Stepping off the shuttle that had taken us into the port of Barcelona, I pulled on my sunglasses to guard against the blinding glare of the morning sun. As we left the cool air-conditioned comfort of the minibus into the hot and humid embrace of that late June day, I was still blissfully unaware that I’d be presented with a pair of new Tudor watches just a few minutes later. You see, a team of journalists from around the world and I had just received a tour of the Alinghi Red Bull Racing team’s base in Barcelona. After a short shuttle ride, we arrived at the new headquarters, where a black curtain waved ominously in the balmy wind. As we stepped inside, we were greeted by a table full of boxes. Inside were the new Tudor Pelagos FXD Alinghi Red Bull Racing and its chronograph counterpart.

A screen several meters wide in the back of the space played Tudor’s introductory video for the new watches. Once the video wrapped up, the lights came on, and the familiar voice of Mr. Cole Pennington gave an announcement over the PA. He said that the watches we had in front of us were ours to borrow for the duration of our stay. The next part was maybe just in my head, but I could swear there was some encouragement to test the watches, put them through their paces, and wear them as if they were ours. I decided to follow these instructions. So for the next day and a half, the new Tudor Pelagos FXD Alinghi Red Bull Racing remained on my wrist. Though a day and a half may not sound like much, it was certainly an eventful 36 hours.

A strong start, on and off-program

When I opened the box in front of me, I found the standard Tudor Pelagos FXD Alinghi Red Bull Racing model. As much as I like the chronograph, I felt relieved to have selected the time-only version. There’s something to its size and symmetry that really appeal to me. So I quickly put away my private watch and strapped on the Tudor. My first thought was that this was the first time I’d put a Tudor Pelagos FXD on my wrist, which added a giddy excitement to the otherwise-quotidian action of putting on a watch. The second thought was just how light and comfortable it was, despite the added bulk from the Velcro strap. Following the program, I quickly got to work. My mission that morning was to get as many pictures of the watches as possible back to Lex, who was writing the introductory article.

Shortly thereafter, we took a shuttle over to the restaurant that would serve as a backdrop for most pictures I took of the watches that day. Once the rush was over and my mission complete, I could focus on the watch on my wrist (as well as on grabbing a bite to eat). As you can imagine, these watches were all anyone could discuss over lunch. Even the Alinghi Red Bull Racing team sailors were thrilled to see them for the first time. Nils Theuninck, part of the team’s power group, agreed to a quick swap of his Alinghi Red Bull-branded Black Bay ceramic for the FXD. He particularly liked the bold use of the team’s colors, the dial’s supreme legibility, and the textile strap’s comfort. I could only agree with these points. First impressions? Very positive indeed.

Tudor Pelagos FXD Alinghi Red Bull

The Tudor Pelagos FXD Alinghi Red Bull Racing

Lex’s article will have already told you just about everything you need to know about the watch. But still, here’s a quick recap on the time-only model. The Tudor Pelagos FXD Alinghi Red Bull Racing has a 42mm black carbon composite case that measures 12.75mm thick. Its lume-filled black bezel insert is made of the same carbon composite material. It features a Grade 2 titanium crown and bezel edge, a Grade 5 titanium “buckle” on the textile strap, and a stainless steel case back. This combination of materials is inspired by the America’s Cup class yachts that the team races. Its foils combine carbon and steel, and its mast is made of carbon with titanium hardware. It is water resistant to 200 meters and has a fully graduated 60-minute, 120-click, bidirectional bezel. Inside, Tudor’s automatic, COSC-certified caliber MT5602 gives the watch a 70-hour power reserve.

On the wrist, the watch is light but not lacking substance. On its textile strap, it weighs precisely the same 81g as the standard titanium Pelagos FXD. Speaking of the textile strap, I was absolutely sold on the one-piece strap with its Velcro closure. The current version, upgraded from the introductory one, was perfect for my 17.5cm wrist. I also enjoyed its deep blue color with contrasting red stitching at the end. It proved to be perfect for just about every scenario. Other outstanding features included the fantastic, grippy bezel and the AR coating, which makes the crystal all but disappear. Now, you may be wondering how extensive my testing could have been in a day and a half. Well, let me say that I took the challenge quite seriously.

Small adventures

That afternoon, we got some free time in the program before an activity described as “training with the team.” Instead of following Spanish tradition and opting for a siesta before a training session with world-class athletes, I decided to take the Pelagos for a walk. The sweltering heat of Barcelona coupled with the humidity of the Mediterranean makes for a scenario where even the clothes on your back feel uncomfortable. Thanks to the breathability and adjustability of the textile strap, it was easy to get a perfect fit and avoid unwanted friction and perspiration that a standard NATO or rubber strap would cause. This was good since the walk to the Sagrada Familia was a four-kilometer, 45-minute round trip in the unforgiving mid-afternoon sun. But it was one that I couldn’t possibly skip. You know, “when in Rome” and all that.

At 6:00 PM sharp, I made my way down to the lobby, where (you guessed it) a shuttle awaited. We went down to the port and into the CNAB (Club Natació Atlètic-Barceloneta) training facility. There, we warmed up and played a round of padel before completing an intense training circuit. This involved a high-resistance bike sprint, burpees, pull-ups, push-ups, and more. By the end of the 90-minute session, two things were clear. The first was the fact that we journalists were not built for pro-level sailing. The second, however, was that the FXD is. It didn’t skip a beat. Early the next morning, after a late dinner the night before and before the day’s busy program, I took the watch with me for a 5k run and a quick dip in the Mediterranean. The watch didn’t feel out of place through any of it. This Tudor truly is a perfect companion for any occasion.

Final thoughts

In my GADA watch article, I mentioned that a watch should inspire you to get out there and do more with it. If a watch feels fragile and I have to worry about/baby it, I don’t want it on my wrist. Thankfully, the Tudor Pelagos FXD Alinghi Red Bull Racing proved an inspiring piece indeed. Not only did it shine in the busy program of this press trip, it even encouraged adventurous behavior. My only gripe with it turns into a compliment at the end. It’s the integration of the “Alinghi Red Bull Racing” text on the rehaut. I understand why a logo needs to be present in a partnership watch like this. And within the scope of how Tudor could have done it, I could not think of a better option. The rehaut is slim, and the white text matches the minute markers.

The author, 70 hours into his Tudor Pelagos FXD love affair

Will it be a dealbreaker for some? Sure. But having had the watch on my wrist, I can attest to how it remains nice and subtle. Would I rather wait for a model that uses the same case material yet does away with the branding? Maybe. But who knows how long that wait may be. It remains a worthy successor to the original FXD and an exciting development in Tudor’s use of materials. The highest compliment I can pay it is the following: I do genuinely miss the watch. And though our time together was short, it was as intense as it was memorable. That, my friends, is a true sign of a fantastic watch.

What do you think of the Tudor Pelagos FXD Alinghi Red Bull Racing? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Watch specifications

Pelagos FXD Alinghi Red Bull Racing
Matte blue with solid luminescent indices
Case Material
Forged carbon composite with Grade 2 titanium crown and bezel edge
Case Dimensions
42mm × 12.75mm
Sapphire with antireflective coating
Case Back
Solid stainless steel, screw-in
Tudor MT5602 — automatic winding, 28,800vph frequency, 70-hour power reserve, 25 jewels, COSC-certified chronometer
Water Resistance
Blue textile single-piece strap with Velcro closure
Time (hours, minutes, central seconds), 60-minute countdown bezel
Five years