Tudor, the sister-brand and in fact the one and only subsidiary of Rolex, has introduced numerous hot novelties at Baselworld 2018, including this new piece officially called Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight. Where the Fifty-Eight stands out is in its size, proportions and new movement, all painstakingly designed to make it into a somewhat smaller alternative to the brand’s best-seller Black Bay collection’s current pieces.
“The Essence of Black Bay” is how Tudor refers to this new-for-2018 variant, and it is easy to see why: it is a close tribute to the so-called “Oyster-Prince,” the first diver’s watch of Tudor from 1958. With its three-link bracelet, gracefully curved lugs, somewhat “oversized” crown, red triangle pip on its diver’s bezel, and the beautiful combination of gold and black on its highly legible dial, all these important and much-loved details have been carried on and refined in this new model.
Crucially, what is new in this Black Bay model is its size: at 39 millimeters wide, the Fifty-Eight is trimmed down a few millimeters from its larger counterparts in the collection, rendering this novelty that much more classic in its proportions. Notably, the smaller case size changes some vital proportions in a watch’s appearance: the way the thickness of the bezel, the diameter of the dial and the length of the lugs go together deeply affects the aesthetics and wearability of every timepiece – and Tudor, clearly, has a deep understanding of these delicate matters.
As such, the new Black Bay Fifty-Eight stuns its wearer and all onlookers with a narrower dial, comparably wider bezel and elegantly curved and beautifully beveled lugs. The end result is a divers’ watch that is as elegant as it is capable. Water resistance of the 39mm case is 200 meters (i.e. 600 feet), which is more than enough for any real-world use scenario.
The new Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight comes in three different configurations: one on a woven black fabric strap with a gold-colored band and buckle, one on a brown leather strap with a Tudor folding clasp and safety hatch, and one on a riveted steel bracelet with polished and satin finished surfaces.
Another new feature of the Fifty-Eight that is closely linked to the smaller size is a new movement: the Tudor MT5402 manufacture caliber has been freshly developed by Tudor to fit the smaller case of this new model. The MT5402 is 26 millimeters wide and just 4.99 millimeters thick, runs at a modern 4Hz frequency for great precision and has a new, extended power reserve of approximately 70 hours or nearly three days.
The longer power reserve is a most welcome feature as it allows the Black Bay Fifty-Eight to last an entire weekend – should you wish to go through a weekend with a watch on once in a while, you can expect to pick up your Fifty-Eight still ticking and keeping accurate time on Monday morning. The longer power reserve should also aid with greater timekeeping precision in the long run, as weaker movements with shorter power reserves spend more of their time in a range where the mainspring is powering the watch with a lower torque, hence accepting chronometrical performance. All Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight come with an official Swiss Chronometer Certification from COSC, the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing
In summary, the new Fifty-Eight is a beautiful, elegant, albeit no less sporty take on the famed and successful Black Bay collection – something that is destined to be a success with fans of the brand and versatile dive watches at large.