Watch of the Week: Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight Bronze
The Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight already stood out in a sea of dive watches for its pedigree. It’s based on the company’s iconic dive watches from the 1950s—and its striking good looks. It’s a tool watch that’s rugged enough for the ocean, yet totally at home in a formal setting. That’s a hard balance to strike, but Tudor didn’t stop there: Instead, the company’s released the Black Bay Fifty-Eight Bronze, and it features an all-new case material and bracelet made with a unique bronze alloy. It gives the watch a dazzling appearance right out of the box, and thanks to the unique properties of bronze, it only gets better with age.
Tudor has a long history with dive watches. The company’s first diver came out in 1954: reference 7922, a watch that was waterproof to 100 meters. Later that decade, Tudor released reference 7924, the famous “Big Crown” timepiece that came with a waterproof rating down to 200 meters. In 1969, Tudor debuted the “snowflake hands” on a dive watch, and that became a signature feature on the company’s divers. Fast forward a few decades, and the modern Black Bay Fifty-Eight watches recreate some of the design hallmarks of those pioneering midcentury models—updated for modern performance, of course.
The new Black Bay Fifty-Eight Bronze is a great example. To make this watch, Tudor sourced a high-performance aluminum-bronze alloy—the same corrosion-resistant metal used to make propellers and other critical ship components. It’s an aesthetic nod to seafaring, sure, but it’s also an indisputably tough and beautiful material, too. The watch’s 39mm satin-brushed case is made from this bronze alloy and, over time, it’ll develop a unique patina unlike any other watch. The satin finish encourages even development of the patina across the watch, so signs of wear become marks of beauty.
The dial is finished in a matte “brown-bronze” that complements the bright tone of the case. The iconic snowflake hands—a reference to the company’s ’60s divers—are coated in Super-LumiNova for excellent legibility in low-light conditions, an essential trait for any true dive watch. They also feature gold accents that are echoed on the bezel, which gives the whole watch a rich glow that really helps it stand out. Park the Black Bay Fifty-Eight Bronze next to a typical stainless steel dive watch, and it’ll make it look drab in comparison.
In another notable first, Tudor utilized bronze on the watch’s bracelet, too. The all-bronze bracelet comes with the company’s T-fit clasp that allows for quick, easy fit adjustments without any tools (you can set it between five different size positions). Like its stablemates, the Black Bay Fifty-Eight Bronze also comes with a complementary jacquard fabric: Here, it’s dyed a matching brown with a light stripe running down the middle. But this is no giveaway: The strap uses fabric woven in France on heritage looms by the family-owned Julien Faure company. On this watch, even the strap has history.
Making these special timepieces is a very involved process. Tudor begins with bars of aluminum-bronze alloy that are cut into slugs, or small cylinders, a few centimeters long. The slugs are heated to a high temperature, then individually stamped to get the rough shape of the watch’s case. From there, it takes 40 additional steps—machining, threading, drilling, and finishing—to get a completed watch. To keep the watch’s finish pristine for the eventual buyer, it must be carefully handled through every step in the process to ensure no patina develops in the factory. That way, each one arrives in showcase-ready condition.
Of course, patina is only part of the draw with this watch—it’s a serious performer, too. It’s powered by Tudor’s self-winding MT5400 movement, which is known for its “weekend-proof” 70-hour power reserve (take it off on a Friday, and the watch will still be ticking on Monday). Better yet, it’s COSC-certified for exceptional reliability, and Tudor even went beyond COSC standards by demanding even stricter timekeeping from this watch: It’s rated for just a minus-two and plus-four seconds’ variation when running.
Whether you’re beneath the waves or heading out to dinner, you’ll be hard pressed to find a diver that works as hard—and as well—as the Black Bay Fifty-Eight Bronze. The best part? The more you wear it, the better it gets.
The watch is a boutique exclusive and can only be found at the first Tudor boutique in the U.S.: Tourneau in New York City’s Meatpacking District.
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