Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue
Sailing in the Bay of Naples with the new Fifty-Eight.
The Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight is a case study in the watch industry. After making the Black Bay collection the brand's hero, Tudor's marketing gurus followed up by shaving a couple of millimeters off the original timepiece, creating a smaller version whose design is a nod to the brand's highly sought-after first diving watches (like the reference 7924, in this case). Tudor was smart (and quick) enough to detect a scenario where the oversized-timepiece trend was fading, and vintage-inspired smaller diving watches were beginning to become hot. Here is when the Black Bay Fifty-Eight hit the market.
Well-established brand identity and a strategy aimed at empowering the brand's pedigree among diving instruments finally placed Tudor among the hottest watch brands. The Black Bay Fifty-Eight well exemplifies the "four Ps of marketing." The response from collectors has been enthusiastic; sales volumes began to ramp up so quickly that the Black Bay Fifty-Eight, primarily when sold on the solid steel bracelet with rivets, is highly sought after, and the market price keeps growing over the suggested retail, at a steady pace. With that said, the freshly-released Navy Blue option is a welcome addition and a lovely range extender.
As soon as the rumors regarding a blue Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight began to spread on the Internet, with teasers and photoshopped timepieces popping up here and there, Google's related search volumes skyrocketed and accounted for 3,6 million results, as of today. The Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue has quickly become a "trending topic" among forum members, watch enthusiasts, and original Fifty-Eight's happy owners, including some who belong to our Club.
All this buzz, despite Tudor being late in introducing the now-mainstream blue dial option. The brand adopted a matte deep blue Pantone, setting itself apart from the competition whose blue vintage-inspired diving watches are less subtle in comparison. Such blue is darker than a Pelagos' too, which I accept, considering the saturation diving watch is sportier and geared towards a different audience. Interestingly, it is the first time I had the chance to spend enough quality time with a Fifty-Eight wrapped around my wrist, since its launch in 2018.
At 39mm, across, the case might seem too downsized for my wrist (which measures 20mm), and at first glance, it is, by listening to the first face-to-face unfiltered comments I have received, too. However, the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight is not a thin watch, and this changes the perspective. On paper, the diameter is a nod to the once-called skin divers, whereas the body's design is no doubt modern-looking. Viewing a Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight from atop, it's all about vintage flavor. The bezel is stunningly thin (I guess the thinnest in its class), the graduated inlay is all but ceramic, the dial is very sleek with no date window. From aside, the case is unquestionably modern-looking, other than helping with the oversized crown not pinching your wrist at all. To provide a full overview of how the Black Bay Fifty-Eight wears, I should also try the full steel variant.
The Navy Blue version pays homage to the original 1969 Tudor Submariner reference; they're notably different from each other, let alone the blue they're adopting, yet they share that uncommon formal balance. Also, I wouldn't be that surprised if those who're on a waiting list to get their black Black Bay Fifty-Eight would somehow shift to the newest Navy Blue sibling, which is already available at Tudor's official retailers. Kudos to Tudor's watchmakers for developing a rotating bezel whose detenting is so compliant and pleasant to listen to; it adds up to enhanced perceived quality. In an age where we're buying luxury products rather than timing instruments or tool watches, the "touch and feel" session is the first enabler in turning a prospect into a happy buyer.
Tudor adopts on the Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue a fabric strap crafted, as per the brand's tradition, by Julien Faure. It is a Saint-Etienne based manufacturer whose straps are woven by using old-school wood-made sewing machines, whose end quality and refinement are top-notch and unparalleled. Tudor was the first-ever luxury watch brand to partner with this 150-old company whose approach to making straps is boutique. The new Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue comes standard with other straps like, for example, a soft-touch synthetic leather strap or a steel bracelet with rivets. I would also add a rubber strap to easily allow the wearer to use the watch during the summer. Is there any Julien Faure's sibling among rubber straps' producers?
Under the hood, you'll find the manufacture caliber MT 5402 (MT stands for Manufacture Tudor), capable of running the timepiece for at least seventy hours, when fully wound. It is a Chronometer certified mechanical movement, designed to offer timing precision and robustness, as proven by the double-fastening balance bridge. Conversely, I believe Tudor Watch should move forward and provide a full timepiece in-house certification anytime soon.
What I like to stress instead is that the brand now offers a five-year warranty (something we spotted when writing our guide of the Tudor Black Bay), a plus that places Tudor way ahead of the competition in its class. Also, by reading the specs sheet, you'll notice how Tudor underlines that no registration process is needed to access the extended warranty, something that looks like a jab to those premium brands whose extended warranty is guaranteed by applying to a registration process only. The Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue retails for 3,500 Euros with the bracelet, and 3,200 Euros either on blue "soft touch" strap or fabric strap with pin buckle. For more information, please visit: www.tudorwatch.com.
(Photo credit: Marco Antinori for Horbiter® )
Gaetano C @Horbiter®