Now here’s a surprise. The much-loved 39mm Black Bay Fifty-Eight is now available in bronze, a watchmaking material long associated with marine endeavors – and one known for its tendency to patinate, often rapidly, and in unique ways depending on who’s wearing it, where, and how. Tudor’s been busy playing with materials this year; only about a month ago the brand dropped a ceramic 41mm Black Bay. We also saw silver and gold updates to the line back in April at Watches & Wonders Geneva. Now, in addition to two extant steel versions, you can choose your Black Bay Fifty-Eight from any of the Olympic medal metals.
For the watch you see here, Tudor is going full-on bronze, using the same aluminum bronze alloy that it’s worked with for five years now. The watch comes on a matching bronze bracelet, which is new for Tudor, but has been seen from brands such as Oris. We’ve already seen a number of versions of the 43mm Black Bay Bronze, but those have all come on straps. The bracelet also debuts a new clasp with a redesigned cover and Tudor “T-fit” rapid adjustment system (shown below). This lets you adjust the bracelet in five positions, covering a total of 8mm with quick, no-tool micro-adjustments. That’s exciting. The clasp on my original Black Bay Fifty-Eight, though well-designed and conveying a feeling of quality, has only three micro-adjustment positions and requires tooling. If the full-bronze bracelet is too much for you, or if you want to dial the watch’s look down a few clicks, Tudor is also including, free of charge, one of their truly great fabric straps, woven for Tudor on 19th-century looms at Julien Faure, a French firm that weaves liturgical vestments for the Vatican.
The Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight Bronze is fitted with a shaded matte brown dial with matching brown anodized-aluminum bezel. Under the warm brown dial and bezel, which retains the “Explorer-style” 3, 6, and 9, numerals of the original Black Bay Bronze, is Tudor’s automatic MT5400, which comes with 70 hours of power reserve and is chronometer certified by COSC. The Black Bay Fifty-Eight Bronze is available at around 50 Tudor boutiques worldwide. There’s currently no Tudor Boutique in the USA (although there is a Canadian Tudor boutique, in Toronto, where James was able to shoot the included photos). This will change soon, however, as Tudor is slated to open a boutique in New York’s Meatpacking district this summer. When it opens, that boutique will be the only place in the States where you can buy the watch you see right here.While bronze watches were once a pretty rare thing to see, nowadays, a numbers of brands work with the material. By making the Black Bay Fifty-Eight in Bronze, Tudor is continuing its recent push into materials while offering a bronze watch in a wearable size for the small- and medium-wristed among us. The Black Bay Bronze has been a popular model since it came out five years ago. But at 43mm in diameter, it’s been a pretty beefy choice. I’ve long been intrigued by bronze watches as a category and thought the Black Bay Bronze was a cool watch, but I resisted it mainly due to its larger size. With a 39mm Black Bay Fifty-Eight version now on the table, I’m seriously tempted, and I already have a Black Bay Fifty-Eight.
There is also the matter of the new bronze clasp, which now offers five easy micro-adjustments of the bracelet without a tool. This is a major upgrade, and places the Black Bay Fifty-Eight alongside the Tudor Pelagos as a watch with a clasp that can make easy micro-adjustments on the fly. I used to wish that the Black Bay Fifty-Eight bracelet would come with the Pelagos clasp or something like it. Now, at least in the bronze version, we see a rapid adjustment feature that figures to give the watch improved versatility between hot and cool seasons. An animation on the Tudor site demonstrates how the clasp uses a combination of sliding and folding motions to shorten and lengthen. Time will tell whether we will see this clasp on future or existing watches in the Tudor collection. At first glance, it looks like a big improvement on the existing clasp on my Black Bay Fifty-Eight, and I’ve got my fingers crossed.
Model: Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight Bronze
Reference Number: 79012M
Case Material: Bronze case with bronze-colored PVD steel caseback. Domed sapphire crystal
Dial Color: Brown bronze color, domed
Indexes: Applied luminous numerals for 3, 6, and 9, and applied luminous markers
Water Resistance: 200 meters
Strap/Bracelet: Full bronze bracelet with complimentary “brown bronze” colored strap