Editor’s note: This is a preview of the new Tudor Pelagos FXD Marine Nationale 2021. Once we go hands-on with these “underwater navigation” tools, we will post a more detailed review. For our other detailed hands-on reviews, please head to our dedicated reviews section here.
Regardless of what brand logo adorns the dial, let me say from the onset that the new watch is a great value offering: for 5’300 AUD, one gets a Manufacture COSC-certified movement with an impressive 70-hour power reserve, a unique “underwater navigation” tool watch aesthetics, practical use of rather rare fixed lugs, a lightweight under 100g titanium body, a watch that’s been designed in consultation with an actual Navy, the use of daily wearable blue colour, a five-year warranty, two straps inside the box, and a design that nicely blends the old with the contemporary.
The fact that it’s a Tudor or any other well regarded Swiss luxury watch is immaterial. It stands tall on its own merits.
True, it may not be the reincarnation of the first Tudor Submariner that most in watch communities seem to desire, but Tudor never promised they were doing an (exact) re-issue.
They teased a partnership with the French Navy for a practical watch that could perform underwater, and they deliver.
What Is It
The new Tudor Pelagos Marine Nationale ref. 25707B/21 measuring 42×12.75mm (sans the NATO strap thickness) with a 52mm lug-to-lug spacing in a slightly darker shade of navy blue similar to that of the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue and different from the existing soft blue Pelagos. It is more of an “underwater navigation” device than a true diver.
In comparison, the existing Pelagos ref. 25600TB measures 42×14.2mm and ~50m lug-to-lug and comes in a softer blue dial colour with a date complication and a sloping stepped internal rehaut with cut-outs for hour markers. It features a bi-directional bezel with only 15-minute retrograde graduation and is more of a diver than an “underwater navigation” device.
And the existing BB58 Navy Blue measures 39×12.5mm with a 47.2mm lug-to-lug spacing and features a very similar if not the same navy dial.
For those with slim wrist sizes such as mine, the wait for a smaller Pelagos continues.
Because since the first collab between the Tudor and the French navy back in 1956, the watch world has been in awe of these practical and no-frills-gets-the-job-done-perfectly dive watches
When & Where
Not an offical Limited edition release from 10 November 2021 from Tudor boutiques and ADs. It comes on two strap options: velcro and rubber.
Who is it for
Anyone who loves the idea of owning a dive watch seeped in actual real world history. After all, these have been designed with a unique set of specifications developed in conjunction with the French Navy’s combat swimmers, the prestigious Commando Hubert. Enthusiasts might recall the alleged ‘leaks’ of this release by some graduates of the Commando Hubert unit online recently. There is of course difference in the text found at 6’o clock.
The new Tudor Pelagos FXD Marine Nationale 2021 features a COSC-certified manufacture movement, the calibre MT5602. This 31.8mm diameter and 6.5mm thick movement features a variable inertia balance, a non-magnetic silicon balance spring, beats at the same frequency of 4Hz (28’800 A/h), comprises of 25 jewels, and offers an impressive 70-hour power reserve.
In comparison, the existing LHD Pelagos reference 25610TNL or 25600TB (blue version with crown on the right side) feature a COSC-certified manufacture calibre MT5612 that is a self-winding mechanical movement with bidirectional rotor system. The movement beats at the frequency of 4Hz (28’800 A/h) and comprises of 26 jewels. The movement is encased inside a 42mm diameter titanium and steel case with satin finish. The case features a unidirectional rotatable 60-minute graduated bezel in titanium with a ceramic matt black disc and graduations with beige luminescent coating. The watch offers an impressive 70-hour power reserve and water resistance of 500m (50 ATM). The watch also features a titanium screw-down winding crown at 3’o clock with the TUDOR logo in relief and an automatic helium escape valve at 9’o clock. It comes on a titanium bracelet with folding clasp and an additional rubber strap with buckle.
Things That Are Different
- Helium escape valve at 9’o clock is now missing as water-resistance goes down from 500m of the Pelagos ref. 25600TB to 200m. Still sufficient both from the French Navy and a normal wearer’s hand-washing perspective
- A more practical satin-brushed case with fixed strap bars machined from a single block, a feature that also lends itself to the nomenclature of the timepiece: FiXeD strap bars aka FXD
- A new 120-notch rotating bezel unidirectional countdown bezel in titanium with a ceramic insert is introduced. It is in-filled with grade X1 Swiss Super-LumiNova® and features a 60-minute retrograde graduation. It also protrudes a bit further over the case, enabling the wearer to turn the bezel easily.
- The stepped internal rehaut with cut-outs for hour markers is now gone in favour of a more clean dial
- An impressive price drop from 6’250 AUD of the Pelagos ref. 25600TB to only 5’300 AUD
- Thicker/bigger bezel with more knurling for easy grip and a bigger crown and newer crown guards
- No cut-out appliqué indices
- COSC-certified Manufacture Calibre MT5602 that is also use din their existing 41mm Black Bay range
- Last but not the least, the ‘collectible maker’, the engraved case back that features the Marine nationale (French Navy) logo and the inscription ‘M.N.21’ that is inspired by the original engravings of the 1970s and ‘80s
Triumphant Success vs Close But No Cigar
When it comes to the highly anticipated re-incarnation of the original Tudor Submariners from 1950s, the new Tudor Pelagos FXD Marine Nationale 2021 is what can be considered a triumphant success. But scour the forums, talk to purists and you get a sense that it may be a case of ‘close but no cigar’
As far as I’m concerned, the timepiece many have been desperately waiting for is finally here.
Theoretically one can buy the watch from today in Australia. Theoretically. While hats off to Tudor for coming up with a stroke of genius by releasing the watch at the end of the year and including the ‘M.N.21’ engraving at the back, for many genuine — so not flipping — enthusiasts and customers, chance of getting their hands on one seems highly unlikely.
Of course the value of these ‘M.N.21’ engraved pieces will sky rocket, no doubt. And for those lucky enough to get these, it hardly gets better than the new Tudor Pelagos FXD Marine Nationale 2021
As most reading this post would know, Tudor and the French Navy have a history. They go long back. Earlier this year, Tudor announced a new partnership with the French Navy, and Social media and forums were ablaze with speculation. Tudor for the most part has delivered, and bringing the lost era of mid-50s back to the present day the new watch is definitely coloured in vintage-nostalgia-meets-modern-man vibes.
And if the timepiece was smaller in diameter and lug-to-lug, and thinner, and featured a black dial or a dial close to the patinated colours of the original Tudor Submariner, it would be win hearts across the board. As it stands now, I feel based on people’s reactions it’s like a movie: a definite hit, but not a blockbuster.
Kudos where due, Tudor did answer some of the calls of the watch collecting community, by issuing a no-date Pelagos with an in-house movement and a decent 70-hour power reserve. Technically, the watch is also very slim compared to the 14.2mm thickness of the original Pelagos (from 2012), but with that thick Velcro-esque NATO strap, it could still remain a sore point for some.
Personally, I am a fan of the drilled style fixed lugs and fixed spring bar aesthetic – it’s not only different, impressive as its made from one block of titanium forming a strong bond with the case, and also safe for actual underwater activities. But I do understand the frustration people might feel given it’s not a strap-monster and people are in general crazy for metal bracelets.
I also admire that instead of featuring five lines of a mini-thesis at 6’o clock, this one features only four. We will take what we can get.
It also does not correspond to the ISO 6425:2018 standard of divers’ watches, but instead does meet the specific needs for what is known as “underwater navigation”. We have been informed that this is a bit different than the actual act of professional military diving.
That’s All Folks!
Tudor has had a tremendous 2021, no doubt. Their offerings have been impressive, and as a portfolio, varied.
This new offering is essentially BB58 Navy meets existing Pelagos 42mm, and including the engraving is a stroke of genius.
There was also chatter online about the use of fixed lugs and their practicality and I am glad that Tudor has delivered. There is a sense of novelty about these lugs. It would suck for someone who loves bracelets, but that’s the trade-off.
Bottom line: the new Tudor Pelagos FXD Marine Nationale 2021 is a tremendous success as a genuine military themed “underwater navigation” tool watch, but some may find it still doesn’t fill the gaping hole in desire left by the first generation of Tudor Submariners.
The new Tudor Pelagos FXD Marine Nationale 2021 may or may not be everything everyone dreamt about, depending upon who you ask. It is practical, handsome and tool watch-esque to perfection, no doubt there though.
To find out more about the new Tudor Pelagos FXD Marine Nationale 2021 and other Tudor watches, please head to their website here. All images unless otherwise stated are courtesy ©TUDOR. All Rights Reserved.