At 39mm, the Tudor BB58 is one of the best entry-level daily watches that suit all occasions. Pair it with the newer blue dial, it’s a perfect combination.
So I finally managed to get my hands on the Tudor BB58. Not the original BB58 Black gilt dial variant but the newer BB58 “Blue”. The watch that won the “Challenge” Prize at the 2020 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. But why Blue over Black?
In my opinion, this is the best of the pair, but I am being biased here. I love almost all watches that have a blue dial. But why the Tudor BB58?
Did I fall into the hype of “oh this watch has a waiting list and you can’t find it in a retail boutique”? Kinda. I was dying to find out why the BB58 is the most desirable among all of the other Tudors available and is it really that good? And the short answer is, YES.
There are very few watches out there that you don’t have to think about and it manages to fulfil tasks you need them to do and yet stays in the background. The case size is on fleek and at that price point with Tudor’s in-house movement, what could possibly go wrong?
In 2018, the release of original Tudor’s Black Bay Fifty-Eight , sized at 39mm and 11.9mm thick was an instant hit. The launch of a modern Tudor with a black dial and gilt accents that wore an awful lot like a vintage Submariner drove demand for the BB58. In 2020, Tudor caught up with the blue dial trend and got the watch community attention once again with the new Black Bay 58 “Navy Blue” model.
The only thing changed between the previous Black Bay 58 “Black” and the new “Navy Blue” is the blue color on the dial and bezel. And the gilt accents on dial are now white on the blue variant.
If you find the BB58 Blue familiar, that’s probably because the blue accent is directly in reference to the dial and bezel found on the iconic “Snowflake” Tudor Submariners from the mid-70s.
On Wrist Review
It’s been an extremely pleasurable experience on the wrist thus far. Not because it is loud and in your face all the time. In fact, it’s the exact opposite.
Because the Tudor Black Bay 58 serves its purpose so well as a utilitarian timepiece. It is well built with a proportionate case size ideal for most wrist. This is why the Black Bay 58 line is well loved by so many. It is the tool watch that we all deserve.
Tudor watches are not trying to be a luxury object that’s often affiliated with contemporary offerings from its sister company, Rolex. Tudor is stepping into the field of what Rolex has done back in the 90s, when they are known to have produced some of the finest mechanical tool watches in the world.
One common criticism the Tudor Black Bay 58 often received is that it’s a homage to Rolex Submariners of the past. In my opinion, it’s not. It really feels like its own watch, and it IS its own watch. Every single element is unique to the BB58. The big crown, the case form, the bezel, the dial, the bracelet etc etc. It is so unique to Tudor’s design grammar and it is seriously impressive. Considering how well all of the parts are put together, and how well it sits on the wrists just shows that there’s been so much consideration put into it by Tudor.
How much effort has Tudor put into the BB58?
Take the hollow end links of the bracelet for example. The way the end links are actually raised with the elevated element in the centre is gorgeous. It is a small nuance that you don’t notice unless you are wearing the watch but it makes such a difference. It is always appreciated when there is an articulating centre link which makes the wearing experience more comfortable.
Perhaps some will find that the BB58 is rather sterile and dislike it for that reason. I get that. You don’t get the Rolex aura, the recognisable Panerai case shape or any complications to play around with the BB58. But just remember that this is not a watch you want to wear and show the world. You are not looking for details like you would from a higher end watchmaker or flash factor that is found in precious metals. This is a watch you want to wear and appreciate it on your own. This is a quality steel watch you can rely on as a daily stainless watch.
The bracelet itself with the faux rivets is not well loved by the rest but it doesn’t really bother me at all. After all, it is part of the vintage aesthetic reminiscence to the older models and it works pretty well.
As for the clasps, the spring loaded ceramic ball bearings that will allow the clasps to close pretty neatly is another minute detail to be appreciated. The clasps doesn’t shout for your attention, without being overbuilt for the sake of it, sticking to the minimalism character of the watch. The only drawback is that you can open the clasps very easily once the latch is opened. But, I am just nitpicking at this point. It would have been perfect if there was an easylink or micro extension option available on the clasps but oh wells, nothing is perfect in life.
The comfort factor is flipping superb, the BB58 sits perfectly well and flat on my relatively small wrist, partly due to the way the case has been done. It is not as thin or streamlined as we will see in 5 digits Rolex sports model references. Surprisingly, it does have a little more stature and presence on the wrist despite its smaller case size at 39mm as compared to the common 40mm-41mm of Rolex watches. The chamfering of the lugs just completes it, with the cushion size case form. It adds a little bit more to complexity to the overall case but also gives it a feeling of artisanal quality.
On the first glance, the rotating bezel on this diver watch does not look practical and appears to be hard to grip. But trust me, it is very tactile. Accurate and smooth with no inconsistencies found. The only bezels that could possibly beat the BB58 are the Rolex divers.
The blue on this bb58 is unlike many other blue watches available in the market, with most of the rest having a deeper royal blue finish or gradient blue found in higher end sports watches. The blue on the BB58 is what I would call, “grey blue”. Under different lightings, the dial will appear in a different tone of blue and when there is minimal lighting, the dial will look black. The blue is warm but not cartoonish, and the bezel is much more matte than those in the Black Bay Heritage collection.
Overall, we have a coin-edge bezel, circular hour markers, no drilled lugs, and white lume that glows bright green.
As a BB58 owner, there’s no question that you’re operating a very well made watch. The MT5402. COSC-certified in-house automatic movement offers 70 hours of power reserve and is in a no-date format, which is perfect for someone who does not wish to change the date in every few months (I am lazy, I admit that).
My friend joked that the BB58 “Blue” is a baby smurf (referencing the discontinued “Smurf” Ref. 116619 White Gold Blue dial Rolex Submariner) but it’s very different in many ways although it does give some vibe.
At around SGD$5000+, the Black Bay 58 remains a stellar value for those wanting a Submariner-like experience that is directly styled by Tudor’s/Rolex’s history.
Is the Black Bay 58 one of the best entry-level daily drivers that you can wear for all occasions? A resounding YES. Tudor has some of the best values, and I think for watch lovers who prefer the medium size, the Tudor BB58 has much more appeal than the larger standard Black Bay Heritage model.
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