Taking another look at the curiously underrated Tudor PelagosJason Marsden
For my 50th birthday my partner, Liz, asked me if there was anything from the Tudor range that I liked. This was incredibly impressive on two fronts. The first is that Liz is not really a watch person but has absorbed an awful lot of watch information just due to my obsession. Second, although I did not already own any Tudor she knew that they were a respected brand and offered pieces at a price point she was comfortable with. I was familiar with most of the Tudor offering and had recently and unsuccessfully tried to obtain a Harrods edition Black Bay, but this was foiled by COVID. Instead, my local choice was the blue Pelagos.
The Pelagos stands out for me, over other dive capable Tudor offerings, on several fronts. First released in 2012 with an ETA automatic movement today’s Pelagos has gained its own in-house movement and is distinguished by five lines of text on the dial rather than the original’s two lines. Available in black and blue variants it is also available in a left-hand variant with the crown on the left hand side of the case for those who wear their watch on the right wrist or just prefer something different.
For me the blue variant is the winner. Out of all the Swiss watches I wear the Pelegos does seem to get the most attention and draw the eye. Its matt blue ceramic bezel and dial with snowflake hour hand present as a contemporary and striking watch. The matt finish is carried over to the case and bracelet, both made out of Titanium and brush finished without any mirror polish to be seen. The ceramic bezel is a step up from the Tudor Black Bay’s aluminium insert and also features lumed markers and numerals embedded into the ceramic. The traditional proud and separate 12 o’clock lume pip is replaced with a flush lumed insert the same as the other bezel indices. A coin edge machined bezel outer offers a surprising amount of grip and is a pleasing alternative to the more aggressive notches found on the Submariner and other dive watches. The dial features hour markers that are set into rectangular recesses in the angled dial edge, creating another modern difference from the Black Bay’s retro look. The case back is stainless steel and the non-crown side of the case features a flush helium escape valve, designed for saturation divers who breathe a helium rich air. Helium gas is a very small molecule which can make its way inside a watch. During decompression this gas expands and the escape valve allows any internal gas to escape rather than risk popping the crystal out of the watch. This combined with the rest of the watch’s construction gives it an impressive 500m water resistance rating.
Aside from the water resistance the Pelegos titanium bracelet features some dive-friendly technology. There is the flip out extension plus a unique glide lock derivative that in its final position allows the bracelet to stretch due to two clasp mounted springs. I find this a very comfortable setting with the bracelet snug but not too tight as I go from a cool air conditioned office to the hot outdoors during summer. The bracelet also features small ceramic balls to latch the clasp ensuring a wear free and positive engagement. Screws connect the removable links, another step above some other offerings. Not only does the Pelagos come with the superb bracelet but also a blue rubber pin buckle strap. Whilst this utilises the bracelet’s solid end links I have opted to buy a Crafter Blue strap that does away with the end links to hug the watch case much like the Rolex Oysterflex.
It is also worth noting that, in my opinion ,Tudor also offers the best fabric straps out of any watch brand. These NATO straps are woven on ancient looms near Lyon, France, which has been the home of fine silk weaving since the 15th century. As old as the looms are that produce the straps they are complex enough to actually weave the spring bar pockets into the strap. Whilst you, like myself, may prefer a bracelet or rubber strap it is definitely worth any watch enthusiast’s time to at least try on and experience the super smooth luxury of a Tudor fabric strap.
Pricing and availability:
The Tudor Pelagos retails for $6250