The Tudor Black Bay 58 (BB58) has really been the star of their watch line up and for good reason to! With its incredible heritage, phenomenal build and modern combination with a vintage design, the BB58 does a lot of things right and has become a highly desirable watch. Tudor has had a long journey with the BB58 and it has been developed and refined over the last few decades. Today, we are going to dive into the history of this phenomenal watch and look at how the BB58 has become what it is today. 

Black Bay 58

The beginning of a great history

Starting right from the beginning, Tudor was a Sister company to Rolex and founded in 1926 by Hans Wilsdorf, the same founder of Rolex. Tudor was created as a cheaper alternative to Rolex to offer tool watches to a broader range of people. Naturally, with the Rolex Submariner being Rolex’ big hit in the early days, Tudor also decided to take on the challenge of constructing and engineering the perfect dive watch at a lower price point. What Tudor made was the Oyster Prince Submariner (ref 7922) in 1958 which would make this watch the oldest relative in the Tudor watch family to the BB58. The watch marked the beginning of the BB range Tudor offer today and you can easily see the heritage today from their first ever dive watch. The big round crown, Tudor rose logo and rose gold guild dial were slowly but surely coming to life.

Black Bay 58
Black Rubber Strap for Black Bay 58

In 2012, Tudor went for it and lauded the BB heritage line which paid tribute to their 7922 model. The watch was a success with its modern build quality and features but with the charm and looks of a well-aged vintage diver. However, coming in at a case size of 41mm and thickness of almost 15mm, this was by no means a small watch. 

Now whilst in 2023 we’ve seen many watchmakers increase the size of their cases and even thickness, back in 2012 this would have been a very large watch. So much so that unless you had relatively large wrists and didn’t mind the thick case, it was a watch that was hard to wear for a lot of people. 

This was then the time for Tudor to show that they listened to their customers and took all the positives of the BB Heritage and refined all the negatives to create the perfect dive watch. The BB58 was also launched in 2012 and it was love at first sight for most watch enthusiasts, obviously no watch is perfect but for what you paid and got, Tudor was really pioneering the way for cheaper dive watches. 

The BB58 featured a water resistance of 200m, aluminium bezel and rose gold indices against a black dial. Whilst not necessarily the deepest depth of water resistance, if we’re all benign completely honest, how many of us would actually take it anywhere near this depth…? Still, 200m water resistance is impressive given its 39mm case and 11.9mm thickness, so a slight trade-off between water resistance and wear ability across a greater number of wrists. 

Black Bay 58

Source : Hodinkee

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Black Bay 58

Source : Monochrome Watches

The aluminium bezel insert makes for a less shiny glossy bezel compared to a ceramic one, which really helps bring out the vintage heritage in the BB58 and makes it look like more of a tool watch. The famous snowflake hands and indices made from rose gold and filled with super-luminova, it really is one of the most legible watches in the dark. 

The red triangle at the 12 o’clock point of the bezel makes for a subtle bit of additional colour which makes the overall watch feel like there is more going on. It really is a watch that ties in modern design and specifications with that gorgeous vintage sizing and style.

Tudor gave the BB58 a distinct feature that only the BB58 features, something that has many people with divided opinions. Faux rivets. If you look on the side of the bracelet that faces the crown of the watch, you will see these polished nail head looking bumps where a screw would be to hold the link together. 

Features of the Black Bay Fifty-Eight

Tudor gave the BB58 a distinct feature that only the BB58 features, something that has many people with divided opinions. Faux rivets. If you look on the side of the bracelet that faces the crown of the watch, you will see these polished nail head looking bumps where a screw would be to hold the link together. In terms of why Tudor added them, they did it to pay tribute to their older models where they really would have used rivets to fix the bracelet together. 

However, the modern-day Tudor (post 2010) may feature rivets but they are purely there for show and use screws instead of an old-fashioned rivet. Hence the term ‘faux rivets’ meaning false rivets. Regardless of whether you would prefer Tudor to keep or remove them, since they face outwards on the bracelet towards the crown, you really can’t see them when they watch it on your wrist. If you prefer to wear your watch on your right then the crown of the BB58 would be facing you so naturally you would notice them a lot more!

Black Bay 58

One element that has really helped Tudor stand out compared to all other brands including its older Sister Rolex, it’s sizing. There is the old and outdated saying “Tudor is a poor man's Rolex” or “you only buy Tudor because you cannot afford the Rolex ''. Potentially this was true back in the 1970’ to early 2000 when Tudor literally did make identical watches to Rolex. Since 2000 though, Tudor has really gone off on its own and created new innovative watches with a different feel and look to Rolex. Now you could easily argue, you buy a Tudor because you want the Tudor and not because you can’t afford the Rolex. 

lot of Black Bay 58

Not only are Tudor watches impeccably well made, they have received much praise for their sizing. In 2022 and 2023, we’ve seen more and more watch makers increasing their case diameter but Tudor have not only kept their perfect sweet spot sizing of 39mm but they have even created new models with smaller sizing. Whilst Tudor easily offer larger variants of all their models, it’s nice to know that they are really trying to make sure that regardless of wrist size, you can have the perfect tool watch fit your wrist like a dream.

Whilst not directly in the BB58 range, it’s definitely worth pointing out that Tudor Black Bay range has an incredible amount of colour and strap options available to choose from. So, if you like the dive watch style of watch but want a bit more colour or a more unique look then Tudor really have your answer!

 What’s also interesting to note, is that the BB58 is not listed under the Tudor Black Bay range on their website, instead it’s under their dive watch category. This really shows that Tudor have made a professional dive watch and not just a good-looking watch that takes on the moto “all the gear but no idea”, it actually can be worn and used like a dive watch. 

Whilst not offering nearly as many colour options as the entire Black Bay range, it does still give you the option between the classic black and rose gold look and with the forever popular colour, an all blue look. In 2021, Tudor sent watch enthusiasts crazier than ever with the new all blue variation of the BB58 and they didn’t stop there either, they then came out with a solid Silver, bronze and all gold piece too! One thing to note is that if you want a metal bracelet then only the regular stainless steel and bronze model are your options. 

The solid bronze BB58 attracted a lot of attention and not justice because of its beautiful colour and mix of the brown dial with the bronze, it was its new bracelet. The bracelet was almost exactly the same apart from one feature that Tudor plans on adding to the rest of the BB58 range. The Tudor T Fit clasp was first introduced onto the BB58 bronze, and it looks very similar to that of its older Sisters Rolex Submariner clasp, but that’s by no means a bad thing. 

3 rubber strap for Black Bay 58

A tried and tested clasp, the famous submariner glidelock clasp finally received a Tudor modification, the T Fit clasp offers a glidelock system with 5mm of extra extension. Whilst it doesn't sound like a lot, it’s definitely enough to make the difference between a watch benign too tight or loose when your wrist swells throughout the day. So, if having the new Tudor T Fit Clasp on your bracelet is a must to give you that on the go quick adjustment practicality and you really want a BB58 and not their brand new BB54 or Tudor Pelagos 39, the Tudor BB58 bronze is the way to go!

The Tudor BB58 range has really helped bring the attention Tudor deserves to its watches. To have all the modern features and specifications of a dive watch in 2023 but yet manage to combine the looks and original design from its first ancestry is something seldom seen in the watch world. Yet alone to have been as successful for as long the Tudor BB58 has, it just goes to show Tudor really has mastered the ability to design, create and listen to its audience like no other watch brand. From the ability to be used as a tool watch, worn whilst diving, hiking or any other sporting activity but then be casually worn with a shirt simultaneously. 

Creating such a versatile dive watch is by no means an easy task but Tudor knew exactly what they were doing back in 2012 when they created the BB58. From the subtle rose gold highlights, aluminium bezel and perfect 39mm dimensions, it really offers a large range of wrist the opportunity to wear a phenomenal dive watch at an incredible price point. With multiple variations offered, those who prefer something unique like silver, bronze or solid gold, you have got the pick of your range at Tudor when it comes to the perfect dive watch offered by the BB58.