The new Tudor Pelagos from the perspective of someone who has owned both the smiley Black Bay and the 2 liner Pelagos.
Tudor has certainly come a long way since its stigma of being a poor man’s Rolex. For years and years (note I was hesitant to say “decades”) they have tried to shed that image and come into their own brand identity and values. Just in my short time of being into watches I can clearly recall two distinct re-branding and re-launches from Tudor. Then, when the Black Bay was first released, yes it was very well received but it hasn’t been all smooth sailing since then. It really wasn’t a case of the “and the rest is history” moment. Even now, post BB58 and their variations, to be honest. The jury is still out. But one thing we can be certain of is that Tudor has finally emerged from the shadow of its bigger sister. The brand is desirable in its own right and even the all-important “resell value” ain’t bad (for modern Black Bay and friends that is. I won’t comment on how crazy the vintage market is).
So here we have a launch of a watch that was designed in collaboration with the Marine Nationale, and this is a revived partnership – the original hook up dates back to the beginning of 1956 when the Toulon-based Underwater Study and Research Group or Groupement d’Étude et de Recherches Sous-Marines (G.E.R.S.) of the French Navy received Oyster Prince Submariner watches for evaluation. In 1958 the Commander of the GERS placed an order for watches with 200m water-resistance after being convinced of their potential. This led to the birth of reference 7924. Tudor continued to deliver subsequent Submariner models to the French Navy through to the 1980s, but the watches were worn well into the 2000s by the French Navy diving school and combat swimmers.
This new Pelagos has some specific designs – but the most obvious are the fixed lugs – meaning no option for a bracelet, and the watch will only take single piece straps. The other main feature is the bi-directional rotating countdown bezel, which is designed for ease of use underwater wearing diving suits.
The overall height of the watch has been reduced slightly compared to the regular Pelagos, but this reduction is of course neutralised by the need to use a thread-through strap, which adds back whatever the height saving was. The positive side is that you will have a lot of options for straps to swap on and off.
Powered by the date-less version of Tudor’s “in-house” movement, the watch will be accurate, robust and quite possibly take a beating. Not that the majority of the customers will do such a thing and the worst the watch wil endure is most likely the potential bumps and knocks from careless strap change.
Now, for the more astute readers you will no doubt notice the usage of past tense in the ownership of the aforementioned Tudors. I did also own a Ref 79090 vintage Tudor sub as well. The reason why I bought the Vintage Sub? Because it’s not a Rolex. And the reason I let it go? Because it’s not a Rolex… yes I’m still shallow that way. Given all its good points, I’m sure there is still that nagging feeling in the back of people’s minds that given the chance and the availability (bloody unlikely but we never say never), a Rolex is still preferable to a Tudor. Even if the price is double.
Many might not be willing to admit this to themselves but we all know that’s what we’re thinking.
And the reasons why I let go of the Black Bay and the Pelagos? As much as I did like them both and enjoyed them, to me I couldn’t agree with the choice of brand ambassadors that Tudor had brought on, and that turned me off the brand. It is however, a very personal choice and although this as a trigger for me, by no means will it be one for you. We are all different and therein lies the beauty of this hobby.
So is the Tudor Pelagos FXD a watch for you? There is enough of a storied history with the brand if that’s your thing, but in terms of partnership it’s a strange one given Marine Nationale is also a partner of the French watch brand Yema. The Pelagos might be a legit and worthy successor to the Submariner, but to nitpick it’s not really the same is it? And this again brings me back to the aforementioned point about Rolex vs Tudor.
Ultimately only you can decide. On merits alone, it’s well worth the price of admission. But we would greatly advice trying it on first to see whether the fixed lugs might be a sticking point for you.
Tudor Pelagos FXD Specification:
- Case: 42mm, 12.75mm thick and 52mm Lug-Lug
- Case material: Titanium
- Bezel: Bidirectional rotating bezel in titanium with ceramic disc, 60-minute retrograde graduation for navigation by successive stages
- Dial: Navy Blue
- Crystal: Sapphire
- Water resistance: 200 meters
- Movement: Manufacture Calibre MT5602
- Power reserve: 70 hours