We may only be half way through the year, but 2021 has led to quite an interesting display in the world of watches. Of all the brands that could take home the award of “Best in Show”, it would be hard to argue that Tudor wasn’t one of the leaders of the pack. Innovation has been at the forefront for the brand all year long as they’ve launched hit release after hit release. It was just a few months ago that the world received both a sterling silver and a gold Black Bay, something very few ever expected out of the brand known as simply “Rolex’s little brother”. Then last month, a ceramic black bay equipped with the most advanced movement out of the factory in decades, possibly ever just popped up out of nowhere. Little did we know that Tudor wasn’t done….
Expanding on their trend of alternative metals Tudor has announced a Bronze Black Bay Fifty-Eight made of bronze, a material that has long-standing history and uses in many marine applications. This isn’t just any old “copy and paste” Black Bay Fifty-Eight, aside from the obvious fact that it’s bronze, there are a few other features that help this watch stand out from the rest of the BB58 family. Most obvious, is the gorgeous matte brown dial with a gradient that darkens around the minute track. But not only is there a new dial, but Tudor has also implemented the iconic “3,6,9” Arabic Numerals (a first in the Black Bay Fifty-Eight collection), giving the Bronze a look that’s unmistakable compared to its peers.
But if you ask me, the most impressive feature on this watch comes down to the bracelet.(yeah, I said bracelet...solid bronze and all!)The new bronze bracelet is the traditional Fifty-Eight style with riveted links, but utilize a new clasp that Tudor is calling their “T-fit” rapid adjustment system, allowing the user to adjust the bracelet up to 8mm within five positions (quite similar to the Rolex glidelock system that so many of us have come to love).
The Details: Tudor Black Bay Fifty Eight Bronze
The Case:composed of satin-brushed bronze with bronze-colored PVD caseback; dome sapphire crystal; screw down crown
Case Measurement:39mm; 11.9mm thick
Attachment:bronze bracelet with “T-fit” micro-adjust clasp; brown strap included
Dial:gradient matte brown dial with applied Arabic numerals and markers (all with luminescence)
Movement:manufacture calibre MT5400; COSC certified; self-winding mechanical with bi-directional rotor system; 70 hour power reserve; 5 year warranty
Price/Availability: $4,525; available at select Tudor Boutiques only
Initial Thoughts on the New Tudor BB58 Bronze?
Okay, I’ve been saying this for some time, but Tudor should no longer be known as the little brother to Rolex. The brand continues to prove consistently that they deserve to be taken seriously in the hierarchy of Swiss luxury watch brands. While I’ve had this opinion for some time now, this year has really solidified that fact in my mind as they continue to push the envelope when it comes to materials and technology. If I’m being honest, bronze is not my favorite material for watches, and I’ve had a love/hate relationship with it for a long time. Part of me loves this idea of a watch taking on its wearer’s personality in the way it ages. There’s almost a romance to the idea of growing old together. But the other part of me is a bit too meticulous in the way that I like my things to look, and that “no longer new” feeling bronze gets really turns me off when thinking about the material.
Once I wrap my head around the idea of bronze, everything else is a win to me. I love the “Explorer” vibes that you get the moment you see those iconic Arabic numerals on the dial, and hope to see more of this in the BB58 collection soon. And the new micro-adjust clasp!(insert a thousand heart eye emojis here)I genuinely believe that every watch, especially a “dive watch” should have some form of micro adjustment for the bracelet. Maybe that’s because all I wear are sports watches, or maybe it’s because I live in a climate with hot and humid summers that make wearing anything tight uncomfortable, but more watches should have them! It’s a complete game changer for Tudor in appealing to both the general audience and the watch collector community and I’ve got my fingers crossed that this becomes a staple among other timepieces two.
A Downside to the New Tudor Black Bay Bronze...
All that basically to say that this watch is awesome. I would have loved to see Tudor continue their METAS certified movement that they just announced last month, but I’m sure there will be more coming soon. Here’s the downside (because you know it would be too easy if everything was perfect): the watch is only available at select Tudor Boutiques. If you’re thinking to yourself“oh, that’s not too bad, surely there’s a place close to me”, you’re probably wrong. A quick search on the Tudor website and the reality sets in that there are only seventeen countries and less than fifty Tudor boutiques in which you can purchase this watch (none of which include the United States which my wallet is probably most thankful for). Thinking maybe you'll snag one next time you're in Switzerland? Thing again-- no Swiss boutiques on the list either. Honestly, a bit of a disappointment and an unusual move for the brand. Maybe there’s hope that this will be like the recent Tudor Royal collection and will eventually work its way into regular production and distribution.
Of course, there is always the hope of international travel once again now that many countries are opening their borders once again. Nothing says “family vacation” like a trip to the Tudor Boutique abroad right? Just be sure to pack light to allow that new watch box to fit in your luggage. I recommend one of our Everest watch rolls (the cork is my favorite) to accompany you on your journey, perfect for keeping your watches safe during travels and stored away at your destination.
Written by: K. Wells