Watch of the Week: Tudor Revives a Rugged French Dive Watch With Pelagos FXD

Tudor Pelagos man wearing a blue Tudor Pelagos watch on his wrist
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When it comes to watches (or really any collectible), we’re suckers for a good story. And this week’s Watch of the Week, the new Tudor Pelagos FXD, has a whole lot of history behind it. Based on a renowned watch the company produced for the French Navy in the 1970s and ’80s, the Pelagos FXD revives a unique, robust design that was utilized by combat divers who needed a dependable watch to help them navigate underwater. It carries over some of the key hallmarks of its predecessor, including a blue dial and large matching bezel, to create an eye-catching and seriously tough watch.

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Tudor’s relationship with the French Navy (the Marine Nationale in French) stretches back to 1956, when the company sent a few Oyster Prince Submariner watches to a research group within the navy for testing. The commander of the group was impressed by the timepieces, and he placed an order for additional watches. The orders kept coming (and the watches kept performing), and by 1961, Tudor could claim it was the official dive watch supplier of the French Navy.

The Pelagos FXD draws its inspiration from a later watch in that partnership, reference 9401, which Tudor launched in the 1970s and continued to produce for the navy through the 1980s. Like the original, the modern FXD stands out with a bright blue dial and matching bezel, sporting the brand’s iconic “snowflake” hands and square hour markers. Like the reference 9401, it comes with the initials “M.N.” and the year of issue engraved on the case back. The “FXD” denotes a unique feature on the case: large, fixed strap bars integrated into the case for extra strength. Better yet, the satin-brushed 42mm case is made from titanium for exceptional robustness and minimal weight.

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Tudor Pelagos FXD dive watch
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The bezel is a key feature on any dive watch, but the Pelagos FXD’s is a bit different from most. It’s a 120-notch rotating bezel, and it deviates from the traditional dive watch standard because it’s designed specifically for underwater navigation. To perform underwater navigation, combat divers use a compass and a watch to swim precisely timed sections along a pre-planned route in order to arrive at a destination without surfacing. The 120-notch bezel is essential for keeping accurate time while navigating. Tudor also gave it an oversized design with notched edges for excellent grip, even while wearing gloves.

The watch’s strap is a nod to history. It’s made by the Julien Faure company (like the straps on many other Tudor timepieces), crafted from woven polyethylene fabric that evokes the parachute fabric straps many military-issue Tudor divers once sported. With its silver middle stripe, titanium buckle, and self-gripping closure, it’s a comfortable and stylish addition to this rugged watch.

The Pelagos FXD is powered by Tudor’s MT5602 movement and displays hours, minutes, and seconds. It’s built for superb accuracy in demanding conditions. It’s COSC-certified for reliable timekeeping regardless of environmental factors like magnetic fields and temperature changes. Tudor actually goes beyond those standards: The company tests the watches to ensure they have only minus two or plus four seconds’ variation when completely assembled. They also offer a hefty 70-hour power reserve and, like any good dive watch, they’re water-resistant down to 200 meters.

With this watch, the backstory is just the beginning—the rest of the tale depends on where you take it.

[$3,900; tudorwatch.com]

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