Tudor Black Bay 58: More than a "Working Man's Rolex"

Tudor Black Bay 58: More than a "Working Man's Rolex"

I was standing in a coffee shop waiting for my order to come up on the pass and my name called for a nice caffeine boost during my morning. There was a gentleman standing behind and to the side of me, my eye caught his wrist. A few head tilts and it was confirmed. I asked "Hey is that a Submariner you're wearing?" He replied "oh yeah, they're great, don't even need to put batteries in them, and they last for a lifetime." I showed him my latest pickup, A Tudor Black Bay 58. I asked if he had ever been diving with it and just goes "No" and grabs his coffee and leaves.

Most people see Tudor as the “Poor Man’s Rolex” or they may not even know about Tudor, but at this stage in the horological game, it just isn’t the case.

I had a feeling he wasn't a true Watch fan, someone may have given him the Sub or told him, this was the watch to get. I find most of those with Rolex tool watches do not ever use them for their intended purpose, and if that's your prerogative, I get it, however, I've already worn my Black Bay in the water because that's what it was made for. Most people see Tudor as the "Poor Man's Rolex" or they may not even know about Tudor, but at this stage in the horological game, it just isn't the case.

Tudor was registered in 1926 by the founder of Rolex Hans Wilsdorf. The intention was to create a brand with Rolex-level quality for a price that every man could afford. Tudor outfitted it's watches with waterproof oyster cases and eventually, the Tudor Submariner adorned the wrists of several nations Navies and divers. Rolex style cases, crowns, and Tudor "snowflake" hands gave the brand its identity alongside its logos the Tudor Rose and Shield. Tudor began to see slumps in the late 80s and 90s and even took itself out of the US market in 2007, it's real comeback was with the Black Bay line in 2012. A line of heritage-inspired divers taking from Tudors and even Rolexes history for inspiration. These used ETA movements but with modern design and heritage nods. A little later the brand introduced in-house calibre movements taking the next step in quality. These watches were 41mm in size and the public was asking for smaller watches of an age bygone. The 2000's saw big watches as the "thing" 45mm cases and such. Tudor answered this call with the Black Bay 58.

The Black Bay 58 made its debut in 2018 and has quickly become a fan favorite. The case measures 38mm and 11.9mm thickness, the first model was adorned with gilt accents on the bezel, dial and hands. Tudors signature snowflake style hands and a red triangle at 12 o'clock on the bezel. Tudor would later release a more modern looking navy dial in stainless steel, a matte brown dial in Bronze, a taupe dial in Silver, and a green dial with an 18k gold case. As an admirer of smaller watches, I knew this would most likely the watch I get and, I did. I was a little afraid at first, definitely my biggest watch purchase to date. I went with the black/gilt dial because I haven't really seen others like it and I really love the mix of colors. The black dial, the gilt accents when they catch light and the striking red on the bezel. The reason it's called the Black Bay 58 is because of its homage to the Tudor "Big Crown" Submariner of 1958. 

One aspect I didn't really notice at first was the tapered bracelet and I really do enjoy the slimness it brings. The Lugs are 20mm and taper down to 16mm at the clasp giving it a comfortable feel on the faux riveted bracelet. The lack of crown guards gives it the vintage feel and the engraved Tudor rose on the crown pays homage to the older logo. The chronometer-certified in-house movement boasts a nice 70 hour power reserve making it easy to put down and pick up where you left off at any time. The only complaint I've seen and understand is the lack of a quick-adjust feature at the clasp. The new Tudor "T-Fit" clasps allow for this, but those have yet to make a move to the Black Bay 58 line. If bracelets aren't your thing you can get this on a Tudor Nato or Leather strap but I highly recommend you get the bracelet. I really enjoy this watch and I've always considered Tudor to be the "Working Man's Rolex" but Tudor has firmly planted itself as its own brand and a major player in that watch world. 

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