One of the announcements at this year’s Baselworld that caught us off guard, but very happy was the first sightings of the Black Bay Fifty-Eight, a smaller version of Tudor’s popular vintage style dive watch. Critics of the original Black Bay felt it was too large and too thick, a trait that accentuates the tall slab sides of the case. Tudors appears to have addressed those points with the a new version of the Black Bay that possesses a 39mm case with an 11.9mm thickness… and they fit in their in-house movement. Black Bay critics were shushed, well, at the least the ones who didn’t feel the need to complain about the use of gold on the dial and bezel insert markers.
What’s also cool are the small details like the matte dial with gilt accents. Unlike the first generation Black Bays, this latest iteration does not have a colored crown tube, with will please traditionalists. Dive watches on leather straps are scorned by some, but in this instance the pairing really works in the looks department. Faux vintage means you can get away with the whole faux vintage look. Remember, we’re talking about watches here, no need to get too uptight on the imaginary rules of the hobby.
The new Black Bay Fifty-Eight contains the in-house MT5402 movement, which is COSC-certified and has a power reserve of about 70 hours. What we like about this new model, which should be hitting stores late summer (according to ADs we’ve spoken to), is that it provides the best esthetic attributes of a vintage Submariner (no crown guards!), yet retains the traits that make it distinctly Tudor (snowflake hands). Tudor, for the most part, can still fly under the radar in scenarios where rocking a Rollie can be considered flaunting one’s status. We, of course, don’t feel that wearing a Rolex is a signifier of wealth, but unfortunately that perception exists. With the Black Bay Fifty-Eight the owner can own a watch that wears like a traditional Sub and at the same time stand out from the Submariner crowd, which in certain situations it seems like a big crowd indeed.
Priced at $3,575 on a bracelet, this model should be very tempting for anyone thirsting for a vintage style diver with modern features. It’s definitely a very versatile offering and we think Tudor nailed the look and feel completely. For more information, visit TudorWatch.com.