Testing the waters? Debuting a halo piece? Fulfilling collectors’ dreams? Stumbling upon an ingot of gold in the basement and cooking something up with it? Any of these can be potentially correct explanations for the existence of the first solid 18k gold Tudor dive watch with an open caseback. But how is it in the metal? That’s what we were quick to discover at Watches & Wonders 2024.

To be absolutely clear, this new-for-2024 Tudor Black Bay 58 18k watch is not constructed in the same efficient — cost- and price-reducing — way that the Tudor S&G models are. You may remember that S&G (steel & gold) marked Tudor watches had their steel bracelets embellished with gold center links, which had thin veneers of gold wrapped around an inner steel core. This Black Bay 58 18k is gold all the way, meaning the bracelet links, case, bezel, and crown are crafted from solid 18k gold. The weight of the piece we saw hands-on was nevertheless off a bit because it didn’t have a working movement — or any movement, for that matter — just a placeholder plate, reducing the heft of the watch head massively. Still, this is a lot of gold, and there’s no getting around that.

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Whereas all that shines is gold, in this instance, somehow the overall effect is less than luxurious and it is so for one simple reason: Virtually every facet of the exterior is brushed or blasted to a more or less matte finish. The sheen of gold, once you’ve seen it, is borderline addictive and indeed very recognizable, but that only ever comes to the fore on polished surfaces. Now, I’m no fan of large polished pebbles of gold sold as watches, and, to its credit, the Tudor Black Bay 58 18k does have its own cool aesthetic, a polished bevel on the lugs, or some polished teeth or logo on the crown, would have gone a long way in making this piece look as expensive and posh as it actually is.

Taking the stealth effect that much further is the option to buy the Tudor Black Bay 58 18k watch on a brown alligator strap complemented by a green and yellow jacquard strap in the box. Hublot — and since then the likes of Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, and many others — have for a decade and more been programming customers to accept a gold watch on a rubber strap, but a fabric strap on a gold-looking Tudor? That’s like an extra layer of stealth paint on an F-117 when it comes to hiding the fact that you are, in fact, wearing an all-gold (solid gold) watch. In other words, even in watch enthusiast circles, you’ll probably have many think it is a Tudor in bronze, than one in all-gold.

The dial and the bezel are in “golden green,” and this time, even the hands and hour markers (as thin as they might be) are in solid 18k gold — a touch of luxury normally reserved for Rolex but not included on Tudor watches. The bezel is still in aluminum, which is a retro and on-brand touch — which is the only way to justify an otherwise rather cheap and vulnerable component, not unlike how it happens with luxury watches fitted with Hesalite (and equivalent) front elements as opposed to sapphire crystal.

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The Tudor Black Bay 58 18k watch is powered by Manufacture Caliber MT5400, a COSC-certified movement with 70 hours of power reserve. It will be displayed through a sapphire caseback crystal— alas it wasn’t fitted to the prototype we photographed for this article. The Tudor Black Bay 58 18k is priced at $18,000 USD on leather (Ref. M79018V-0001) and $32,100 USD on the solid gold bracelet (Ref. M79018V-0006). For more information, please visit the Tudor website

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