When you think of dive watches, you’re probably thinking of something like the Rolex Submariner. But it seems Rolex’s sister company Tudor has been making a fair deal of noise with its Black Bay series. The one model that’s been making the most buzz lately is the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight model.
The Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight is a gem in more ways than one, which is what we are going to cover in this article.
History of Tudor Black Bay
In 1946 a subsidiary of Rolex was created by the late founder of Rolex Hans Wilsdorf. That company is the Tudor Watch Company that focused on creating high-quality timepieces at affordable prices. And after 1960, Wilsdorf’s company the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation has controlled the production of both Rolex and Tudor.
For nearly half a century, Tudor was considered the underdog should the more accomplished and renowned Rolex line-up. This was evident as Tudor has been using the “Submariner” model name from 1954. However, years of being under its bigger sibling’s shadow, Tudor ultimately halted production in 1999.
It looked as if Tudor’s days of playing second-best to Rolex were numbered for nearly 12 to 13 years, until 2012. This was the year that Tudor had introduced the Heritage Black Bay. At that time, it was just one watch, but then in the last 8 years, it was a family of watches. While it wasn’t based on any reference number, it was a stunning tribute to the Tudor dive watches during the mid-century.
The Black Bay series not only revived Tudor from obscurity but also give it its own identity away from the Tudor Submariner. That’s when we eventually got the Black Bay Fifty-Eight.
The Black Bay Fifty-Eight is the one that many deem to be the ideal rival to the Rolex Submariner. If you think we’re just hopeless fanboys who don’t know a thing about watches, then this article will prove you wrong.
Why The Tudor Black Bay Is The Perfect Watch
We’re going to come out straight and let you know that the title isn’t an exaggeration or a hyperbole either. Here’s why we think the Tudor Black Bay is the ideal watch that everyone and anyone is looking for:
Tudor Black Bay Case
Most in the timepiece community consider 39 mm to be the ideal diameter case size for a watch. Fortunately, the stainless-steel case Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight model is exactly that size. The bezel is 39.5 mm and hangs over the case .5 mm.
It’s also 11.9 mm thick, making it nearly 3 mm thinner and 2 mm smaller in diameter than the Heritage Black Bay models. It might not sound like it, but with a watch like this, that difference is felt outright. That difference is also better felt when the user puts the watch on.
What’s interesting about the size, is that it’s reminiscent of a vintage Tudor Submariner, and also has the details to back it up. The lack of crown guards is what boosted my interest in the watch along with the case’s thick bevels. The lug bevels that had defined the Rolex GMT Master and Submariner came with the Black Bay Fifty-Eight. The bevels gave this watch excellent visual definition along with a touch of vintage.
Made from 316L steel, the same one that Rolex used for their steel watches until switching over to the 904L alloy. The top portion of the lugs is finished in satin, where is the slides are polished. Another interesting bit is that the case lugs are beveled, which Rolex no longer provides.
Tudor Black Bay Dial
With the right lighting, help you see the matte “flesh” elements in the dial’s finish that the older, popular vintage pieces came with. The dial is domed, and we can pretty much see that when viewing it from the edge.
The handset is clearly a call back to the Snowflake models from 1969. The gold-on-black style printing is identical to the galvanic dials from those vintage watches.
The depth rating, the Tudor logo, the chapter ring, and the bezel markings were in a warm hue of gold. Although the brand describes it as “pink gold” markings, we found them to look warmer yellow, but that could be us.
The rotating bezel’s red triangle brings back memories of the first generation of Tudor watches that were 200m water-resistant. This is what helped the Big Crown model got its recognition and is now being used with this Tudor Black Bay bezel today.
Tudor Black Bay Movement
Tudor had their robust caliber MT5602 movement redesigned for a better fit with this smaller case. With it, we got the brand new caliber comedy MT 5402. What’s amazing is that has the same technical specs as its older sibling with a whole lot of goodies to it.
Here are the following features of the MT5402 caliber:
- Silicon hairspring
- COSC-certified chronometer will the 70-hour power reserve
- 27 joules
- Free-sprung balance
- A bi-directional winding rotor
- A frequency of 28,800 BPH
All of this despite being smaller in size.
Tudor Black Bay Bracelet
Finally, to complete the overall throwback to Tudor’s vintage line-up was the rivet bracelet that came with the Black Bay line-up in 2016. But you can also swap this bracelet with a brown leather calfskin strap or a black wrap fabric strap that looks equally as good.
The Tudor Black Bay bracelet is 20 mm at the lugs which can taper down to 16 mm. Every link comes with sides that are rivet-plated with removable links coming off one rivet for a screw bar.
Tudor Black Bay Conclusion
After more than a month of wearing this watch, we’ve come to the conclusion that we can’t get enough of it. And this only further proves that the Tudor Black Bay series is a force to be reckoned with. It’s hard to argue that the Black Bay Fifty-Eight looks and feels like a classic Submariner.