Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue Review

by Chamath Gamage
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Earlier this month, Tudor released to the world their latest Black Bay creation; the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight ‘Navy Blue’ (Ref 79030B-0001). We covered this much anticipated timepiece briefly upon its release, but now, we will take an in-depth look into what this watch is really about. 

For the newcomers to the world of horology, you might be asking, why is there such an aura around the Black Bay Fifty-Eight that draws people in? To answer this, we need to go back into Tudor’s history with dive watches and how the Black Bay Fifty-Eight first came about.

Tudor released its first dive watch in 1954, which would incidentally set the brand on a new path to becoming iconic for dive watches. The first Tudor that was released was the Oyster Price Submariner reference 7922. This model was designed with some substantial criteria which included having exceptional durability, reliability, precision and waterproofness, all the while still being moderately affordable. The Oyster Price Submariner reference 7922 after its release became a favourite in the watch industry and positioned itself as an instrument of choice for professionals. Tudor’s dive watches over the next 66 years would evolve with new technologies and materials emerging, updating the movements along the way as well. 

Back in 2012, Tudor first launched the Black Bay collection, which is essentially the modern interpretation of the the brand’s iconic Submariner style design. The original Oyster Price Submariner reference 7922 was used as the reference for the Black Bay models design. In fact, the Black Bay “Black” model looks almost identical to the reference 7922, featuring the same use of colours as well. 

The Black Bay Fifty-Eight was first introduced in Baselworld 2018. It was designed in a way to honour Tudor’s Ref. 794 “Big Crown” model, which was the brand’s first dive watch to be waterproofed to 200m. The Ref. 794″ Big Crown” was first released in 1958, which is why the 2018 release was named Black Bay Fifty-Eight. 

The first Black Bay Fifty-Eight model had the perfect balance of being a vintage style design while being modern. There was a lot of hype around the release of the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight, and truth be told, it’s popularity hasn’t died down since its first release. What makes this watch special is Tudor’s commitment to producing excellence. As with the brand’s first dive watch having a high standard for durability, reliability, precision and waterproofness, these characteristics are all still present in the 2018 Black Bay Fifty-Eight model. Top this off with the vintage submariner look while being very well priced, and you can start to understand why there was so much hype in the first place. 

The Black Bay Fifty-Eight model carries through the important dial design characteristics of the original ref. 794 model as well. The case (39mm) and crown have been similarly proportioned, while the hour indexes, the markings and red triangle on the bezel, to the black gilt dial, all have been kept to the same design. This is what inspires the vintage look in the model. The latest touches are the colour changes in the indexes and markings on the bezel and of course the Snowflake hands which are iconic to modern Tudor timepieces. 

So, why was there so much anticipation for the blue dial version of the Black Bay Fifty-Eight model? Isn’t it just the case of a simple dial colour change? While this may be the case, the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight Blue also draws on another iconic vintage model from Tudor. Albeit different specs between the two models, the 1969 Tudor Snowflake and the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight essentially share the same colour palette. 

Along with the 1969 Snowflake, much of the other models in Tudor’s line back then got the blue makeover as well. As Tudor states “The other sporty watches in the collection were soon attired in blue, immediately creating a lasting aesthetic hallmark known as “TUDOR Blue”. Adopted by the French navy for its TUDOR divers’ watches during the 1970s, this livery became part of the collective imagination”. With the blue Tudor Snowflake being so popular, Tudor made a smart move to produce the Black Bay Fifty-Eight in blue, with the hype and anticipation for this model certainly living up to its release. What may seem like a simple colour change is more Tudor following through with tradition for their iconic watches. 

The movement used in the Black Bay Fifty-Eight is Tudor’s Manufacture Calibre MT5402. The MT5402 calibre was produced roughly three years after Tudor created their very own in-house movement. 

The Manufacture Calibre MT5402 movement has been specifically designed to suit medium-sized Tudor timepieces. The movement was designed to ensure that robustness, longevity and reliability are all kept to Tudor’s exceptional standards. The Manufacture Calibre MT5402 movement comes with a hefty 70-hour power reserve and is also certified as a chronometer by the Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC). 

So, how does it wear?

This is one of those watches you will fall in love with the second you wear it. With a case size of 39mm, case thickness of 11.9mm and lug to lug of 47mm, Black Bay Fifty-Eight Blue sits perfectly on a 6.5inch wrist. The 316L steel case has a polished and satin finish to match the riveted 316L steel bracelet with polished and satin-brushed finish. The bracelet is solid and comfortable on the wrist. Once the Black Bay Fifty-Eight Blue is on the wrist however, it’ll be hard not to find yourself looking at the beautiful navy dial over and over again. This timepiece is something you really have to try on in person to truly appreciate the dial and bezel. If you were fortunate enough to get your hands on the Black Bay Fifty-Eight Blue, you’ll understand the beauty of it.    

So, undecided on which model to buy? We have done a comparison test to see how the blue dial wears compared to the original Black Bay Fifty-Eight. Ultimately it does come down to personal preference, but if undecided, maybe the side by side photos can help the decision making. The original 2018 Black Bay Fifty-Eight is a stunner and being black, is also very versatile. Both watches can undoubtedly be worn to almost any occasion. 

The timepieces have the classic divers look which allows it to not only be used as a dress piece but also sports watch. The blue model certainly stands out and looks at home when wearing it to the beach, sporting events or for daily office wear. It can be nicely matched with formal wear too, but this is where the navy blue dial stands out the most. Paired with a suit or blazer, it feels like it belongs. 

Both watches come with a range of strap options, which include the standard riveted steel bracelet for the classy look, and the leather for a dressy look or the fabric strap for the sporty look. The colours of the bands for each watch match their respective dials. So if opting to use the leather or fabric strap on the Black Bay Fifty-Eight Blue, then the overall blue will further enhance the sports look of the watch. Contrastingly, the black leather and fabric strap will make the black dial Black Bay Fifty-Eight appear much more as a dress watch and classier in appearance. At the end of the day, it comes down to how you feel about the colours. One thing is for sure though, it certainly is nice to have another option to the black dial! 

If, however, you are after something a little different from the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight models, but still want the performance and looks, WatchAdvice did a comparison between Tudor and two other diving watches from Breitling and Omega. We even did an in-depth video where you get to see more of the watches close-up! Check out the link below to see the full comparison. 

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Tudor Black Bay 58 Specification:

Model Reference: 79030B-0001
Case Diameter: 39mm
Dial: Blue, domed
Case: Steel case with polished and satin case
Bezel: Unidirectional rotatable bezel in steel with 60-minute graduated disc in matt blue
Movement: Manufacture Calibre MT5402 (COSC)
Power Reserve: Min. 70 hours
Water Resistance: 20 ATM / 200 meters

Australian Retail Pricing: $5,000.00 for the SS bracelet and $4,580.00 for the ‘Soft Touch’ Strap / Blue Fabric Strap versions.

Availability: Available now

Local Authorised dealers :

  • Brisbane – The Hour Glass
  • Melbourne – The Hour Glass, Kennedy Watches and Jewellery, Monards and Watches of Switzerland
  • Sydney – The Hour Glass, Gregory Jewellers, Swiss Concept and Watches of Switzerland
  • Perth – Kennedy and Watches of Switzerland
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