Finally, after an official hint earlier this year (and several unofficial leaks), one of the worst kept secrets of the watch world has been released: the all-new Tudor Pelagos FXD. While its design has arguably been improved from the previous generations of the Pelagos, the freshly minted link to the Marine Nationale of the French Navy, a link that was first formed close to five decades ago.
In many ways, Tudor has followed in the footsteps of it’s big sibling in Rolex. It was in 1957 that Rolex first began modifying the Submariner at the request of the British Armed Forces, paving the way for Tudor to begin work with France’s Marine Nationale. After delivering several different models to the navy unit, Tudor eventually began supplying the the Tudor Submariner ref. 7016 in 1974, the first watch to have the iconic engraving “M.N. 74” on its caseback.
In direct reference to this original military timepiece, the new Tudor Pelagos FXD has its own caseback engraving of “M.N. 21” to mark the renaissance of the partnership between the Marine Nationale and Tudor. However this isn’t the only reference in the FXD to the original military watches that Tudor created, with a number of dial details, the case design and strap echoing the past.
The Tudor Pelagos FXD not only has a number of links to the vintage watches that inspired it, but also was designed in direct collaboration with Marine Nationale’s combat swimmers in the Commando Hubert unit. Using the standard Pelagos as a template, Tudor has tweaked a number of elements of the design, keeping the 42mm case in titanium, but slimming it down from 14.3mm to 12.75mm.
The thinning of the case may be the reason behind the reduced water resistance down from 500m to a significantly more realistic 200m. If you’re the type of diver who needs 500m of water resistance, you’re probably not using a mechanical watch as a functional tool for your underwater work.
The case has also been adapted to have fixed lug bars (the part that the strap threads through), which is a more contemporary version of the system the original military Tudor watches had, which feature spring bars soldered to the lugs. This means you won’t be able to add your own bracelet to the watch, limiting your strap selections to fabric, leather or the original parachute elastic straps.
Arriving at the dial, and we have a very similar layout to the standard Pelagos dial, but with the absence of a date window, delivering a more symmetrical impression. Some might decry the ever so slightly reduced day-to-day practicality of a watch without a date window, but I’m not convinced that even the most ardent of watch enthusiasts don’t just use the calendar on their phone if they need to know the date. The bezel of the new Pelagos FXD is also slightly thicker than the standard Pelagos, as well as having countdown markings around its circumference, instead of the dive time markings on the previous version.
Powering the Tudor Pelagos FXD is the COSC-certified calibre MT5602, which is an in-house movement from Tudor known for it’s reliability and toughness. With a non-magnetic silicon balance spring, it’s internally regulated to be accurate within -2 and +4 seconds per day and offers a decent 70 hours of power reserve.
For the straps, Tudor will give you two when you pick up your FXD, both of which look as comfortable as you’d expect. The first is an appropriately navy blue polyethylene woven ribbon with a central silver stripe running down it, secured with a titanium buckle and “self-gripping fastening system” (read: velcro). The other is a single piece rubber strap which you’ll strap to your wrist with a standard pin buckle.
All in, Tudor has made some thoughtful updates to the Pelagos in the FXD, with a refreshed, but still authentic, link to the French special forces. If you’re looking for a highly-specced dive watch that you could easily wear everyday, that is also (relatively) reasonably priced, the Tudor Pelagos FXD should be on your list to consider. The Tudor Pelagos FXD has an RRP of $5,300 ($950 less than the standard Pelagos).