In the first of a series by guest writers, well-known Tudor collector Paul Russell shares his thoughts on the Tudor Black Bay 58 Navy Blue.
I read all the reviews and watched all the videos when the Black Bay 58 was released back in 2019 and then I was even more intrigued when the blue version was released last summer. My main take-away was that Tudor listens to the collectors. Having slimmed down the case size from the original Black Bay, the 58 was now much more in keeping with vintage models such as the 7016, 7021, 9401 and 9411 snowflakes from the 1970s and 80s. I have for a long time been a vintage Tudor Collector and a huge fan of the Tudor signature snowflake dial and hand layout. I am also fortunate enough to have an original mid 1970’s Army issued reference 9401, the so-called ‘Hybrid’, which collectors refer to as the original Black Bay that has snowflake hands and round hour markers. As a vintage collector, I was still very sceptical and really didn’t believe that a modern watch could be that good. Here is a summary of the first week on the wrist with my new BB58.
I took the plunge and bought the BB58 blue (ref. 79030B) with a rivet bracelet from the amazing C H Moody & Son. To be honest, it was the first new watch I had bought for a very long time and I had forgotten that feeling of being the first owner and the thrill of the un-boxing. I would like to thank Carl, David and their team for making this a special experience.
Taking this shiny new toy out its box was as pleasurable as I hoped it would be. My first impression was the striking but subtle blue tones to the dial and bezel insert. As soon as I saw it, I realised that Tudor had actually based these colours on the vintage examples that I know and love so well. The two blue tones really do change in different light, almost looking black in dim light and electric blue in sunlight.
The nods to vintage style continued with the classic bevelled lugs, no crown guard and domed crystal which have always been a favourite of mine.
The saw tooth vintage bezel has been replaced with a straight sided coin edge uni-directional alternative which has a satisfying and accurate click. First impressions were that it looked difficult to turn, but unlike the old push and turn bezel, this one was easy to rotate.
The “Rivet” bracelet had come in for a lot of criticism since it was released last summer with some not liking the faux rivet effect. Personally, I think it looks great and wears very comfortably.
On the wrist and under the cuff it felt very familiar and not as chunky as I thought it might be. The case has indeed been slimmed down both in diameter and thickness from the original Black Bay, but I thought it still looked chunkier than I would have liked. So, I had to compare new with old and do a direct comparison with my blue 9411 snowflake from the late 1970’s.
The case of the BB58 is thicker than the vintage model, however the overall depth from the surface of the crystal to the casebook is almost identical to the Snowflake. The thinner case of the Snowflake has a deeper case back and more pronounced “Top Hat” crystal.
The traditional slightly overhanging bezel on the snowflake has the same diameter as the BB58 case with its straight sided bezel and the lug-to-lug dimensions are the same and both have the classic 20mm lug width. I’m sure it’s not just me, but from the start of the week it felt that the watch wasn’t on my wrist. That is not to say the watch is light, it just felt good right from the start!
The lume on the hands, dial and insert pip has a wonderful no nonsense green glow, reminiscent of the lume I love from older watches.
I must admit that watch movements have always been a bit of a mystery to me. I get the basics of manual wind and automatic and how the mainspring delivers power etc. The BB’s MT5402 automatic COSC certified chronometer movement boasts a great 70-hour power reserve. Sorry, but I haven’t had the watch off my wrist for anything like 70 hours and so have no idea if the claim is true (I’m sure it is)! I can report from my nonscientific tests that the watch kept within around 3 seconds per day whilst I was wearing it. So, for those who may use this watch as their daily beater, it’s going to perform very well.
The BB58 feels like a great all-rounder and when I get to wear a suit again, I’m sure it will sit very comfortably under a shirt cuff during the week and with a T shirt and jeans at the weekend.
Tudor have indeed done a great job with this model and I’m sure the tweaks were actually not made to satisfy nerdy vintage watch lovers, but I couldn’t be happier with my new watch. Well done Tudor!