I first wrote about the Tudor Black Bay more than four years ago when the company launched their in-house calibre MT5602. Since then, the Black Bay has become a household name among watch enthusiasts and casuals alike; akin to being a fashion brand these days. Two days ago, Tudor launched their latest Black Bay Fifty-Eight with Navy Blue bezel and dial. I was not surprised at all, and I’m not a fan. Here’s why.
Milking the Heritage Trend
Am I the only one who is sick of the heritage trend in the watch industry? That’s one of the reasons I fell out of love for watches.
It’s okay to launch a new model that reminds modern consumer of a particular vintage watch from the the golden era of watchmaking. Besides Tudor, there are also many other brands taking this strategy too far (I’m looking at you, Longines). I’m not here to say that Tudor did a terribly job with the Black Bay 58, it’s a huge financial success and has gained many new fans to the brand. Well, this Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue could become a victim of this success. How well would it sit in a collector’s box in say 20-30 years?
I’d really love to see Tudor coming out with a new Chronograph or a GMT watch that is not based on any heritage design. Look at the North Flag and Ranger. They aren’t commercial success like the Black Bay because there’s simply a lack of heart and investment in making them successful.
I don’t know if it’s just me or is Tudor just recycling ideas for this new Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue? It took them 5 years to get from the Black Bay 79220B to THIS. When the watch was announced, I thought it’s almost an insult to watch fans or probably they are trying to appeal to the casuals.
To me, it looks like a lazy rendition combining the 79220B and Black Bay 41 Blue, then marketing it as a reference to the snowflake Tudor Submariner. Too easy, how convenient.
There are also too many people out there sucking up to the brand and giving them laughably good reviews. As consumers, we have to give our honest feedback to encourage and apply enough pressure on watch companies so they never stop innovating. Just look at the brands out there that are not afraid to challenge themselves instead of trying to make everyone happy!
Dodgy AD practices – buy a non-Tudor or older Tudor model so you can get the latest Black Bay? Artificially restricting supply to drive desirability and value? Hell no. The brand wants to appeal to a younger, broader audience but it’s starting to behave like their big brother.
It’s been more than two years since the launch of the Black Bay Fifty-Eight and there’s still no way you can grab it off the shelf at an AD. Looking at the way Tudor is marketing the new Navy Blue, it’s certain that the same pattern will repeat itself. Don’t doubt me, I like the Tudor brand but it’s becoming Rolex-like in a very bad way.
Needless to say, there are still many redeeming factors for the new Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue. Tudor didn’t increase the price, making it a great value watch at US$3,700, so to speak. It retained the MT5402 movement; 70 hours of power reserve, non-magnetic silicon hairspring and free-sprung balance wheel – good stuff as usual.
The BB58 Navy Blue appeals to people who are looking for that taste of nostalgia without going into a rabbit hole of vintage watches. It’s the perfect everyday watch for the casuals, reliable and handsome. It looks so good that there’s no need to learn about the brand history. It’s a Tudor anyway.