The Tudor Black Bay 54 vs. Black Bay 58

The Tudor Black Bay 54 vs. Black Bay 58

Tudor continues to pay tribute to its most important vintage Submariner watches with yet another Black Bay model, this time the 37mm Black Bay 54 released at this year’s Watches and Wonders Geneva.  With its 37mm case, it has already been positioned by many in the watch collecting community as a smaller edition of the Black Bay 58.  But, of course, we already know it is so much more than that.  The watch pays homage to the vintage Tudor Submariner ref. 7922 from 1954 with a similar case and dial.  But how does it stack up against the Black Bay 58?  

What is the Tudor Black Bay 58?

Black Bay 58 ref. 79030. Photo: Bob's Watches

First, there was the 41mm Black Bay, then the 39mm Black Bay 58, and now the 37mm Black Bay 54.

Tudor developed its own variation of the famous Rolex Submariner in the 1950s.  More specifically, there was the Tudor Submariner “Big Crown” ref. 7924 released in 1958, the brand’s first dive watch with a 200-meter depth rating.  Tudor’s iteration of the Submariner in its various forms remained a fixture of the brand’s portfolio until it was discontinued in 1999.  The first edition of the Black Bay heritage dive watch series came to market in 2012, featuring a modern-sized 41mm case and a distinctive vintage-inspired design set.  Tudor released the Black Bay 58 in 2018, featuring a smaller 39mm case and naming it after a pivotal year in Tudor history – 1958 – the same year Tudor released the ref. 7924.   

Tudor Submariner ref. 7924. Photo Credit: Bob's Watches

Comparing the 1958 Tudor to the Black Bay 58, both feature very similar case proportions, big crowns, similar dots and dashes hour markers, and 200-meter water resistance. The current Black Bay 58 collection houses ten variations produced in various metal finishes, bezel/dial combinations, and bracelet types.  There is a traditional stainless steel model with a faux gilt dial and retro rivet link bracelet like the ref. 7924 and those in precious metals such as yellow gold and 925 silver.

Current Black Bay 58 Features:

Case: 39mm
Finish: Bronze, 925 Silver, 18k Yellow Gold, Stainless Steel
Dial: Black, Blue, Taupe, Green, Brown
Bezel: Aluminum, Unidirectional, 60 Minutes
Bezel Colors: Black, Blue, Taupe, Green, Brown
Crystal: Domed Scratch-Resistant Sapphire
Depth Rating: 200 Meters
Bracelet: Metal, Leather, Fabric
Movement: Automatic

What is the Tudor Black Bay 54?

Black Bay 54 ref. M79000. Photo Credit: Tudor

While the Black Bay 58 was inspired by the Tudor Submariner 7924 from 1958, the Black Bay 54 was mirrored after its predecessor, the very first Tudor Submariner 7922 from 1954.  Ref. 7924 is referred to as the “Big Crown” model, while early editions of the ref. 7922 are known in many watch-collecting circles as the “Small Crown,” although there is debate surrounding reference 7922’s crown size.  Reference 7924 was developed for French divers, featuring increased water resistance of up to 200 meters and a bigger, easier-to-grip crown.  In contrast, some examples of the ref. 7922 sport a smaller crown and a 100-meter depth rating.  Why is that important? True to each of their muses, the Black Bay 58 has a bigger crown than the Black Bay 54, and neither model has crown guards.  Interestingly, both models have the same 200-meter depth rating to offer the wearer all the conveniences of a modern dive watch without straying too far from the recipe of the 1950s Tudor dive watches.

Tudor Submariner ref. 7922. Photo credit: Hodinkee

So far, the Black Bay 54 is only available in stainless steel and with the option for either a rubber strap or rivet link bracelet.  It features a “gilt” dial similar to the stainless steel Black Bay 58 but doesn’t come in nearly as many design set options.  Additionally, the bezel is void of 10-minute markers, just like the ref. 7922 pictured above.

The most obvious difference between the two watches is the case size and how each watch wears on the wrist. The Black Bay 54 measures 37mm in diameter, 11.24mm thick, and 46mm from lug-to-lug, a big improvement from the original Black Bay 41 with a beefy 15mm profile. The Black Bay 58 is slightly larger overall with a 39mm case, 11.9 thickness, and 48mm from lug-to-lug.

A self-winding mechanical movement beats at the heart of each Black Bay model, boasting a coveted COSC rating and a convenient 70-hour power reserve.

Current Black Bay 54 Features:

Case: 37mm
Stainless Steel
Dial: Black
Bezel: Aluminum, Unidirectional, 60 Minutes
Bezel Colors: Black
Crystal: Domed Scratch-Resistant Sapphire
Depth Rating: 200 Meters
Bracelet: Metal, Rubber
Movement: Automatic

Overall, both Tudor models are excellent alternatives to the Black Bay 41, particularly for those who are in the market for a smaller dive watch with a self-winding movement.

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