The Black Bay Fifty-Eight is one of the most well-regarded watch lines from Tudor and has always been influenced by the watch that helped to put the brand on the map back in 1958. Watches & Wonders delivers yet again with the announcement of two new versions of the iconic timepiece: one in 18k gold, the other in 925 silver.
Both watches owe their vintage 39mm sizing to the original Ref. 7924 from the 50s and aesthetically follow the trend of previous Black Bays including the signature ‘Snowflake’ hands that were added in the late 60s. Where they innovate is with the case materials and new open case back.
Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925
The 925 is the more intriguing of the two as it features multiple firsts for the brand. It’s the first-time silver has been used on any of their divers and it’s a great look with an understated matte finish to the semi-precious metal. Combined with the taupe dial, a particular shade of warm grey or cool brown depending on who you ask, the overall look is muted and faintly washed-out, emphasising the vintage charm perfectly.
But while it might look vintage, its performance specs are entirely modern. It has 200m water resistance, supported by the screw-down crown and domed sapphire crystal, sure plenty of divers out there have 300m resistance but in reality, 200 is more than enough for the average dive. It’s also more impressive given the fact that this is the first diver from Tudor to feature an open case back, a feature that can impact a watch’s durability and wearability when underwater.
The new case back is a nice addition to the range and shows off the Calibre MT5400 a little and why not, it’s a nice movement. It has all the finishing you’d expect from Tudor including sandblasting, polishing and laser details, maybe a little uninteresting but it’s cool that we get to see it. Then there’s the added benefit of being COSC certified with a 70-hour power reserve making it robust and gives you enough time to forget about it for a weekend and still have power for Monday morning.
Black Bay Fifty-Eight 18K
The new case back can also be found on the Black Bay Fifty-Eight 18k version, which swaps out the taupe and silver for a green dial / bezel combo and a gold case. Like the 925, the 18k has a matt, satin-finish, a lot more subtle than the polished alternative. While the use of gold for this watch is technically a first, it is strongly reminiscent of previous Black Bays like the Bronze. Just you know, more expensive.
The gold has been paired with a ‘golden green’ colour on the dial and unidirectional rotating bezel. Green has been a colour rising in prominence in watchmaking over the past few years and I’m afraid to say that this shade doesn’t really stand out, it somehow lacks the vibrancy of the Montblanc 1858 Lime Gold that follows the same colour scheme or the subtlety of the new Nautilus 5711. It’s nice enough but not outstanding.
They’re both interesting variations on the much-loved Black Bay Fifty-Eight and even if I prefer the 925 for its silvery vintage charm, I wouldn’t be disappointed with the 18k either. Ultimately these releases are the introduction of some new case materials and a new case back to a watch that’s already super popular and will undoubtedly sell well. However, a few tweaks can go a long way and I look forward to seeing where they’ll take the Black Bay next.
Price & Specs:
Model: Tudor Black Bay Fifty Eight 925 & 18K
Ref: 79010SG (925 silver, taupe dial)
79018V (18k yellow gold, green dial)
Case/Dial: 39mm diameter, 925 silver or 18k yellow gold
Movement: In-house Calibre MT5400, automatic, 27 jewels, Swiss chronometer officially certified by COSC
Water Resistance: 200m (20 bar)
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power Reserve: 70h
Functions: Hour, minutes, seconds, stop-seconds for precise time setting
Strap: Brown grain leather or taupe fabric (79010SG), dark brown alligator with additional green fabric strap (79018V)
Price/Availability: £3,230 (79010SG) and £12,610 (79018V)
More details at Tudor.