Introducing the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight BronzeBy Ross Povey
Next year, the Black Bay will be ten years old and what a decade it’s been for this multifaceted dive watch. What began as a simple riff on the late 1950s Big Crown Submariners from Tudor’s back catalogue has become one of the most keenly sought-after watches on the market. Full size sports watch, vintage-proportioned diver, GMT, Chrono, dress watch and available in steel, ceramic, silver, gold and ceramic. There’s even a Master Chronometer in the range. It’s a cliché, but there truly is something for everybody.
The new Black Bay Fifty-Eight Bronze continues the brand’s use of bronze as a material. In Tudor’s own words, the bronze-aluminium alloy that they use is a ‘living metal’ that will patinate in tune with its wearer’s lifestyle and habits. Bronze has a storied history in naval use for those parts of ship’s or diver’s equipment that would be subject to prolonged periods of submersion in saltwater. Diver’s helmets and ships propellers are the most obvious, but also the hidden pumps and valves for seawater cooling systems on ships are also made from bronze thanks to its strength and corrosion resistance. The fact that it changes colour over time and patinates is a cool side effect and one that appeals to vintage fans, who don’t always want their watch to look shiny and new, but rather like it lived its life to the full; Born to Dare as the brand’s tagline states.
The original Black Bay Bronze was launched in 2016 and it was immediately a big hit with both collectors of old and new watches. Vintage fans were smitten with the 3-6-9 numeral dial and the way the bronze aged. It also hit the spot with modern watch buyers thanks in part to its 43mm case size. Since then, we’ve had a Bucherer Blue Edition and a slate grey dial version, with lovely graduated hue dial. For many though, the 43mm case size has always held them back but now Tudor has taken all the best bits and reimagined it in BB58 guise…and put it on a bracelet!
The new 58 Bronze takes its lead from the first iteration of the Bronze watch, with a brown dial and bezel insert. The brown graduated dial transitions from deep chocolate around the edge to an almost dusty shade at the centre. The quarter markers utilise the iconic 3, 6 and 9 applied arabic numerals with maxi markers used elsewhere, aside from the triangle at 12. The familiar snowflake hands are also present, which have become a trademark for the line as is the no-crown-guard case that is based on the original reference 7924 ‘Big Crown’ Submariner from 1958.
Aside from the case proportions, the main headline is that this watch comes on a bracelet. The most recent Black Bays in silver (925), gold (18k) and ceramic (erm…Ceramic) have all been on straps and dedicated followers have been asking about when a bracelet model will follow. Well, here it is and it’s as good looking and good quality as one might expect from the Genevan giant. The rivet construction is more than a nostalgic anachronism and is an essential part of the construction of the bracelet. The bracelet is also fitted with a new clasp with what is called T-Fit. This new feature allows the wearer to alter the length of the bracelet by 8mm quickly and without the need for any tools, so now having to add links, take them out or messing about with cocktail sticks to ease the size ‘on the go’…thank you Tudor! The BB58 Bronze also comes with another of Tudor’s signatures in the guise of a fabric strap, this time brown with a matching bronze stripe down its length.
The watch is out today and is only available through approximately 50 of Tudor’s mono-brand boutiques around the world. If you are looking for a yellow metal dive watch on a bracelet then I believe that this watch is a serious contender, especially considering the price point of CHF 4,300. If you can find one, grab it.
Movement: Manufacture calibre MT5400 with 72-hour power reserve.
Case and dial: 39mm bronze with brown graduated dial with applied 3-6-9 numerals.
Bracelet: Bronze rivet bracelet with T-Fit clasp and bronze/brown fabric strap included.
Price: USD 4,525