Hands-on With The New Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925: Live Pics and Comparisons With Last Year’s Navy Blue
Editor’s note: We first introduced the new Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925 on April 8th when these were announced for Watches & Wonders 2021 and we are now proud to bring to you a detailed hands-on review of the new Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925. For our other detailed hands-on reviews, please head to our dedicated reviews section here. Today’s watch has been brought with the grateful assistance of J Farren-Price Sydney.
Like Welcome Sunshine
The lyrics of a Noel Gallagher song go like this: “Gold and silver and sunshine is rising up”. For Watches & Wonders 2021, Tudor launches two new Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight models, in 925 silver and 18K gold. For a brand that is witnessing a historic climb to the top in the lower to the mid-end luxury market, these new watches in precious materials ensure that it continues to rise like the welcome sun on a cold winter morning.
Precious Materials Rule
Following its impressive success last year with the Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue, I was curious as to how the brand will manage to beat the odds. But succeed it did; both the variants are charming in their own rights, and frankly, the most appealing part for me is that they don’t seem to be ‘just-another-version’ of an existing watch. Say what you may about the use of silver on a dive watch, it is downright different. For a brand that apparently is trying to break free from its older brother’s shadow, Tudor is on the right path. Simply adding a green or a grey dial to last year’s release would have been the easier way out.
By the inclusion of a vibrant green — as compared to the Tudor Harrods’ Black Bay Limited Edition model — and taupe grey dial with gold and silver bodies and then the adding display case-backs to the mix, Tudor has decidedly chosen to be different. Sure it can be polarising, but that is exactly the point.
Let’s face it; the majority of people who might whine about the silver on a dive watch or a basic decorated movement but displayed a diver would not be using these for professional diving. So why complain?
As for me, I believe that one really needs to see these in person. It is pretty much the same as last year’s Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue. In pictures, they seem like standard divers. But the moment they are on the wrist, it’s a different game altogether.
And based on my own experience of last year’s Navy Blue, I can guarantee that these will delight once strapped on the wrist. The proportions of these 39mm diameter watches and the dial symmetry is the stuff they should teach about in horology schools.
The Hands-on Experience
We were lucky enough to go hands-on with these so early after the announcements, and fortunately, I was also wearing my personal Navy Blue to really compare the two. Just as a heads-up, I don’t take stickers off my watches until they come off naturally, so the pictures you see will have stickers but rest assured the Navy Blue is a personal watch reflecting my own confidence in the brand.
Expect The Unexpected
There is one element that is exceptional about the new Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925 that I wasn’t expecting – it’s the chameleon of a dial. The taupe grey under different lighting changes shade, going from a subtle grey to a stark brown.
Talking about expectations, I didn’t know what to think of the inclusion of the new display case-back until I saw the watch in person. The display window is way smaller than you would think, but it works. The movement of course is not hand-finished but is decorated handsomely enough for the price point and the smaller display window really adds a sense of quaint charm to it.
I also like how the Black Bay Fifty-Eight Blue’s case looks so much shinier and polished compared to the amazing brushing of the new 925. As a matter of fact, I reckon the new 925 will age better, thanks to its highly brushed case that on daily wear won’t show nicks and scratches easily. So from a daily wear perspective, the new 925 is a great offering.
All Black Bay Fifty-Eights have exceptional legibility across the board, and the 925 is no different. That said, the monochromatic aesthetics really brings out the whiteness of the indices.
The Wrist Presence
Now this isn’t something I was expecting given my time with the blue version, and it’s got to be the most appealing part of the timepiece, and that is its wrist presence. It’s undoubtedly one of the best watches from the brand, that sits low yet prolific on the wrist. For someone with slimmer wrists of about 16cm, the diameter and thickness of the new Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925 works really well.
It’s The Gift That Keeps On Giving
The incredible legibility we have gotten accustomed to when dealing with the Tudor BB range is still retained, and the filling-in of the hands with Grade-A Swiss Super-LumiNova® luminescent material only further aids this legibility. Another aspect that jumps out is the rather large winding crown with the impressive Tudor Rose logo/insignia. The good thing about it is that it feels solid. The winding stem is strong and thick, and you feel comfortable using it.
It ticks every single damn box I have when I add watches to my own collection: stealth yet with superb wrist presence; brand heritage; comfort level; excellent tactile feeling, with a highly grip-able bezel that also has an amazing sounding action; in-house movement; and a devil-may-care vibe.
Both the new Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925 and 18K feature the same movement, the Manufacture Calibre MT540, which is based on the calibre MT5402 of the existing Tudor BB58 39mm watches.
There are a couple of differences to note, including the price points between last year’s BB58 Navy and this year’s BB58 925 ref. 79010SG.
BB58 Navy: The reference 79030B retails for $4’580 AUD and features a COSC-certified manufacture movement, the calibre MT5402. This 26mm diameter and 4.99mm thick movement features a variable inertia balance, a non-magnetic silicon balance spring, an open-worked (with satin-brushed and sand-blasted details) tungsten monobloc rotor, and bridges and mainplate with alternate sand-blasted, polished surfaces and laser decorations. It beats at the frequency of 4Hz (28’800 A/h), comprises 27 jewels, and offers an impressive 70-hour power reserve.
BB58 925: The reference 79010SG retails for $5’880 AUD and features a COSC-certified manufacture movement, the calibre MT5400. This larger 30.3mm diameter and 5mm thick movement features a variable inertia balance, a non-magnetic silicon balance spring, and the same materials and decoration on the rotor. It beats at the same frequency of 4Hz (28’800 A/h), comprises of the same 27 jewels, and offers the same impressive 70-hour power reserve. The movement is encased inside a 39mm diameter case. The case features a unidirectional rotatable bezel with a 60-minute graduated disc in taupe anodised aluminium with silver gilded markings and numerals.
BB58 18K: The reference 79018V features the same movement specs as the BB58 925.
The watches are obviously 200m water-resistant and come with a five-year transferable guarantee with no registration or periodic maintenance checks required.
Painting The Landscape
The new Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925 charms as a complete package, that offers:
- A slim wrist-friendly 39mm case diameter
- Precious materials for those who would like to venture beyond steel and bronze
- Multiple strap options
- Entirely satin-finished for a matt effect case execution for both silver and gold versions to present bling without the snobbery
- 70-hour power reserve
- Despite COSC-certification, -2 and +4 seconds variation in its running when it is completely assembled
- Thankfully retains the iconic snowflake hands
- Personally, I love the inclusion of the open case-back
- Keeps the use of the 925 silver or 18k yellow gold materials the same, so the case, strap buckle, bezel and crown feature the same uniform material
- Most importantly, the Tudor Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 915 and 18K are still robust tool-watches but have been cloaked with different attire. No matter what clothes you put on Rambo, you still wouldn’t want to mess with him
Another area I reckon the new Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925 scores is in its placement within not only the brand’s catalogue but also within the entire portfolio of Rolex and Tudor combined.
In my opinion the 2021 releases from both brands have been strategically placed:
- 36mm Datejust (dress watch)
- 36mm Explorer (tool watch)
- 36mm Explorer Two-tone (tool + elegant)
- 39mm BB58 (tool watch filling in the size gap in Rolex’s catalogue)
- 40mm Daytona (not messing with the legend)
- 42mm Explorer II (bigger tool watch)
This way diameters from 36 to 42 are covered, and those complaining about Rolex waitlists have suitable alternatives. And I admire this strategy: to provide something for every sort of watch enthusiast and collector.
That’s All Folks!
Out of the new Tudor releases, the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925 is my favourite. There is something about the dimensions — 39mm diameter, 11.9mm thickness, thin bezel, slim lugs — and geometry of the Tudor BB58 as a whole that for someone with slimmer wrists such as myself is the ideally sized watch. And I also appreciate that I don’t have to worry about silver turning ghastly over time; the sterling silver model is made from a secret alloy that according to the brand will not develop an unsightly patina given its composition is stable and won’t change. Overall aesthetically, the retention of the same coloured dial and bezel acts as a unifying feature of the collection.
On the wrist these are a beauty; once strapped, the taupe matt domed dial that features central hour, minute and second hands (with stop-seconds for precise time setting) presents itself as a contemporary backdrop for the applied hour-markers and the “Snowflake” hands to work their magic on. The inclusion of white rather than fauxtina indices is an excellent decision as well. As a matter of fact, the hypnotising contrast of these white indices against the cold taupe combined with the sweet sound of the 60-click bezel is what really defines this timepiece.
It is an excellent mix of vintage with modern, walking that line really well. Another good thing is that even if someone has a Rolex Sub, this doesn’t ‘eat’ into the wrist time of the other. On the wrist, these are two completely different timepieces.
The new Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925 is an exercise on how all utilitarian watches should be. It is an excellent watch that does best what it is supposed to do without any frivolous distractions – it tells the time accurately.
To find out more about the Tudor Black Bay Bronze 43 and their other timepieces, please head to their website here or visit their authorised retailer J Farren-Price Sydney at 80 Castlereagh St, Sydney (02 9231 3299). All images unless otherwise stated are ©WatchYaGonnaDoAboutIt. Make sure to check out our reviews of other Watches & Wonders 2021 releases here.