We can have a debate about what makes a great dive watch. We can have a debate about whether or not dive watches are a dead genre walking. But there’s no argument that the TUDOR Black Bay 58 is the world’s best [traditionally styled] dive watch. Having spent some quality wrist time with the watch the market finds simply irresistible, here’s why . . .
Panerai’s Submersible Bronzo is a staggering 47mm. That’s a good thing for partially sighted Paneristi and the NSA (should they want to check the time from outer space). But there’s a perfect size for a dive watch that does double duty as something other than a joke about compensating for your genetic inheritance. 47mm ain’t it.
If we accept the latest generation Rolex Submariner as the sine qua non of dive watches – and why wouldn’t we (unless we don’t speak Latin) – a dive watch should be 40mm. Needless to say, that’s got nothing to do with actual diving. It’s the perfect size for flexing. For convincing people it’s a watch, not an attempt at witness intimidation.
The TUDOR Black Bay 58 goes one-better. Actually, 1mm smaller. And that, my fellow horophiles, is the ideal size for any wristwatch.
It’s big enough to read at a glance, but not so big you have to constantly ignore the thought that your watch is too big (because it is). Why do you think Rolex upped the 2016 Explorer to 39mm? Because Goldilocks. No question: the Black Bay 58 is 100 percent right-sized.
Please listen closely as our menu options have recently changed. Dial 1 if want like a dive watch with a date or date and day window. Dial 2 is you want a dive watch with a seconds hand sub-dial. Dial 3 if you want a dive watch with Arabic numbers. Dial 4 if you want a dive watch with large railroad track indices. Dial 5 if you want a dive watch with minute indices on the bezel. Please stay on the line if you want a minimalist, easy-to-read dial.
Less is more. The black-and-gold TUDOR BlackBay 58 has a lot more less than the vast majority of lifestyle-flavored dive watches, and a HUGE amount less than some really expensive models (e.g., the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving Pro Geographic Navy SEALs above).
The TUDOR brand’s snowflake hands are perfectly shaped and sized for legibility. As are the blob and rectangle-shaped indices. The gold second hand does nothing to distract from the time-telling job at hand, and its diamond tip is visible in the dark.
The Black Bay 58’s aluminum bezel has pink gilded minute markers from zero to 15 minutes, a counter based on the U.S. Navy dive profile from the 50’s that’s dead useful as an egg timer. The rest of the indices are marked by numbers at ten minute intervals, with five-minute dashes in between. (Just like cousin Sub.) It’s an ideal compromise between utility and simplicity.
Thanks to the tiny red triangle at the Black Bay 58’s bezel’s twelve o’clock, setting the bezel at the desired spot relative to the dial is quick and precise.
The Tudor Black Bay 58’s stainless steel case’s height clocks in at 11.9mm. That’s considerably thinner than its 41mm bigger brothers’ 15mm case thickness, and 1.1mm thinner than the Rolex Submariner. It makes all the difference for style and everyday comfort.
The black-and-gold Black Bay 58’s “oversized” crown is a throwback to the first TUDOR dive watches waterproofed to 200 meters (660 ft). The similarly submersible 58’s screw-down winding crown boasts a TUDOR rose in relief, perched above a satin-brushed steel winding crown tube. Just like the Black Bay 41, it’s a pleasure to wind and set.
A quartz Seiko SKX007 dive watch is accurate to -20 to +40 seconds per day. The TUDOR Black Bay 58’s new-for-2018 calibre MT5402 movement is COSC certified to stay within -4/+6 seconds variation per day. Owners have reported considerably better accuracy – as little as -0.12 seconds per day over 93 days. In any case (so to speak), the 58’s time-keeping is first class.
More than that, the MT5402 is TUDOR’s home-grown movement (in conjunction with Breitling). The in-house engine bestows bragging rights on mechanically-minded watch nerds. The 70-hour power reserve is a major bonus for anyone who doesn’t like to revive their watch after its had a weekend off.
And there you have it
The TUDOR Black Bay 58 costs $3700 on a steel bracelet, $3300 on a leather strap or fabric band. That’s a lot of money for a watch. But not for the world’s best dive watch. But I will say one bad thing about it: they’re going for full retail.
Model: Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight
Case: 39mm steel case with polished and satin finish
Crown: Steel screw-down winding crown with the TUDOR rose in relief
Bezel: Unidirectional rotatable bezel in steel with 60-minute graduated disc in matt black anodised aluminium and pink gilded markings and numerals
Crystal: Domed sapphire
Bracelet: Riveted steel with polished and satin finish, folding clasp and safety catch
Movement: Manufacture Calibre MT5402 (COSC), self-winding mechanical movement with bidirectional rotor system
Power Reserve: approximately 70 hours
Weight: 4.8 ounces
Water resistance: 200m (660 ft)
RATINGS (out of five stars):
Design * * * * *
Size matters. Relax guys! Sometimes smaller is better. As it is here. A perfectly realized and downsized dive watch.
Legibility * * * * *
TUDOR’s snowflake hands le faire (git ‘er done).
Comfort * * * * *
Just as solid and comfortable as big brother Rolex – and that’s as good as it gets.
Overall * * * * *
Tudor now has its own Submariner: a beautifully built dive watch that will never go out of style.