Tudor’s popular Black Bay Bronze is now available in the Fifty-Eight case variant. The color scheme is most similar to the first Black Bay Bronze with a brown dial and red bezel at 43mm. The newest version is now available in 39mm, and comes with a bracelet and a complimentary fabric strap. Only available directly through Tudor boutiques, the new watch has quickly become Tudor’s most sought after model.
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight Bronze Boutique Edition
Retail is SGD 6,240 inclusive of GST.
Sized at 39mm, the smaller sized case feels more restrained as compared to its 43mm predecessor. This reduced case size makes it more suitable for a full bronze bracelet, otherwise too loud on the 43mm case Black Bay Bronze.
The case material is an alloy of Bronze and Aluminum, mixed to Tudor’s specifications. The ideal ‘Bronze’ case ages with time, visibly manifested with a darkening tone on the metal. Tudor’s ‘Bronze’ was designed to age with restraint, with a homogenous patina throughout the case but without the extreme spectrum of ‘greening’ on the metal.
The inspiration for Bronze as a case material on a dive watch stems from its usage in naval engineering for submerged parts. Aluminium Bronze alloys tend to have higher levels of corrosion resistance and is commonly used on propellers.
A notable difference between the original 43mm Bronze brown dial and the current model is the use of a gradient dial. The new Bronze model uses the same explorer layout dial, with 3, 6, 9, Arabic numerals hour markers. It however, has an additional gradient effect which darkens outwards towards the periphery of the dial.
While the external center case and bracelet are designed to patina over time, elements within the watch like the rehaut, hands and bezel insert were designed not to change color with time. The bezel insert numerals, rehaut and hands are thus rose gold plated instead of the using the same bronze material used in the case.
New Bronze Bracelet
While TUDOR has been exploring bronze in its collection for several years, the Black Bay Fifty-Eight Bronze model marks the first time that the brand has produced a bracelet entirely from bronze. Its satin-brushed links adopting the style of TUDOR bracelets of the 1950s and ’60s, with rivets, are coordinated with the case and will develop a patina at the same pace. A new bronze clasp, also satin-brushed, with a redesigned cover and TUDOR “T-fit” rapid adjustment system for the length, completes the total bronze look. As compared to the Rolex glidelock, the new T-fit operates more smoothly and has lesser wear on the bracelet links when adjusting.
The Manufacture Calibre MT5400, has a 70 hour power reserve and is self-winding. While the caseback hides the workhorse movement, the movement can still be viewed on other Fifty-Eight open case back models. The MT5400 uses a tungsten monobloc, openwork and satin-brushed with sand-blasted details, and its bridges and mainplate have alternate sand-blasted, polished surfaces and laser decorations.
The movement offers a 70-hour power reserve meaning that its wearer can, for example, take off the watch on Friday evening and put it on again on Monday morning without having to wind it. Beating to a frequency of 28,800 bph, the movement is regulated by a variable inertia oscillator with silicon balance spring, held in place by a traversing bridge – a guarantee of its robustness. And is certified by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC).
A fun fact to note, where COSC allows an average variation in the daily running of a watch of between -4 and +6 seconds in relation to absolute time in a single movement, TUDOR insists on between -2 and +4 seconds’ variation in its running when it is completely assembled.
The 39mm wears better than its predecessor especially for those with slimmer wrists. The full bracelet is expectedly heavy, and weighs slightly heavier than a full steel variant. A full bracelet as opposed to only being on straps, is a great option to have especially for those in warmer climates. For those who use their watches in water, a bracelet will also dry much faster than on a fabric strap.
With its long power reserve, high accuracy and head turning looks, the full Bronze Tudor is definitely worth considering if one is in the market for Bronze. The thrill of watch and wearer interaction over time in creating unique patina on the watch is romantically adventurous, a core element of the Tudor brand. The watch is priced at US$4,525, just $225 more than the Fifty-Eight silver at US$4,300.
One practical concern that owners may have when changing out the bracelet to a strap, is that the bracelet may patina at a different rate as compared to the watch head. Otherwise, the Black Bay Fifty-Eight Bronze is once more a fun addition to the growing line of metal options that Tudor offers today.
The Tudor Black Bay Bronze was photographed in our studio over a short term loan of the sample “dummy”. Hasselblad H3D-39 with HC 4/120 Macro and HC 2.8/80 with H28 extension tube. Profoto strobes.