If there’s a theme emerging in Tudor’s 2021 releases, it’s definitely rooted in experimenting with new materials. We saw this a few months ago with a pair of precious metal Black Bay Fifty-Eights, and more recently with a full ceramic full sized Black Bay that also featured the first METAS certified movement in a Tudor watch. Now, in a surprise boutique only release, Tudor returns to a more familiar case material for the latest Black Bay Fifty-Eight. A bronze Fifty-Eight isn’t the most shocking watch Tudor could have presented (the sterling silver version of this watch still takes the cake, here), but instead continues to round out the growing Fifty-Eight collection, which now includes watches in a total of four metals with just as many dial variants.
Tudor, of course, is no stranger to bronze, and has produced Black Bays in the material for several years. Adding a bronze version of the Fifty-Eight to the collection gives fans of the material, which is known for developing a distinct patina over time as it’s exposed to the elements, a new option in a smaller size. The case of the Black Bay Fifty-Eight measures just 39mm in diameter and has a slim profile that evokes vintage watches, and leaves a much different impression than the larger and bulkier 41mm Black Bay (the difference is even more pronounced when compared to previous bronze Black Bays, which measure 43mm in diameter). For this new release, Tudor has matched the bronze case with a full bronze bracelet, and rendered the matte dial and bezel in a matching brown tone (Tudor calls the dial color “brown-bronze”). Notably, and unlike other Fifty-Eights, the dial here includes Arabic numerals at 3, 6, and 9, which naturally makes one think of the Rolex Explorer, and also the much more rare and exotic “Explorer Dial” Submariners. The 3, 6, 9 dials coupled with snowflake hands have been common to previous bronze versions of the Black Bay, so this appears to be a characteristic that Tudor is carrying over to the Fifty-Eight based on the case material.
When Tudor dropped the sterling silver and solid gold Fifty-Eights earlier this year, many in the community openly wished that Tudor had released either or both with a matching, precious metal bracelet. No such luck with either of those releases, but Tudor has taken the step here of including a bronze bracelet with the latest Fifty-Eight. The real headline, however, isn’t the bracelet material, but a new clasp offering on-the-fly micro adjustment capability that Tudor has dubbed “T-fit”. Tudor has offered a similar feature on the Pelagos since its debut, but this is the first time a Black Bay of any sort has had a quick adjust capability at the clasp, and we can practically hear dive watch fans around the globe rejoicing in real time. What this means for other Fifty-Eights and Black Bays is an open question, but it’s a positive step in the right direction for those of us who barely consider a sports watch that doesn’t have this type of functionality.
Other than the case material and slightly different dial layout, this is exactly what you’d expect from a Black Bay Fifty-Eight in terms of specs. It has a full 200 meters of water resistance with a screw down crown and sapphire crystal, and runs on Tudor’s in-house MT5400 automatic movement, which has been chronometer certified and ticks away for 70 hours on a full wind. While it isn’t METAS certified like the movement within the Black Bay released last month, this is a proven, modern, and robust caliber, and has been specifically engineered by Tudor to be slender enough to fit inside the Fifty-Eight’s svelte case. With respect to the bronze alloy itself, Tudor tells us it’s an aluminum bronze alloy used in naval engineering, and has been finished with stain brushing all around to promote a patina that’s even and visually appealing.
The Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight Bronze is available exclusively through Tudor boutiques (there are around 50 worldwide) and retails for $4,525. Tudor