Tudor is teaming up with the French Navy once again and, rather than lavishing yet more attention on their handsome yet often focused-on Black Bay, the watchmaker’s taken the opportunity to shine the spotlight on the ultra-cool Pelagos. This is the Pelagos FXD – and I love it.
Last time Tudor and Marine Nationale were uttered in a single breath, it led to the 9401 Marine Nationale MN78 SUBMARINER. If you want to know just how important that particular watch is, try and buy one right now. Good luck to you. It’s a relationship that dates back to 1956, with Tudor becoming the official timepiece supplier to the French Navy in 1961.
The Pelagos FXD takes its design cues from that original 9401 – the Snowflake configuration at least – and has been developed in concert with the Marine Nationale’s combat swimmers. In short, this is serious diving fare, with a fair few changes to Tudor’s formula.
The bezel is even more unusual. It’s not the unidirectional type we’re used to seeing on most divers – and therefore not e ISO 6425:2018 standard. Instead, the two-way, 12-notch, 60 to 0 scale is specifically designed for combat swimmers and their specialty form of “underwater navigation”.
In short, underwater navigation for combat swimmers means following a series of waypoints without surfacing to reach a destination. They need to be exact, and restart the countdown every time there’s a planned change of course. So while other dive bezel, designed to illustrate time spent underwater, need to remain static for safety, this one needs to be moved regularly underwater – hence the dual directionality and oversized bezel ring.
Then dial is standard Tudor fare, with the brand’s signature Snowflake hour hand in a matte blue, matching that of the bezel. It’s a nice fit with the titanium case and makes for the pared-back look of an instrument, a world apart from their recent Black Bay 18K and 925 pieces.
Housed in the 42mm case is the MT5602 manufacture calibre with its monoblock tungsten rotor. It alternates brushed and polished surfaces so that, while not as ornate as many a watch movement, still shows off some solid finishing. It’s also COSC-certified (not quite up to Master Chronometer spec here, unfortunately) and offers a weekend-proof 70-hour power reserve. That’s enough for even the most ambitious military dive.
The Pelagos FXD comes with a pair of straps, a woven-effect rubber number in a dial-matched blue or a darker, fabric one with a grey central stripe and self-gripping fastening system. The latter is the standout of course, and can be fastened without fiddling with a buckle – if, say, you were underwater.
Oh, and if you were hoping for a bracelet, you’re out of luck. The Marine Nationale never ordered Tudors with bracelets, and they’re not changing anything here.
The re-ignited collaboration between Tudor and the Marine Nationale, a collectors’ darling and the diving institution that helped create one of their most iconic timepieces, could be a pricey bit of kit, and hard to get hold of. But it’s not.
For one, this is not a limited edition. The Marine National caseback engraving will change every year – the M.N.21 will shift up a digit each New Year – but production will keep on. For another, it’ll set you back a surprisingly affordable £2,920. A future classic? Quite probably.
Price & Specs:
Model: Tudor Pelagos FXD
Case/Dial: 42mm x 12.75mm height, titanium case, navy blue dial
Water resistance: 200m (20 bar)
Movement: Manufacture calibre MT5602, automatic, 25 rubies, Swiss Chronometer officially certified by the COSC
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 70h
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
Strap: Navy blue fabric with grey central thread and additional navy blue fabric strap with woven motif
More details at Tudor.