In spring 2021, Tudor released two new watches: the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925 ref. 79010SG made of 925 silver and the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 18k ref. 79018V crafted from 18-karat gold. Since day one, the sterling silver version was in the spotlight. It boasts a warm gray dial and bezel and matte silver finish, making it much more versatile than its 18-karat sibling. The gold version, on the other hand, raised some eyebrows from the get-go due to the use of precious metal and the corresponding increased price point. It hasn’t managed to step out of the shadows of its silver counterpart – until now, that is. Two years after the release of this pair, we’re finally starting to get some pushback about the patina forming on the 925. Apparently, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. In turn, the “forgotten” gold Fifty-Eight is suddenly looking more attractive. Thus, the tides seem to be turning for this pair. Read on to see for yourself – goldie has it all!
The Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 18k: First Impressions
Let’s begin with what makes the 18k Tudor so attractive. For starters, the watch is made of solid 18-karat yellow gold, the oldest of all the gold types. It’s also Tudor’s first-ever solid gold model. The precious metal was previously only available in two-tone models, but even then, most of the gold components were gold-plated. Here, however, all the vital parts – case, crown, and bezel – are made of pure gold. Moreover, the hands and indices are solid gold for the first time. Of course, this has long been standard at Rolex.
The real highlight, however, is in the finishing. The gold surface is satin-brushed, giving the watch a gorgeous matte finish that you won’t want to take your eyes off of. It also helps the timepiece stand out from its fellow gold watches. It’s notably less glamorous and bold, and decidedly more discreet. In fact, I’d argue that the Black Bay Fifty-Eight in yellow gold showcases a finer side of the precious metal, all the while maintaining a sporty flair. It is, without a doubt, the most subtle gold watch I’ve ever seen. The dial and bezel share a yellow green hue. Why not blue or black instead of a strange green, you wonder? Well, first impressions can be deceiving. Go on, take another look.
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 18k: Second Impressions
When you take the watch into daylight, you’ll see that the anodized aluminum bezel is actually a rich moss green tone. The bezel inlay features a gold-plated 60-minute scale with the classic luminous pearl at the 12 o’clock position. The 60-point rotating bezel is unparalleled both in terms of sound and feel. This is just one of many finer details that proves the brand’s proximity to Rolex. The matte green dial features gold lettering and indices, but the dial itself isn’t a completely uniform tone. It has a slightly speckled texture that gives it a somewhat grainy look in certain lighting conditions. I’d go so far as to say it looks like the dial has an age-related patina on it. I couldn’t fully appreciate the dial until I saw it in natural light; both digital images and the artificial light of the Tudor boutique didn’t do it justice. This is one of those watches that only shows its true colors in varying natural light. It transitions from a rich mossy tone to an olive green to almost a black-green. Sometimes it looks to be synonymous with the bezel color; other times, it’s in full contrast. It truly is a one-of-a-kind interplay of colors that shines brilliantly in combination with the matte gold case. You have to see it to believe it!
The watch comes delivered with two bands: a dark brown alligator leather strap with tan stitching and a high-quality Tudor textile strap in olive green with a gold stripe down the middle. The latter is made near Saint-Étienne, France, and both feature an 18-karat gold pin buckle – amazing! Buckle manufacturers charge upwards of $1,000 for comparable gold clasps.
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 18k: Dimensions and Movement
|Case material||18-karat yellow gold|
|Case diameter||39 mm|
|Case back||Sapphire crystal|
|Water resistance||20 bar (200 m, 656 ft)|
|Power reserve||70 hours|
|Bracelet||Brown alligator leather
Green textile strap
18k yellow gold pin buckle
The Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 18k has the dimensions you might expect. The case measures 39 mm across and 47 mm lug-to-lug, meaning the model’s famous wearing comfort remains intact. The watch’s thickness has increased by 0.8 mm compared to its stainless steel siblings, coming in at 12.7 mm. This is due to the addition of the display case back. The lug width remains the same at 20 mm.
The in-house MT5400 is chronometer-certified by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) and boasts a power reserve of 70 hours, making it one of the best in its price bracket. The watch is also water-resistant to 200 m (20 bar, 656 ft). All in all, this timepiece offers the robustness, reliability, precision, and durability you’d expect.
The Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 18k: Negatives
Following extensive research into this reference, I can sum up the main points of criticism as follows (many of which I shared initially):
- One of the most criticized elements of this watch is its display case back. It is a very unusual feature on a diving watch. Plus, the MT5400 isn’t a particularly beautiful movement to behold.
- The watch doesn’t come standard with a gold bracelet. This is not the case with most of its competitors, giving the impression that something is missing and limiting your band options.
- The green tone isn’t that appealing, especially when paired with yellow gold.
- Tudor is generally known for its accessible prices. Therefore, the Black Bay Fifty-Eight 18k with a list price of $16,800 lies well outside the brand’s comfort zone.
The Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 18k: Positives
- The transparent case back actually makes the watch significantly lighter, meaning the gold watch weighs in at just 103 g. This makes it more comfortable to wear, especially on the NATO strap. While they opted against using the precious metal for the band itself, Tudor did splurge on outfitting both straps with 18-karat gold clasps.
- The missing gold bracelet makes the reference comparatively affordable for a luxury gold watch. If it were part of the package, the price would jump by at least 50%.
- Digital images and artificial indoor light just don’t do this watch justice. Its true colors only shine in natural daylight.
- With a list price of $16,800, there’s no question that this is a very reasonably priced mechanical gold watch – we’d expect nothing less from Tudor.
The Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 18k ref. 79018V seems like it hasn’t quite reached its full potential yet. Bar my two-tone Rolex GMT-Master II “Root Beer,” my personal collection has featured exclusively stainless steel models – until now! What do you think? Would things change for you if the market price of this golden child continued its downward trend and fell below the $10,000 mark in the coming weeks?