Last week’s Watches & Wonders produced a whole host of new releases for collectors to puzzle over and ponder (Black Panther AP, anyone?). Tudor was no exception to this rule, releasing five new reference variations for collectors to covet. Last week, we took a look at the Black Bay Fifty-Eight 18k, a brushed gold watch with a khaki green dial. Tudor fans were intrigued by the precious metal Black Bay 58 18K, a warm-toned winner for just under 17k. But Tudor didn’t stop there. It also released a BB58 in sterling silver, a similarly unorthodox metal choice paired with a taupe dial.
Silver: The Other White Metal
When most brands release a watch in precious metal, white gold is almost always presented at the opposite side of the spectrum from yellow gold. It keeps the cool tones associated with stainless steel but elevates the materials and the finishes. Rather than choosing white gold, Tudor chose sterling silver for the taupe BB58, an extremely rare metal in the watch world. Collectors have seen one other silver watch this year, the Zenith Pilot Type 20 Chronograph Silver, which showcased a sterling silver dial in addition to a silver case. We’re interested to see how the watch ages, and if the tarnishing of the silver alloy will lead to an appreciation for a very different type of patina. Perhaps it’s a bellwether, the first in a line of silver watches to come from other brands as well.
Taupe, There It Is
Many collectors predicted the BB 58 would appear at Watches and Wonders with a new dial color, and they weren’t wrong about it. Several industry experts predicted a green dial, but nobody expected...taupe. This understated greige dial is a contemporary neutral. (Tudor’s promotional materials refer to it as a “mod” color -- and we won’t argue with that assessment.) It can pair well with a lot of different outfits, from jeans to suiting. It’s a shade warmer than a matte or gloss black. Ultimately, it provides a less stark alternative to the traditional black dial, and it looks great with a silver case and bracelet.
Caseback to Where You Once Belonged `
Both the gold and silver versions of the Black Bay Fifty-Eight were fitted with a display caseback, an incredibly unusual choice for a dive watch, which boasts a legacy of waterproof submersion several hundred meters below sea level. An exhibition caseback Just Isn’t Done on dive watches. However, in 2021, it’s probably time for collectors to acknowledge that dive watches have evolved beyond their original purpose. Most folks wearing a dive watch aren’t going to use it to time descents and ascents. Consequently, a sapphire glass caseback isn’t impractical. By putting a display caseback on the Black Bay Fifty-Eight, Tudor is instead acknowledging what sets mechanical watch collectors apart from your typical watch buyer. Tudor buyers have a love for and interest in the movement of a watch. Knowing a world-class COSC-certified in-house movement is under the case is one thing, but being able to see it every time you put on or take off the watch is a subtle daily reminder of the impressive technology underneath the hood.
No Risk, No Reward
With this release, Tudor continues to establish itself as a brand that will make bold choices and changes. It’s willing to take big risks to reap big rewards. Tudor’s size and agility allows it to be more playful and experimental than Rolex, who continues to conservatively tweak case sizes and bracelet styles. Tudor’s not afraid to keep everyone talking, even if the topic and tenor of those conversations vary widely.
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By: Meghan Clark