In the five years that I have been covering watches for Square Mile, I can honestly say that Tudor has never once failed to impress with its latest releases.
Its Black Bay flagship has proven itself to be one of the designs of the past decade, with each new variation on the theme only further cementing its position as a versatile tool watch collection that knows no bounds.
The Bronze (2016) helped popularize the use of the material in the sector, the Chrono (2017) brought superior watchmaking to a more accessible price range, and the P01 (2019) showcased a little flair in the dive watch arena. In a world where plenty of brands are conservative in their approach towards new watches – and you can include big brother Rolex in that category – Tudor continues to challenge itself creatively each year.
And then there’s the Black Bay Fifty-Eight. Ask me to encapsulate Tudor’s ethos into a single watch and I’ll direct you towards this timepiece – a contemporary tool watch drawing on the designs of the past, with an in-house movement, all for a shade more than £2,500.
Over the last couple of days, there’s been murmurings among keen-eyed observers that Tudor was about to drop a new colourway for this, one of its most popular designs, and word is now officially out: the Black Bay Fifty-Eight has the blues.
The Elevator Pitch
It would be easy to reduce Tudor’s latest watch release to a simple one-liner: "The same Black Bay Fifty-Eight you know and love, but now in blue!"
To give Tudor a little more credit than that, however, this ‘Tudor blue’ has grown out of the brand’s association with the French navy, otherwise known as the Marine Nationale.
The history of the Tudor dive watch dates back to 1954 with the launch of the reference 7922, but by the late 1960s and 1970s the French navy was prolifically issuing Tudor dive watches to its officers – including a 1969 model, which featured a blue dial and bezel.
It may be a small point to make, but part of the BB58’s original charm was its deep ties to the past, so the fact this new colourway also reaches back in history should come as no surprise.
There are so many reasons to love Tudor’s slim dive watch it’s difficult to know where to start. Clocking in at 39mm x 11.9mm, the svelte case is certainly appealing to a wearer (*cough* me…) looking for something a little less robust than the rest of the Black Bay collection.
Tudor created the new MT5402 calibre in-house movement to fit inside the smaller, slimmer case, while little touches of clever watchmaking like a new silicon balance spring also help produce a chronometer-certified 70-hour power reserve and a water resistance of up to 200m.
The vintage inflections of the first BB58 iteration, including the gold-hued gilt finishing and copper numerals, step aside here in place of a slightly more contemporary blue and white colourway. There’s a couple of new straps, too, including a ‘soft touch’ synthetic strap that I particularly like. But overall this minimalist tool watch design continues to appeal at an incredibly appealing price point, with a neat link to Tudor’s past.
Expect this blue beauty to sell like the proverbial hot cake.
Add To Your Collection
Earlier this year, I wrote a lengthy feature on the genius of Tudor’s fastidious manufacturing process, stepping out of big brother Rolex’s shadow, and creating great value watches without cutting corners. It’s worth a read, if for nothing else than some further insight into how Tudor manages to make timepieces like the new Black Bay Fifty-Eight 'Navy Blue' more than the sum of their parts.
Simply put, Tudor can do no wrong at the moment – and its latest release is just the most recent in a long line of smash hits.
I’ll be keeping an eye out for what comes next, that's for sure.
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 'Navy Blue' retails at £2,760 on bracelet and £2,520 on straps. For more, see tudorwatch.com