The least that can be said is that Tudor has remained focused on its subject in 2020. If I set aside the recently introduced Tudor Royal, which is dedicated at this stage to the Asian market, the brand has unveiled only one worldwide novelty this year: the Black Bay 58 Navy Blue. It is, as its name indicates, a variation of the Black Bay 58 with a black dial that was presented two years ago.
The Black Bay 58, it's a bit as if Tudor went to the end of the logic. Its Black Bay collection generally includes watches influenced by models from the past and the Black Bay 58 is the one that plays the neo-retro card by drawing its inspiration directly from the diver's watches of the 1950s. The exercise is much more difficult than one might think. A neo-retro watch must take up codes while being totally adapted to today's context in terms of performance and ease of daily use. And Tudor had managed to find this balance, the Black Bay 58 released in 2018 having aroused the interest of amateurs, seduced by its more reasonable diameter (39mm) and especially its more refined style obtained thanks to a 12mm thick case, 3mm less than the Black Bay 41mm. In addition, the black dial and bezel with subtle golden touches, as well as the "Snowflake" hands and the "Big Crown" adorned with a rose, were able to convince even the most reticent thanks to their charm and their elegant and dynamic contrasts.
The Black Bay 58 Navy Blue offers no real break with its predecessor. It is simply a change of colours. However, the result is much more noticeable than this pure aesthetic evolution. In fact, the atmosphere of the watch changes completely. Black replaces blue, gold is replaced by a silver colour and with a wave of a magic wand, the Black Bay 58 becomes much more contemporary and in a way quieter, softer.
The blue colours of the bezel and dial are in any case perfectly balanced. Although Tudor presents its blue under the term "Navy Blue", the colours that are used are actually lighter than the real navy blue. The watch also has a very strong propensity to create beautiful blue reflections depending on the light conditions. What is also interesting to note is that the anodised aluminium bezel reacts differently to light than the dial. It becomes more vivid while the dial becomes lighter and tends towards blue-grey. This creates a contrast which adds interest to the watch.
From a mechanical point of view, the Black Bay 58 Navy Blue is obviously powered by the in-house calibre MT5402 which is chronometer certifed. It is a movement that I really appreciate because of its excellent winding efficiency and its long power reserve (70 hours) for a 4hz frequency. Such a power reserve is practical when you have to put the watch down for at least two days but the Black Bay 58 Navy Blue's vocation is to remain on your wrist in all circumstances.
For the great strength of this watch is its versatility. Despite its 200 meter water-resistance, the Black Bay 58 Navy Blue offers, as previously mentioned, reasonable proportions which give it a lot of cachet and style. The versatility is therefore not purely technical, it is also aesthetic. This adaptability is accentuated by the set of bracelets available: either the steel bracelet, or the "soft touch" strap (a synthetic material similar to flannel) with folding clasp, or the fabric strap from Julien Faure in St-Etienne. I was able to test the watch for several days with this fabric strap and was impressed by its ability to hold it perfectly on the wrist and by its great comfort, the buckle being very discreet. The central silver edging adds a touch of originality and I think this strap is my favourite of the three for this reason.
The Black Bay 58 Navy Blue is indeed a more peaceful, smoother piece than the Black Bay 58 Black. That's why I tend to prefer the latter which is more dynamic and energetic in my opinion. Anyway, the Black Bay 58 Navy Blue is an excellent watch that offers a lot for a price of 3.160 euros in France (with a fabric or "soft touch" strap) or 3.460 euros (steel bracelet). It offers style, charm, versatility and, above all, impeccable manufacturing quality reinforced by the performance of its movement. Unsurprisingly, given its excellent timing of presentation just before the holidays, it was the watch of the summer of 2020 for a large number of enthusiasts. A real hit... and one that will last much longer than just one summer.
+ excellent overall quality for the price
+ the performance of the MT5402 movement
+ the comfort of the fabric strap
- the atmosphere is less contrasted and dynamic than the black version which makes me prefer the latter.