As crazy as it sounds for a watch writer, buying watches is seldom a consideration for me. Various reasons often result in my funds being moved into my other humble pursuits. All that changed when I picked up a couple of watches, which is quite the record for me, in eight months to mark two milestones. First was the Sinn 556 A RS — a wallet-friendly (I had one eye on the impending arrival of my apartment) wedding gift last November. The other pickup in July last year, which will be the story’s focus, was the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight Bronze (I will call it ‘Bronze’ from hereon), bought to commemorate my promotion in May.
Why the Bronze over its black, blue or silver brethren, and why a Tudor watch in the first place? The advent of the Black Bay Heritage in 2012 piqued my interest and got me fascinated. I never pulled the trigger because, unfortunately, or should I say, fortunately (in hindsight), its case dimensions were unforgiving on my wrist. The Black Bay Fifty-Eight corrected much of those overnight in 2018, but presented a new dilemma with an ever-expanding range of colours, which now include black, blue, silver, bronze and yellow gold.
A part of me was holding out for the right colourway or configuration to come by. In the end, it was a Fifty-Eight housing a Master Chronometer METAS-certified movement after Tudor released it in the Black Bay Ceramic. The Black Bay Fifty-Eight Master might sound a little cringe, but who cares if it is anyway? I was down to my final choices as I deliberated between the Bronze, 925 and the Black Bay Pro.
Hearing feedback about the 925 put me off despite my love for the tonal taupe-on-grey execution. Perhaps Tudor should find ways to stabilise and strengthen (big hints on what dissuaded me) the silver case more. It was ultimately down to the Bronze and Black Bay Pro, but the thickness of the latter was the deal-breaker. My decision would have been much tougher had the thickness of the Black Bay Pro been closer to that of the Fifty-Eight’s.
Buying a watch that stands out was one of my considerations, and the Bronze ticks that box with its full bronze (case and bracelet) construction. Other subtle features such as the fumé “Explorer” dial and brown bezel make it a compelling and attractive watch for me. Another thing to note is that the Bronze is boutique-exclusive and rather uncommon compared with its black and blue counterparts.
As with all bronze watches, you either love or hate the patina, and I am firmly in the former camp. Tudor uses aluminium bronze instead of conventional bronze (copper-tin alloy), which has a more controlled oxidation rate. The patina it develops is slightly greyish rather than that of verdigris. After four months of wear, I would say the patina dulls the watch rather than drastically changing its appearance with greenish-blue streaks.
The Bronze has been a joy to wear, and the scratches on the watch (mostly on the bracelet) are a testament to how I like my watches — worn in and used rather than kept pristine. Ironically, I have babied it a fair bit recently, polishing it weekly to experiment with how much of the oxidation process I can reverse. I would soak it overnight in a vinegar and water solution and scrub it with some toothpaste the next morning to restore some of the alloy’s lustre that borders between yellow gold and rose gold. I have worn the Bronze anywhere from formal settings (including a black tie dinner) to sports (mainly jogs), and am pleased to say that it has held its own extremely well.
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