing it on many occasions. Will never part from it.

But damm the Tudor Black Bay 58 its just perfect! Perfect size and height! So comfortable to wear and iconic on your wrist. It ticks all my vintage vibe boxes and at the same time feels contemporary. Timeless beauty for sure. The domed crystal look is a killer feature to me. This watch feels so alive on your wrist. What i miss with so many other modern watches. The iconic and clear design of the watch also makes it the perfect watch to change styles and mood in a wink of an eye. Wear it on the cool rivet bracelet, change to the super nice fabric strap,.. but also buy a few nato straps and leather straps with it and you have such endless fun with this watch. This watch is such a strap lover ;-).

To my friends at Tudor Watch i can only say ‘Chapeau’ guys, you did it again. Such a great job.”

Bulang Style

No review would be complete with our unique take on the watch. We have styled up the Black Bay 58 with some of our 20mm straps. It actually works well on any strap, but we have selected some that we believe work the best.


The Tudor Black Bay 58 combined with our M-65 Siena Brown Watch Strap Set you can find here


Combined with our Caramel Brown Leather Watch Strap you can find here



I guess this is one of our favorite summer looks. The warm patina and black matches with our Coyote Deluxe Nylon Strap you can find here


Combined with our Siena Brown Leather Watch Strap you can find here