Tudor Black Bay 54 vs. Black Bay 58: A Calculated Downsize

Raman Kalra is the founder of  The Watch Muse blog and has kindly agreed to share some of his articles with us here on Quill & Pad.


At Watches & Wonders 2023, Tudor, like many others, released new models for the year. Where previously, Tudor captured a lot of the spotlight for their bold or unexpected designs (think Black Bay P01 and Black Bay 925), this year was more under the radar.

It also tied in with other brands like Rolex in launching a whole range of unusual references and others like IWC giving us a new Ingenieur. However, it was only after the hype died down that you could start to understand and appreciate the new Tudor models.

Tudor Black Bay 54 on strap and bracelet

On the face of it, the Black Bay 54 (BB54) is just a smaller Black Bay variant with a few minor changes. Yet, taking a closer look you realize that the sum of small parts makes this very different from the Black Bay 58 (BB58) and Black Bay 41mm.

Since 2018, the Black Bay 58 has been the star for Tudor, quickly becoming a favorite to both enthusiasts and general consumers alike.

The vintage-inspired design and versatile size made it the go-to option for those looking for a modern everyday diver’s watch. It was the Tudor to go for if you wanted a watch that resembled something from their back catalog when it came to size and design.

Now, the Black Bay 54 exists and questions all of that. It evens the lineup when it comes to the sizes on offer sitting at 37mm, but the bigger question is, does it rival the Black Bay 58?

Tudor has taken some calculated steps that could indicate they intended for this to happen. What are those small differences and steps that are worth noting? Does this mean the Black Bay 54 is going to be the new Black Bay 58?

I have not had an extended period with the Black Bay 54, so this will not be a full review, but I have had enough time with one to share my thoughts and point out what makes this watch so interesting.



Tudor Black Bay 54

The Black Bay collection needs no introduction, and the Black Bay 54 fits a space that was missing in the vast number of references on offer.

The BB54 is a modern interpretation of the Tudor’s first divers watch from 1954, the Oyster Prince Submariner ref. 7922, although it was not available to the public and issued to the US and French Navy.

Tudor Black Bay 54

The two biggest takeaways are that it follows the downsizing trend, which has been seen across the industry, and it is the closest recreation of a watch in its back catalog.

All references up to this point, including the BB58, have been more akin to homage watches where they take design inspirations from the past and put it in a modern package.

1954 Tudor Oyster Prince Submariner

The BB54 takes this concept to a new level, where even the case has been kept on the small side to resemble the dimensions of the original.

Before we discuss the size, let us consider what the Black Bay 54 offers.

The BB54, despite its compact appearance, is a fully functioning divers’ watch. When I say that, I don’t mean that it just has the appearance of one with a uni-directional rotating bezel, but rather it has 200m water resistance.

This is extremely impressive when you consider the competition at this size has only 100m water resistance on average.

Now, whether you use this watch for diving is a different question. Even if you were a professional diver, I don’t believe a watch of this size would be your top choice, but it is great to know that they have engineered it in such a way.

Tudor Black Bay 54 steel bracelet

In addition to the water resistance, the BB54 comes with a fully-brushed stainless steel bracelet (or rubber strap), fitted with Tudors’ “T-Fit” clasp, allowing for up to 8mm in micro-adjustments without tools. This clasp is genuinely great and easy to use.

The bracelet is supple, comfortable to wear and one of the best on the market at the price point. It surprises me that the “T-Fit” clasp has not made it to all models, and this is one of the biggest differentiators when compared to the BB58 which we will discuss in more depth below.

Be warned, experiencing a Tudor bracelet does raise your expectations of what you should be demanding at the £2.5k to £4k price point.

Inside the BB54, you will find the in-house caliber MT5400. The movement is made by Kenissi (owned by Tudor) with robustness in mind.

Tudor notes that the balance wheel is “maintained by a sturdy traversing bridge with a two-point anchoring” and combined with a silicon hairspring, resulting in it being COSC-certified. This means it has an accuracy of-4/+2 seconds per day and furthermore, it has a solid power reserve of 70 hours.

Similar to the bracelet, the movement specs are very strong for this price point and make it a very competitive option.



It is time to talk about dimensions. From afar, it is easy to understand the BB54. A compact dive watch from Tudor with a great bracelet and movement.

However, there is more to the dimensions than first meets the eye, and this is where understanding the rationale from Tudor becomes a bit more confusing. The case size has been reduced to 37mm in diameter, 11.24mm thick and has a lug-to-lug of 46mm. 

The numbers don’t tell the whole story. Already at 11.24mm thick, it sounds like a thin watch, but what they don’t tell you is that the mid-case is only around 6mm (according to Worn & Wound who measured it accurately).

This is the most visually dominant part of the watch when sitting on your wrist, and being this thin, it has made the watch feel completely different.

On the wrist, regardless of what the spec sheets say, the Black Bay 54 felt thinner than my bezel-less Black Bay 36mm, and it is what I noticed before anything else. This is where it stops though, with Tudor making this watch appear smaller than reality. 

Tudor Black Bay 54

Everything else about the BB54 is designed in a way to make the watch appear larger than the measurements. The lug width has been kept at 20mm, which is great for swapping out the bracelet for a strap, as well as adding some visual width and heft to the case.

Similar-sized watches such as the Rolex Yachtmaster 37mm and the Oris Diver Sixty-Five 36mm have lug widths of 18mm and 17mm respectively.

The bezel is very close to being the same width as the BB58, and the crown has been reduced to be proportionate to the smaller case. This all creates the illusion that the watch is bigger than it is. 

The reason why I say this is confusing is because Tudor clearly wanted a smaller watch in the lineup and created an accurate re-issue to achieve this, but it wears a lot closer to the BB58 than you would imagine.

The separation between the two models is not what it first seems. There are clear benefits to Tudor in offering the BB54 such as capturing the enthusiasts after a vintage-inspired watch and the female audience who may have found the BB58 slightly too large.

But, by being this way, does it take some sales away from the BB58?




The differences between the Tudor BB54 and BB58

If these two watches are closer than expected, what are the main differences to look out for?

L-R: Tudor Black Bay 41mm, Black Bay 58 and Black Bay 54

Let’s start with the bezel. This is one of the more obvious changes. Tudor has followed the original ref. 7922 for the BB54, resulting in the minute markers between 12 and 3 o’clock being removed.

In following the original, it cleans up the overall aesthetic of the watch, bringing a new sense of symmetry. It does take away some functionality of the bezel, although how many BB54s end up being used for diving remains to be seen.

Tudor Black Bay 54 bezel

At the same time, you will notice the whole watch has a cooler hue. The gilt accents remain on the dial, which is pretty much exactly like the BB58, but the bezel opts for aluminum accents. In addition, it does not use the red accent for the 12 o’clock index.

It may not sound like much, but I do prefer it. While I am a big fan of the BB58, gilt accents are not my favorite when they are too saturated, so the cooler BB54 is a welcome change. 

The next difference revolves around the bracelet. All Tudor bracelets are very good and put some of the competition at higher price points to shame. Overall, they are solid and have a good weight, while being comfortable and good-looking (at least to me).

However, over the years Tudor has made some progress in improving their bracelets and one of the most notable upgrades has been the “T-Fit” clasp. As mentioned above, it allows for micro-adjustments of up to 8mm.

Tudor Black Bay 54 rubber strap and folding buckle

You can find a more accurate fit regardless of the weather, and technically, it is useful when it comes to diving. The clasp itself is a good size and has a nice stepped design, coupled with a spring mechanism that allows the adjustment to be made over five positions.

The outcome is that the bracelet really sets the standard at the price.

Despite both the BB54 and BB58 having good water resistance and being diving watches, the BB54 actually has the better setup for real-world use. 

Furthermore, and the real oddity of it, the BB54 is a cheaper watch. It makes for a confusing situation whereby spending less you are technically receiving an updated product. I am sure it is a matter of time before this bracelet upgrade is brought to the BB58, but for now, the BB54 is the one to have it. 

These are probably the most notable two differences (apart from the size!), but there are a couple more subtle changes that are worth highlighting.

What might not come across in photos is the dial color. The BB58 has a flat black dial, whereas the BB54 has a slight sunburst effect and by doing so, the dial captures the light well.

Through the sunburst effect, the dial becomes more alive and, away from direct light, it appears slightly more saturated and darker. 

Where the BB58 dial fades into the background, letting the gilt accents and bezel jump out at you, the BB54 dial takes more of a forward approach and is the opposite. You find your eyes centered towards the dial and it captures your attention instead of the bezel, which is more reserved. 

The final change comes on the seconds hand. In line with what we are seeing on newer Tudor models such as the updated 41mm and bezel-less references, the snowflake motif has been dropped in favor of a lollipop design. Subtle, and it will come down to your preference on whether this is the right move or not. 



Black Bay 54 or Black Bay 58: Which is Right for You?

The BB54 is a series of calculated steps that result in a watch that feels undoubtedly like a Black Bay, but different enough that this decision is not straightforward. First, you need to understand your own drivers for what is leading you towards a Black Bay.

If it is the appeal of owning a vintage dive watch in a modern package, the BB58 is no longer the standout answer. 

Everyone can speculate what the “new” Tudor Submariner might be, but here we have an exact re-issue in the BB54 and up to now, this is the closest you will get.

The proportions that make those watches of the past so appealing have remained and on the wrist, it will not disappoint.

Tudor Black Bay 54 dial

The question from the start of this article is whether the BB54 is the new BB58. I believe that it is because the BB58 was always positioned as the diver for those wanting something that wears like a vintage watch.

No longer is it the top option and for that reason alone, the BB54 can take the title. I believe the enthusiasts will end up leaning towards the BB54, and of course, as will those with smaller wrists. 

What if you are on the fence and both the BB54 and BB58 are on your radar? I would then take time to highlight again the small differences between them that can lead to quite different personalities.

The gilt accents found on the BB58 are much less pronounced on the BB54, and it can be argued there has been a loss of character in the process. 

The same argument can be made when looking at the removal of the red accent at 12 o’clock on the bezel. However, by toning these areas back, the BB54 may have less warmth but it can be considered more true to itself and only you can decide what you prefer. 

Then there are the other differences, namely the improved bracelet on the BB54. It surprises me that the “T-Fit” bracelet has not made its way to their most popular model yet, but the fact is, as of October 2023, you can buy a BB54 with a better bracelet for less than a BB58. 



On the other hand, if you are driven by wanting a solid everyday watch that can do anything, the question is as simple as what size is better on your wrist. Launching the new BB54 does not detract from what the BB58 is, and there is a reason that it is the most popular watch from the brand.

The reality is that all these comparisons in the media between the two are splitting hairs and there is no right answer. It comes down to what you prefer on your wrist and we are lucky to have a new extra, fantastic option to be considering.

Tudor Black Bay 54

As for me, I land somewhere in the middle. Both models work on my wrist, and I have been positively surprised by the BB54. While I was initially taken aback by the size of the watch, mainly because of how thin it felt, I then started to appreciate what Tudor had put together.

I prefer the cooler hue of the bezel on the BB54, I would want the updated bracelet and I quite like the lollipop second hand. Yet, the Black Bay 58 does have a sense of ruggedness to it that I would expect from a diver, and I would have more confidence in wearing a BB58 in those more active settings.

Let me be clear, they would both do the job for any activity, but I presume it must be something physiological for me as I would want the BB58 for its robust feeling. Having to decide between them would come down to what I would want the watch for.


Tudor launched a new, smaller Black Bay variant at Watches & Wonders this year. On the face of it, the watch is just a smaller version of something we have all come to know and appreciate.

Yet, spending more time digesting the BB54 and what small calculated changes were made shows that Tudor wanted to achieve more than just a reduction in size.

They have intelligently done so ensuring that they capture the demand for smaller sports watches, but also appeal to the enthusiasts by making a reduced watch that wears extremely well.

In being the go-to reference for those looking for a true modern re-issue Tudor, it has replaced the BB58. Although, when it comes to which is right for you, it will come down to what your motives are.

The reality is that both are fantastic watches and regardless of all the changes and minor details, it all boils down to you now having another Black Bay to choose from and what looks better on your wrist!

For more information, please visit www.tudorwatch.com/en/watches/black-bay

Quick facts: Tudor Black Bay 54 Ref. M79000N-0001
hours, minutes, seconds, 60-minute unidirectional bezel
stainless steel case with polished and satin finish, screw-in crown

Dimensions: 37mm diameter
Water resistance
: 200 meters (660 ft)

Movement: manufacture Calibre MT5400 (COSC), automatic winding with bidirectional rotor system
Power reserve: 70 hours (approx.)
Bracelet: three-link stainless steel bracelet with polished and satin finish with Tudor “T-fit” clasp
Notable: Five-year Guarantee
Price: 3,850 euros

You can read more articles by Raman Kalra at www.thewatchmuse.com.

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3 replies
  1. Eric Miller
    Eric Miller says:

    You do realize that you are played for fools to buy multiple copies of the SAME WATCH. If you think 2 MM if going to make a hill of beans difference then you are a slave to advertising. I have the original BB Blue with the Smiley face ETA movement. I, nor you need four derivations of the same watch.

    • Raman Kalra
      Raman Kalra says:

      Hi Eric – I agree, they are very similar watches. If you have a Black Bay, there is no need to go and buy another unless you want to. However, these options as a new customer of Tudor is good to have! I own a bezel-less Black Bay 36mm, and even then I don’t find myself wanting to add another to the collection yet. Raman

  2. Gerard Anthony
    Gerard Anthony says:

    This is the best review I’ve read on the BB54. I think its appeal was evident from the start, something about the aesthetics just grabbed me. (And I love my BB58 all-bronze Boutique Edition reference M79012M. Another Tudor gem at 39mm that looks fantastic -think soft gold – and wears delightfully.) The “lollipop” on the 54’s seconds hand complements the minute markers well although the red accent at 12 would still be a nice touch. I don’t think this watch’s utility as a “dive watch” is much of a draw given its ubiquitous appeal across the non-dive spectrum. I live in Florida along the coast and know only a few divers. That hype is overdone in this era of watch designs as fashion. Oddly, my AD has yet to receive one in for me to see or they on. I look forward to eventually having the opportunity as I truly like this watch.


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