The Tudor Black Bay 58 GMT

Tudor has finally given customers what they’ve been asking for – a wearable GMT

Watches & Jewellery 12 Jun 2024

Tudor’s Black Bay 58 GMT with a black and burgundy bezel

Tudor’s Black Bay 58 GMT has sparked conversation with its black and burgundy bezel, but has undergone extensive tests for robustness

Tudor most certainly came out a winner at this year’s Watches & Wonders, the leading global horology event, held in April. Not for doing something crazy or launching an entirely new collection but simply for giving people what they want. When Tudor launched its first Black Bay GMT in 2018, some factions raised the very valid point that, at 41mm and with a thickness of 15mm, it wasn’t for those with more delicate wrists. The Black Bay Pro GMT came along in 2022 with a smaller, 39mm case but with only 0.4mm shaved off the case height it still wasn’t slim enough. This year, Tudor answered Black Bay fans’ requests and unveiled a 39mm GMT with a (comparatively) slender 12.8mm case.

It is the watch for those who want a proper GMT – one with immediate local hour jump and 24-hour hand, used in conjunction with the 24-hour bezel – that doesn’t command the same sorts of prices as those higher up the horological food chain. It’s also a watch you can wear and forget about, in a practical sense. The case is stainless steel, it has a 200m water resistance, the accuracy is 0/+5 per day and, as indicated by the words “Master Chronometer”, is certified by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (Metas).

When Tudor unveiled its own manufacture in Le Locle in 2023, one of the major talking points, apart from the robots, was that, like Omega, Tudor had set itself up to enable testing some of its watches to Metas specifications. Those robots were part of this, allowing the facility, which also conducts normal levels of testing, to run 24 hours a day. However, it was an interesting decision on the brand’s part in no small way because of the hoops these watches have to jump through.

Tudor Black Bay 58 GMT
The Tudor Black Bay 58 GMT features a black and burgundy – or “Coke” – bezel

To earn the moniker “Master Chronometer”, the finished watch, whose movement is first COSC- certified, passes tests approved by Metas that replicate real-life wearing conditions and demonstrate resistance to water and magnetic fields. First, the movement is exposed, demagnetised and then re-exposed to 15,000 gauss in two different positions. It is then put in six different positions and subjected to two alternative temperatures over four days while still being exposed to 15,000 gauss with results being taken daily and an average worked out over the four days. The power reserve is tested, with the watch being placed in six different positions, when it is at both 100 per cent and 33 per cent with the deviation between the two levels of power recorded; water resistance is also tested. And if that isn’t enough there is also a special office from which the Metas team operate separately to Tudor, randomly taking 30 pieces every two days to see if they actually have passed the tests. And – this being Tudor – it isn’t charging a hefty premium.

There was some controversy, though, firstly in the form of the burgundy and black, or “Coke” bezel, just because some superfans would rather it was blue. The other controversy was the decision to use gilt, or rather gilt-tone, on the dial and bezel. The use of gilt-tone – on a gilt dial the features are exposed metal, not painted on – is frowned upon in some quarters with those saying it has no place on a modern watch; there are even entire Reddit threads full of Photoshopped images of the Black Bay 58 GMT, removing the gilt so people can prove their point. However, despite those small grumblings, it appears as though Tudor produced the watch whose merit (almost) everyone at Watches & Wonders can agree on. And for those still grumbling about colourways and gilt – this is Tudor, just be patient and what you want will come along soon enough.

£3,770 on rubber, £3,960 on steel bracelet;