Hands-On: The Tudor Pelagos FXD — It’s Not The One I Want
Last week, Tudor invited us to check out the new Pelagos FXD “MN” watch. Do I like it? Do I want it? We’ve had about a week now to let it sink in (no pun intended), but I’ve come to the conclusion this watch is not for me. It could have been, but it isn’t. Let me explain to you why.
The Tudor Pelagos FXD in a nutshell
We explained what the new Tudor Pelagos FXD is all about in this introduction article on the day it was introduced. On the wrist, the Pelagos FXD wears fantastically. The case measures 42mm in diameter, 52mm lug-to-lug, and just 12.75mm thick. That’s a very acceptable thickness for a watch with a water resistance of 200 meters, but keep in mind that the NATO strap (be it the fabric or the rubber) will make it a little bit thicker. I have a 19cm wrist, and as you can see, the watch doesn’t look bad at all!
On the wrist
Compared to the regular blue Tudor Pelagos, the FXD version has a darker tone to it. I prefer the darker blue of the Pelagos FXD over the Pelagos M25600TB-0001, but the tone of blue wouldn’t be the decisive factor anyway.
What is interesting is that the watch wears a little bit larger than a 42mm diameter would suggest. That’s probably because the diameter of the bezel is larger than the 42mm case. The Tudor Pelagos FXD reminded me a bit of those Sinn (UX) watches using Hydro technology, in which the movement, dial, and hands are immersed directly in a crystal-clear bath of oil. It looks like there’s almost no space between the dial and the crystal, and this is also the case with the new Tudor Pelagos FXD. It’s not as extreme as with the Sinn watches, but it’s enough to make me notice. What I also like about the Pelagos FXD is that it does not have a date window. Kudos to Tudor for leaving it out.
The case design of the Pelagos FXD
The “FXD” of this Tudor Pelagos M25707B/21-0001, or “M.N.21,” stands for “fixed” and refers to the lugs of the watch. I always thought this meant that the pins were fixed to the case, and in a way, they are. But to me, this looks more like a type of integrated case design.
It’s a bit like Omega’s “manta-ray” design of the Planet Ocean Ultra-Deep concept watch. Nevertheless, it looks good, and it gives you more security than spring bars. But it also will make it impossible to attach a two-piece strap or bracelet. Unless, of course, Tudor comes up with a bracelet you can attach to this fixed-lug design.
It also needs to be said that this watch is lightweight. Of course, it is — it’s made of titanium. I am not accustomed to wearing titanium watches, and although I have one in my collection, I hardly wear it. For those who want comfort, though, titanium is the way to go, and it does give the watch a utilitarian look & feel. Interestingly, the blue ceramic bezel is bi-directional, instead of the typical unidirectional bezels that you find on most diver’s watches. But unlike the friction-fit bi-directional bezels of the past, this one features a full 120 clicks.
Mil-Spec but not ISO
I was very impressed with the Tudor Pelagos FXD when I saw it for the first time, and even more so when I put it on my wrist. It ticks many boxes, due not only to its design but also to the interesting Marine Nationale story. Although the watch doesn’t meet the ISO (6425:2018) standards for a dive watch due to the bi-directional bezel, it is a watch that is tailored to the needs of the French Navy. A proper mil-spec watch, you could say. Inside is Tudor’s MT5602 in-house-developed movement with chronometer certification. That’s right — no “Master Chronometer” on this, which wouldn’t have sounded illogical to me, given it’s a mil-spec piece.
I’ve read some comments about its “limited” water resistance, which is dropped to 200m instead of the usual 500. But this also made it possible to keep the watch relatively thin. Apparently, the French Navy divers will not go below 200 meters anyway. It also means that an automatic helium valve is not a necessity on this watch.
Price and availability
Personally, I don’t mind the 200-meter rating as such, but 500 meters of water resistance and a helium valve are features that I feel belong on the Pelagos. So I can imagine some of you weren’t super excited when reading the specifications of the watch.
Then, there’s the attractive price tag of €3,680 / $3,900. For this, you’ll get the additional rubber NATO strap with it as well. The other Pelagos models will set you back a little more, as they are all priced at €4,320 / $4,575. It’s a difference that’s easy to explain, as the others all come with a titanium bracelet and an additional strap. The Pelagos FXD is available immediately, which is quite a good move from Tudor.
Civilian and military versions
Is there a downside to this watch? Well, not so much from an aesthetic point of view, as I sincerely like its looks. What I don’t like, however, is that this watch is different from the one that will be delivered to the French Navy. Tudor informed us that the Pelagos FXD for the Marine Nationale will have a slightly different dial, without the chronometer-certified wording. Instead, it will just say “Pelagos 200m”. Also, I’ve been told by Tudor that there will be a number of left-hand models available exclusively to the French Navy.
I think it would have been nice to have exactly the same model, as the fixed lugs and bi-directional bezel are also available on the commercial release. They also could have also kept the same printing on the dial, as I don’t think many would care about the COSC text — at least I don’t. An offering of a left-hand version would also have been cool, but it might jeopardize the demand for the Tudor Pelagos LHD M25610TNL-0001.
The definitive Tudor
When Tudor introduced the Pelagos back in 2012, I was blown away by it. Remember that at the time, Rolex had no 40mm Sea-Dweller in its collection anymore. The 16600 was discontinued in 2009 and the 116600 was only introduced in 2014. The Rolex Sea-Dweller was never a big seller (busting a rhyme here) compared to the Submariner. My thoughts were that Tudor was offering an alternative for the enthusiast with this Pelagos 500m. It also had the automatic helium escape valve in the case band, just like the Sea-Dweller.
But I was wrong, as Rolex came back with the 40mm Sea-Dweller 4000 (116600). However, to me, the Pelagos is the Tudor. I know about the brand’s Submariner history, and I have an appreciation for all the Black Bay models, but the Pelagos is where Tudor clearly shows its own DNA in a contemporary watch. You might disagree, of course, because I know how popular the Black Bay (58) models are. But the Pelagos is the one I would buy myself. Just not the Pelagos FXD. Although I like the Pelagos FXD, despite the fact it is somewhat different from the one that will be used by the modern MN, it is the Pelagos LHD that I would like to own at some point.
The Pelagos for me
The LHD has all the features of the regular Pelagos, including the WR rating and the helium gas valve, but also this quirky crown on the left. You could also say the lug design of the FXD is quirky. But a left-hand crown, to me, is even quirkier, as it is visible at all times. The “fixed bar,” on the other hand, will just be hidden underneath a strap. I am also not a fan of wearing NATO straps myself. I like a good bracelet, and the Tudor bracelets are quite good indeed. The Pelagos LHD is also a numbered edition, which, to me, makes it a little different as well. I like having a unique number on a watch (other than a 21-digit serial number). It makes it a bit more personal somehow.
The Tudor Pelagos FXD comes with a five-year international warranty. See all specifications below and click here for the official Tudor website.
Also, let us know what you think of the Pelagos FXD in the comments. Did Tudor do the Pelagos justice, or is there a better choice in the lineup? We want to hear your opinions.