Of all the recent brand stories in the watch industry, Tudor’s is without doubt one of the most eye-catching. Despite a rich heritage as the sister brand to Rolex, its historic Oyster Prince range of dress watches and its remodelling of classic Rolex collections, it had fallen out of favour before a total refresh and relaunch in 2009.
But it’s what happened since that has enlivened so many watch fans: on the strength of its contemporary divers’ watches and its introduction of proprietary movements, combined with its accessible pricing and wide availability, it’s stepped out of Rolex’s shadow to become one of the most desirable and talked-about brands on the market, full stop.
The Black Bay Ceramic, Fifty-Eight Bronze Boutique and the silver Fifty-Eight 925 have all been critical and commercial smashes on release this year, and refined the Black Bay dive watch line into something more sporty. That left the Pelagos – the brand’s more purist diver – with some catching up to do, and Tudor has duly delivered with the release of the Pelagos FXD, which takes the DNA of the previous model and pushes it further still.
Tudor has a long history of collaborations with the French Navy, otherwise known as the Marine Nationale
A collaboration with the French Navy, the Marine Nationale – with which Tudor has a long history – the FXD has been developed alongside combat swimmers (yes – that’s an actual job), so function, durability and legibility are at the centre of the design. On the 43mm titanium case – which loses the date window of the original Pelagos, and adds a unidirectional bezel – is a simple, shallower-set blue dial with Snowflake hands, and the slim Calibre MT5602 movement.
Fixed strap bars between the lugs eliminate the possibility of the strap coming off (and also of a bracelet for this model), with a choice of single-piece fabric and rubber straps that are both elegant as well as rugged. Like Tudor’s other 2021 releases, it’s going straight into the core range, but with each stamped with its year of release on the caseback, it’ll have a personal feel, whether wrapped around a wetsuit or tucked under a shirt cuff.