The Black Bay Fifty-Eight quickly became one of Tudor's flagship models. Its contained size, the neo-retro vibe, the Submariner Big Crown 7924 inspiration, all contributed to the watch's undeniable charm and immediate success with both watch enthusiasts and a more "mainstream" clientele. Following its introduction in 2018 with a black-dialed reference with guilt details, Tudor introduced a Navy Blue declination two years later that offers a different atmosphere, both sleeker and perhaps more contemporary. It is the success of this simple and effective renewal strategy that has allowed Tudor to maintain the momentum and interest around this model. In fact, in everyone's mind, the Black Bay Fifty-Eight is first and foremost the "Fifty-Eight", as if to remind us of its particular and autonomous dimension within the brand's catalog.
The year 2021 is marked by the amplification of this key role. The Fitfy-Eight is no longer a simple watch but a line. Two new references have been added to this line, which now includes 9 variations according to dial colors, strap types and now case materials. This year's big news is that the Fifty-Eight is now also available in yellow gold and 925 silver, but these materials are not the only feature of these two new models, because unlike the other references, they both have a see-though caseback that allows to see the MT5400 movement.
The Fifty-Eight 925 is my favorite new watch of the year from Tudor. I love the color range and it has a touch of excitement and uniqueness due to the use of an original material: 925 silver. It may seem surprising to talk about originality when mentioning silver, but the reality is that after being frequently used, this material had almost disappeared from watch cases. However, for several years, some brands had used it again and I think of Ralph Lauren with its Western watches or more recently Zenith with a limited series: the Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Silver. But it is with this Tudor Fifty-Eight that silver is really making a comeback: the size of the brand and the fact that it concerns one of its bestsellers give me this feeling.
The number 925, which is found in the name of the watch, reminds us that it is not pure silver that is used but an alloy whose composition of the remaining 7.5% remains a secret. We can imagine that Tudor has adopted a similar approach to that of its bronze case, the objective being to obtain a stable material and adapted to the context of use of the watch. However, given the properties of silver, it is not necessary to use titanium for the part in contact with the skin. The case is therefore entirely made of this alloy if I put aside the see-through caseback of course. The question that remains will be to know how it will evolve over several years.
The interest of this alloy is triple. First, it makes Tudor's approach more daring in the context of a chromatic renewal of an existing model. Second, it gives originality and uniqueness to this version given the rarity of contemporary silver watches. Finally, and this is the main reason, or at least the most noticeable one, the alloy is perfectly adapted to the range of colors used.
I must admit that I have rarely seen such a harmony of colors between the case, the bezel and the dial. The Fifty-Eight 925 offers a very nice composition of grays that manages to give off enough warmth and vibrancy. This is achieved by the combination of the satin silver 925 case, the matte taupe eloxed aluminum bezel and the taupe colored dial. The taupe color could be defined as a kind of gray with a hint of brown injected in it. The silver case is distinguished by its reflections that are both more subtle and warmer than those of a steel case. The taupe color of the bezel and the dial blend ideally with the reflections of the case. The whole is finally in a similar trend as the Navy Blue, that is to say embodying a style both soft and contemporary. I have a preference for the Fifty-Eight 925 because I find it more refined with a more original color range in the current watchmaking offer. The blue being seen in all the sauces and in all the price ranges, it ends up being boring.
For the rest, the Fifty-Eight 925 has the usual characteristics of the inaugural model, namely a diameter of 39mm, a water resistance of 200 meters, the unidirectional rotating bezel, the dial and domed sapphire crystal and the famous snow flake hands. However, there is one major difference: the transparent back. Its presence has two consequences. The first is to make the watch slightly thicker (12.7mm vs 11.9mm). The second is to be able to observe the MT5400 manufacture movement.
I am very hesitant about this aspect. On the one hand I understand Tudor's approach: from a commercial point of view, making the movement visible is an undeniable plus, especially for a less informed public. It is also a way to distinguish itself from Rolex on watches with similar vocation. On the other hand, I was not fully convinced by the interest of the show. The MT5400 movement is an excellent movement, one of the best in its category: it is reliable, precise (chronometer certified) with quality performances (an excellent winding efficiency and a 70 hours power reserve for a 4hz frequency). But it is not very beautiful. Above all, the winding mass is not very distinct from the plate and the bridges. I was not seduced and even if the movement is visible, Tudor should have worked a minimum on the rendering of the winding mass to give more contrast. A grey coating could have been a solution combined with enhancing decorations on the bridges. That's why I think that keeping the solid back would have been welcome.
Once put on the wrist, this detail is forgotten and the pleasure of enjoying a watch that is both sporty and elegant takes over very quickly. Its great versatility is expressed both in use and from an aesthetic point of view. It is really the harmonious rendering of colors that is its main strength. Generally, a watch with a grey color scheme can seem dull and sad. This is absolutely not the case with the Fifty-Eight 925. The mixture of gray gives elegance, subtlety and the piece remains dynamic and warm. In this context, the choice of a 925 silver case makes sense.
Two straps are available: either the taupe fabric strap or a brown leather strap, both with a 925 silver buckle. Both work very well but it is the leather strap that is my favorite. It brings more contrast and highlights the subtle shades of gray better. More importantly, I find that its texture better matches the casual sophistication of the watch. The price of the watch is in both options of 4,050 euros (in France), a difference of 900 euros compared to the Navy Blue or Black models. The question is whether this difference is justified. I think it is. First of all, the construction of the case with the see-through back generates more constraints. And there is the specificity of the use of the alloy. But the customer is not interested in these production cost issues. The most important thing for him/her is to know if the watch is attractive enough to be ready to pay the extra price. In my opinion, the visual appeal, the color scheme, the silver highlights, all these little details make the Fifty-Eight 925 special, desirable and justify the price difference.
In any case, with the release of this watch and the one in yellow gold, Tudor effectively completes the offer of the Fifty-Eight line. Customers can choose between sporty, casual, elegant and even precious watches, all in a neo-retro style with more or less contemporary atmospheres. This is indeed a demonstration of the importance that this Fifty-Eight line plays in Tudor's development ambition.
+ a justified use of 925 silver
+ a harmonious combination of colors
+ a great versatility both in use and from an aesthetic point of view
- the decoration of the movement lacks contrast which makes its observation hardly exciting