Tudor has infused its latest timepiece with the largest dose of vintage Submariner DNA yet, resulting in the new Black Bay Fifty-Eight. Released alongside the Black Bay GMT at this year’s Baselworld, the Black Bay Fifty-Eight is the closest homage to the original Tudor dive watches that inspired the Black Bay collection.
A reduction in case size to produce a more true-to-history dive watch means a new on-the-wrist Black Bay experience, and a new in-house calibre to match. The Black Bay Fifty-Eight takes its place as the true heritage piece in Tudor’s modern-day dive watch collection.
The Black Bay collection is inspired by a series of iconic Tudor Submariners that span the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s – drawing on important elements from significant references to create the blueprint for the contemporary interpretation. The Black Bay Fifty-Eight is a tribute to the Oyster Prince Submariner of that year (which celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2018), reference 7924 – renamed “Big Crown” by collectors. Previous models, starting from 1954, employed standard sized crowns and were guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 100m.
The 1958 version saw the introduction of a larger screw-down crown that doubled the dive watch’s waterproof rating to a maximum immersion depth of 200m (20 bar/ 660ft). While later models maintained the 200m waterproof rating, the larger crown was unique to reference 7924, as the 1959 Submariner introduced crown guards (and reduced the crown size), which became a mainstay. The Black Bay, launched in 2012, opted for the big crown as part of its blueprint – the Black Bay Fifty-Eight gives more recognition to the iconic reference that it was taken from.
To capture the feel of the vintage piece, and perhaps also accentuate the crown proportions, Tudor has reduced the case size of the Black Bay Fifty-Eight from the standard 41mm to 39mm (the 1958 original being 37mm). The case in steel with polished and satin finishes, is presented for the first time with the winding crown in satin-brushed steel (the trunk left uncoated). The reduction in size means a new wearing experience – the case thickness has gone from 15mm down to 11.9mm, and the lug width is shorter too (meaning a slimmer case on a slimmer band). The new Black Bay hence, has a vintage (compact) feel on the wrist.
While the rest of the dive watch’s design follows the modern Black Bay formula, the choice of dial colours does reflect the original “Big Crown”. The black matt dial is adorned with pink gold finishing to the hands, hour markers and minute track. The combination is carried over to the unidirectional rotatable steel bezel that receives pink gilded markings and numerals (in lieu of the standard silver treatment), completed by the signature red triangle. The crown sports the large rose logo and the snowflake hands and hour markers of course receive the luminescent treatment (for optimum underwater/ night legibility).
In order to produce a smaller Black Bay, Tudor had to redesign its in-house movement. The new manufacture Calibre MT5402 launches a second family of (medium-size) movements in Tudor’s portfolio. Though shrinking to a 26mm diameter/ 4.99mm thickness (from 31mm/ 6.5mm), the COSC-certified Calibre MT5402 still performs to the same specifications as the normal Black Bay movement, providing a 70-hour power reserve.
The self-winding mechanical movement employs a bidirectional rotor system and anti-magnetic silicon hairspring. The openwork rotor is entirely satin-brushed, and the bridges and main plate have alternate sand-blasted surfaces (and laser decorations). The robust structure of the movement and its variable inertia balance is maintained by a sturdy traversing bridge with a two-point fixation. Note that in line with reference 7924 – there is no date function. The case is rated waterproof to 200m (20 bar/ 660ft).
The new Black Bay Fifty-Eight takes the blueprint that defines the Black Bay collection to another level – if the historical genre means anything to you, then this is your Black Bay. The new sizing also means a less bulky, more comfortable wear on the wrist that connoisseurs (and your shirt cuffs) will appreciate.
Offered on a riveted steel bracelet with polished and satin finish, a brown leather strap with folding clasp, or a black fabric strap with a golden centre-stripe (to match the dial/ bezel highlights), the Black Bay Fifty-Eight is sure to be popular. Please contact Watches of Switzerland to secure your pre-order and avoid missing out.