As sure as day follows night, it was no surprise when Tudor announced a navy blue version of its hugely popular Black Bay Fifty-Eight in 2020. The new colourway soon became one of the most desirable watches of the year, with waiting lists forming quickly for what is a well-priced Swiss diving watch with a smart but classical design and family ties to Rolex.
The Black Bay Fifty-Eight range gets its name from the year 1958, which was when Tudor introduced its first diver’s watch, the Big Crown. As such, the Fifty-Eight has vintage design elements and a classically simple dial, along with 200 metres of water resistance and an automatic movement.
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As for the Rolex link, Tudor was created in 1926 by Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf, and for many years acted as a sister brand to the world’s most famous watchmaker. Today, Tudor remains a part of the Geneva-based Hans Wilsdorf Foundation, but operates as its own brand at a lower price point than Rolex, but with design and build quality to match.
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight Blue review: Specs
- Reference: M79030B
- Case size: 39mm
- Thickness: 11.7mm
- Lug width: 20mm
- Lug-to-lug: 47.5mm
- Water resistance: 200m
- Movement: Automatic Calibre MT5402
- Crystal: Sapphire
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight Blue review: Hardware and design
The Black Bay Fifty-Eight is a simple diver’s watch, with a 39mm case, navy dial with matching unidirectional rotating bezel, illuminated markers and an automatic movement. There is no date complication or stopwatch functionality, and so the case side features only a screw-down crown for adjusting the time and winding the movement should it run out of power.
There are currently 10 different models of Black Bay Fifty-Eight, including three navy options. These feature the same case but are offered with a blue fabric strap, steel bracelet, or blue ‘soft-touch’ strap. All are attached to the case using industry-standard 20mm lug bars.
The case measures 11.7mm thick and has a raised sapphire crystal with a slight dome, adding a smart design detail without making the watch too cumbersome. A lug-to-lug measurement of 47.5mm means the Black Bay Fifty-Eight is relatively compact and wears well on wrists of most sizes. This is further aided by a lot of adjustability in the strap, plus three options of fine adjustment on the clasp.
Some criticism has been aimed at the watch for the fake rivets on the edges of the bracelet links. Whether you like these or not is a case of personal preference, but when worn they can hardly be seen. The removable links are secured with screw pins.
The anodised aluminium bezel clicks satisfyingly through sixty positions as it is rotated anticlockwise, while Super-LumiNova on the bezel, dial and all three hands ensures great nighttime (or underwater) visibility. Design details include a vintage snowflake-style hour hand.
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight Blue review: Movement
Inside (and unfortunately not visible through the steel case back) is an automatic MT5402 movement with 27 jewels and 70 hours of power reserve.
This is an in-house Tudor movement introduced in 2018 and replacing the ETA 2824-2. Like Rolex, this is not a movement finished to be a thing of beauty, and not only is it covered by the case back, but when exposed it is more industrial engineering than glittering centerpiece.
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight Blue review: Verdict
After the success of the original Black Bay Fifty-Eight with its black dial and bronze details, it was no surprise to see Tudor roll out a navy version. You could call it a predictable and perhaps even cynical move, but it has resulted in a truly wonderful timepiece. The size of the Fifty-Eight makes it accessible to almost everyone, while the movement has proven to be extremely accurate during the year we have owned ours.
Seventy hours of power reserve means you can swap the Tudor for another watch for an entire weekend without it losing time, while the case design lends itself to a wide range of straps, from fabric and leather to stainless steel. Lastly, it ticks all the boxes for what a dive watch should be, from the luminous markers to the unidirectional bezel and 200 metres of water resistance.
Spending between £2,520 and £2,760 on a watch is a big deal for many, but the navy Fifty-Eight 58 lives up to that investment, and then some. Arguably more interesting (and less predictable) than a Rolex, while sharing DNA and build quality, Tudor is at the top of its game with the Black Bay Fifty-Eight and we can’t wait to see where it goes next.