Earlier this year Tudor resurrected its partnership with France’s navy, the Marine Nationale, some two decades after it last supplied military-spec Submariners to the navy’s divers.
Now the brand has finally revealed a project two years in the making, the Tudor Pelagos FXD “Marine Nationale”. Developed together with the members of the Commando Hubert, the navy’s elite combat divers, the Pelagos FXD is an actual military issue timepiece – the unit’s divers wear the same watch during operations – with fixed bars and a no-nonsense aesthetic.
Images of a Commando Hubert graduation ceremony appeared online several months ago, revealing the watch. So the Pelagos FXD was expected, but still manages to surprise. It is clearly a nod to the ref. 9401/0 “MN” of the 1970s – nicknamed “snowflake” after its hands and dial – and is as close to a vintage Submariner as a modern Tudor can be. But it still has a few extras appeal to military watch aficionados.
Most notable are the lugs, which are a reinterpretation of the fixed bars found on vintage military-issue dive watches. They form one piece with the case, making the connection between the case and strap far more robust. It’s certainly over-engineered for anyone who isn’t a combat diver, but it is a genuine element that’s neither decorative nor artificial.
In fact, the fixed lugs arguably put the Tudor Pelagos FXD in the same category as the quirky P01 – both are “tool” watches that are clearly catered to a niche audience, though the Tudor Pelagos FXD is the only one that is legitimately military spec.
Another important detail is the omission of a date, which is a first for a Pelagos since its debut in 2012. And the bezel is entirely new, being a bidirectional, countdown bezel that is slightly wider than usual – a crucial tool for combat divers performing underwater navigation.
And because the date has been omitted, the Pelagos FXD is 1.5 mm thinner than the standard model, giving it a surprisingly flat profile on the wrist for a true “tool” watch.
Can the Pelagos FXD get better? Maybe but not by much. It has a water resistance of 200 m, which is more than enough for combat divers – the vintage Submariner “MN” had the same rating – but less than the 500 m of the standard Pelagos. At the same time, it isn’t METAS-certified like the Black Bay Ceramic launched a few months ago.
At US$3,900, the Tudor Pelagos FXD is competitively priced just all Tudor watches. In fact, it’s one of the brand’s highest-spec’d watches, making it one of Tudor’s most compelling offerings.
udor started supplying watches to the French Navy almost since the brand started making dive watches. In fact, the relationship began in 1954 – just a year after Rolex introduced the Submariner – when it supplied the navy with the ref. 7922, the brand’s first-ever dive watch.
But the quintessential Tudor military-issue diver is definitely the Submariner ref. 9401/0 “MN” that two decades later. Crucially, the ref. 9401/0 had a few features that set it apart from a Rolex dive watch, making it unique to Tudor. Most obvious are the blue dial and bezel, but the “snowflake” hands and square markers are its defining feature.
Being the iconic dive watch of the French Navy, the ref. 9401/0 “MN” was a natural choice as the inspiration for the Pelagos FXD.
One of the most important historically inspired details is the engraving on the case back, which is unusual for a modern-day Tudor, which typically have plain backs.
The back is engraved with Marine National logo, and also “M.N.21”, short for “Marine Nationale” and the year of production, a reference to the French navy’s numbering convention on the vintage Tudor “MN” watches.
Tudor has dropped a new Pelagos model in association with the French Navy or Marine Nationale, an association that goes back 65 years.
The 42mm titanium watch has been developed using specifications laid down by the force’s combat swimmers, Commando Hubert.
The watch’s bidirectional rotating bezel – which features a sandblasted ceramic ring and overhangs the sides of the case for better grip – allows the unit’s swimmers to navigate underwater undetected, while the FXD is a reference to the solid looped lugs that hold the fabric strap in place without the need for separate springbars.
While not a service issue watch, the new Pelagos FXD carries the same M.N. initials engraved on the caseback along with a 21, denoting a year of issue.
While the French Navy historically had Tudor deliver its watches without bracelets, the Pelagos FXD – which is water resistant to 200m – is supplied with both a woven fabric strap and a one-piece rubber strap.