Tudor Perfects the Dive Watch for Landlubbers

The new Pelagos 39 is more business suit than wetsuit.
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Dive watches are such a weird anomaly.

On the one hand, their rugged designs, rubber straps and rotating bezels speak of action and adventure, making them the Number One watch style for men. On the other, we’d wager you’ve never met a single person who’s ever used one to go diving. That’s because its not 1935 anymore, you don’t know anyone in the Italian Navy and today’s divers tend to rely on data from electronic decompression meters to let them know when it’s time to surface—not fiddle about with a ceramic ring on their wrist.

Still, by that argument jeans would only be available from lumberjack shops and trainers would be kept for sports day. The fact is, dive watches look cool. And that’s plenty reason enough for us to love them.

Tudor’s original Pelagos, released in 2012, was comparable to the Sea Dweller from its sister company Rolex, a design that dated back to the 1960s and was an ultra, ultra-resistant dive model, waterproof to 1,220 meters and featuring a gas escape value, allowing any helium trapped within the watch to be released while maintaining the case’s hardcore water resistance. The Pelagos came with a similar escape value jutting out of the side and a seriously chunky 42mm case. The message from both brands was clear. They didn’t care whether you went diving with their watches or not. The fact was they looked like serious pieces of kit, to be worn by men who took themselves just as seriously.

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Tudor has adopted a policy of building out its collections in different sizes, a move that, combined with their “accessible luxury” pricing, has worked extremely well for them. At least one report from 2019 suggested the company was doubling its sales every year.

Tudor Pelagos 39

$4,400 AT TUDOR

Now it has launched the Pelagos in a version the Reddit groups have been waiting for. As its name suggests, the new Pelagos 39 comes in a smaller 39mm case, dispenses with the chunky escape valve, abandons the original’s date window, and slims the whole watch down to just 11.8mm. The size drop has necessitated the depth rating dropping from 500 meters to 200 meters—plenty enough water resistance for almost everyone.

The result is a dive watch with all the dive watch aesthetics intact but none of a dive watch’s unwieldy heft. You can wear it with a t-shirt or under a work shirt, no problem. Elsewhere the specs are all as top-notch as you’d expect. The case is satin-brush finished and made from Grade 2 titanium. The bezel is fully lumed, along with the hands and the ceramic monoblock markers, all of which glow a pleasingly ice-cool blue. The dial and the bezel are in black satin, with a single pop of red reserved for the ‘Palagos’ branding. The new watch comes on a titanium bracelet with an extra black rubber strap thrown in. It’s powered by the brand’s latest in-house movement MT5400, which guarantees a time difference of between -2 and +4 seconds a day.

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Tudor has knocked it out of the park with release after release recently, not least this spring’s mega Black Bay Pro and last year’s show-stopping Black Bay Chronograph. But with a price of £3,400, the Pelagos 39 may prove to be the fastest soaraway hit of them all—wherever you choose to wear it.

FromEsquire UK

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