Ever since summer this year – following Tudor’s official announcement of a reignited partnership with the French Navy – military dive watch lovers have been on edge, and desperately waiting to see what kind of new model they can get their hands on. From IDGuy’s in-depth predictions and renders to David Beckham’s “accidental” leak, it’s fair to say that this has been one of the more exciting Tudor releases to track, if you’re into this sort of thing. Today, Tudor opened the flood gates on their new collaboration with the French Navy and we’re now seeing the new Tudor Pelagos FXD. It’s a watch that has some serious shoes to fill, but is it really up to the task?
Before getting into it, I’ll admit that much of the coverage surrounding this watch so far adds in quite a bit of background on Tudor’s relationship with the M.N. and the related models. Because I’m no expert on this matter, I’ll point you to a video by Watchistry, which highlights the historical importance of these watches. What’s more interesting to me is the major facelift the Pelagos just got, since we often consider it to be one of Tudor’s more neglected models living in the shadow of the Black Bay line. Sure, it’s not the GMT I’ve always wanted but actually, I think this might be even better.
When you consider the fact that the Pelagos FXD is meant to be taken into the field and used by the French Navy, Tudor’s decision to focus on the Pelagos makes perfect sense. It’s modern, lightweight, and effectively the Rolex Submariner of our generation. Some small changes were made to the case – most notably the removal of the helium escape valve, a reduction to 200m of water-resistance, and new case architecture utilizing fixed “spring bars” integrated into the case. Lug-to-lug should still feel hefty (as does the standard Pelagos) at 52mm with case thickness slimmed down to 12.5mm, and a bi-directional countdown bezel. While I love a good set of fixed spring bars, the shocker for me was the move to the M.N. caseback engraving, which until now has been a feature only seen on the highly sought-after OG Tudor mil-subs. They even nailed the font perfectly.
On top of the simplified dial with trimmed down text, there’s no date feature and the watch is powered by Tudor’s MT5602 in-house movement. It’s got a 70-hour power reserve and apparently, Tudor is now adjusting certain movements for accuracy within the range of -2/+4 seconds a day. I love the 70-hour power reserve on my Tudor and it’s great to see that the brand isn’t messing around with accuracy. I think it’s all part of the bang-for-buck experience you should be getting with Tudor anyway.
Now, I think for some, the biggest tragedy around the Pelagos FXD is the fact that it doesn’t come on the bracelet that helped drive the Pelagos to fame after its initial release. I get it – but hey, at least we still have the standard models to choose from. To me, I like the fact that Tudor not only chose a modern watch for a modern collaboration. They also did it while adapting original military specs for the modern age. The fixed bars are simply part of that list. Overall, I’m so glad that this didn’t end up being another Black Bay. And another note, this watch is not just a standard production model. It’s now the “cheapest” Pelagos you can get, priced at $3,900 with two different straps. Unfortunately, it will not be an easy watch to get early on and I expect to see price gouging at a level worse than what we saw with the Black Bay 58 Blue.
Michael Peñate is an American writer, photographer, and podcaster based in Seattle, Washington. His work typically focuses on the passage of time and the tools we use to connect with that very journey. From aviation to music and travel, his interests span a multitude of disciplines that often intersect with the world of watches – and the obsessive culture behind collecting them.