The latest take on the fan favourite Fifty-Eight is already available, and already a hit.
Black Bay Backstory
Tudor has just announced the Black Bay Fifty-Eight ‘Navy Blue’, and it’s shaping up to be one of the most popular watches of the year. But before we dive into the details that make this latest version, let’s take a quick trip back to Baselworld 2012, and the release of the original, burgundy-bezelled Tudor Heritage Black Bay. It was this watch, inspired by the brand’s historic dive watches, but in a modern 41mm case size, that pushed the retro-reissue into the mainstream. In the years since that initial release, the Black Bay collection has grown. Blue, black, bronze and more have joined the family — even a GMT and a chronograph. But it was the Black Bay Fifty-Eight — released in 2018 — with its scaled-back proportions of 39mm across and 11.9mm tall that got people excited. A rich black dial with golden ‘gilt’ details, inspired by a reference 7924 Tudor Submariner from 1958 ensured that it became an instant hit.
Fast forward to 2020 and the latest in this long line of Tudor sports watches is the Black Bay Fifty-Eight ‘Navy Blue’. If the flood of images on Instagram is any indication, it’s an instant hit. On the surface, it doesn’t deviate too much from the tried-and-true Black Bay formula, which is a very good thing. The case, as mentioned, is 39mm across and not too tall. It’s a watch with plenty of presence — after all, we’re talking about one of the all-time great sports watches here — and it will look great on a wide range of wrists.
With its smaller case and slightly more refined lines, I like to think Fifty-Eight as the evolution of the original Black Bay.
On the wrist, it feels a lot like a vintage Tudor Submariner, except it’s an entirely new watch, good for 200 metres of water resistance and with Tudor’s impressive in-house MT5402 calibre inside. This chronometer-certified movement is equipped with an anti-magnetic silicon balance spring, a free-sprung, adjustable mass balance.
With 70 hours of power reserve, meaning that should you take it off over the weekend, it will be happily ticking away for you come Monday morning.
Image courtesy of TUDOR
New and Blue
So what’s different about this new model? Well, let’s start with the obvious — it’s blue. The navy blue aluminium bezel and matching matt dial are inspired by watches supplied to the French Navy, also known as the Marine Nationale (or MN). It’s appropriate that this is the ‘Navy Blue’ model, the shade used will look good with anything, but in certain lights, it takes on a softer and paler tone, reminiscent of those world-worn MN Submariners.
The other feature this Black Bay Fifty-Eight shares with the classic Tudors is the distinctive ‘snowflake’ hands, a detail that has become the defining feature of the Black Bay line.
They look as good here as they ever have. The silver dial printing and large markers filled with grade A Super-Luminova add an element of icy crispness (not to mention low light legibility) to this Black Bay that’s in direct contrast to the warm golden tones of the black-dialled version. As with all the Black Bays, this new Fifty-Eight is offered on a range of strap options. There’s the steel ‘rivet’ style bracelet, which will undoubtedly be a popular choice. Then there’s the woven blue fabric strap, with a central silver stripe. Tudor has been using these straps, woven in France, for 10 years now, and they’re outstanding quality. The final option, the blue ‘soft touch’ strap, is something new. It looks like leather, with white contrast stitching, but it’s actually a synthetic material with a suede-like look.
That covers off the nuts and bolts of the new Black Bay, but what is it like on the wrist?
Well, it wears incredibly well and plays nicely in formal or casual settings. It’s not too dainty or too large.
Tudor’s finishes are superb: the bezel is as crisp as the polished bevels on the lugs. And while it’s a vintage-inspired design, it isn’t stuck in the past and feels current and relevant today. So whether you’re looking to add another watch to the collection, or one watch that can do it all, the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight ‘Navy Blue’ is a great contender. And once you factor in Tudor’s five year warranty, that offering becomes that little bit more compelling.