There still is a strong desire for vintage-style on the watch market. Hence, there are hardly any brands that don’t offer heritage models in their collections. They meticulously follow design codes from the original models – colours, dials, straps are copied as detailed as possible and some recent models have even been reproduced almost identically.
However, only a few brands consider to preserve the original size of the watch. In the past 50 years, watches steadily became bigger. Also, most heritage models or re-editions have grown as a result of this trend – however, the human wrists remained unchanged. A trend that TUDOR did not follow with their Black Bay Fifty-Eight that was launched in 2018. And for us, they have released the best Black Bay ever.
A small step (back) for the sizing, one big leap for TUDOR. The case has been reduced from 41mm to 39mm and also from a height of 14.75mm to 11.9mm which is basically adopted from the first diving watches of the brand from the 1950s, actually from the year 1958 when the first divers watch was launched that was waterproof to 200 metres, the so called ‘Big Crown’ reference 7924. The newest version of the Black Bay is the 60-years anniversary model and dedicated to this reference.
TUDOR is the perfect entry watch brand for everyone who is looking for a reliable, solid and aesthetic watch at a very attractive price level. If you are not necessarily keen on becoming a die-hard collector, you are just right at TUDOR. And for us, the new reduced size is just another bonus. Simply because it also indirectly implies a revelation that sports watches today mostly do not have to accomplish their initial purpose, but instead are rather used as a men’s accessories. A well-proportioned diving watch also looks damn good on a man in suit. Sports watches often tend to excess a good style with their bulky cases, when not worn well-proportioned on the wrist. Or do you still go deep sea diving with your ‘Black Bay’?
Having seen the Black Bay in red, blue, black and bronze before, the anniversary model comes in black again, but refined with finishing touches in gold that have been applied to hour markers, hands and minute track of the bezel. The new in-house calibre MT5402 has been designed to fit the new smaller case and is COSC certified. The new calibre offers a power reserve of 70 hours, that however should not be necessary as you can wear the Black Bay Fifty-Eight for any occasion.
If you however need different straps for different occasions, you will have to take it off – but only to switch quickly between the three straps that TUDOR offers: a riveted stainless steel strap, a brown leather strap or a black-gold fabric strap.
By the way, the typically cornered ‘Snowflake’-hands did not appear on the original model and have only been implemented by TUDOR in 1969. Since then they have established over the decades, even though they provoke controversial feelings amongst connoisseurs.
When Hans Wilsdorf founded the Montres TUDOR SA Company in 1946, he wanted to offer mechanical, solid, aesthetic and reliable wristwatches at a more accessible price point. This is certainly still today what the brand stands for. The Black Bay Fifty-Eight steel version costs a – relatively – affordable 3.330 Euro. The version with fabric- or leather strap both cost 3.040 Euro. Keep in mind, that for this price you get first of all a mechanical, COSC certified in-house movement.