By Rebecca Doulton
The Pelagos from Tudor watches is a dive watch par excellence. Pelagos, the Greek word for the sea or the deep, is a professional underwater companion capable of withstanding depths of 500 metres. Revisited this year in blue, and powered by Tudor’s first in-house movement, the Pelagos is modelled on a 1976 Tudor Submariner dive watch originally produced for the French Navy.
From the start, Tudor was the brand for hard-working men, with a more affordable price tag than its elder sibling Rolex. When Tudor launched the Oyster Prince in 1952, the event was accompanied with an advertising campaign featuring your average Joe. Here were real men doing real jobs - operating a pneumatic drill, going down a mine or working on a skyscraper - not playing lawn tennis or riding a horse like in the more refined universe of Rolex watches.
The toughness of these 1952 Oyster Prince men’s watches was put to the test during the Royal Navy scientific expedition to Greenland. Shortly after, in 1954, Tudor launched the Oyster Prince Submariner watch, which was produced for the US Navy in the 1960s and for the French Navy from 1960-1980.
Twenty years of active service speaks volumes about the Submariner’s credentials and, in 2012, the Tudor Pelagos joined the family of tool watches - civilian versions of the famous 1976 French Navy dive watch designed to withstand depths of 500 metres. In keeping with its professional dive watch identity, the Pelagos is equipped with a helium valve, allowing the gas to escape during the decompression stage to avoid damaging the movement. Another fundamental feature of professional dive watches is legibility and luminosity. The large square hour markers are covered in a blue luminescent material - the last colour on the spectrum still discernible at great depths. In deference to models of the Submariner produced from 1969 onwards, the hour hand features a large square tip referred to as the “snowflake” among collectors.
The 42mm case of these men’s watches has been crafted in titanium; not only is it lighter than stainless steel and more resilient to seawater corrosion and scratches, titanium doesn’t absorb the heat if left on the floor of a boat. When we saw the dive watches at Baselworld 2015, we were given a demonstration of the satisfying metal ratchet sound the ceramic bezel makes when being turned, just like a safe. Another feature that divers will appreciate is the adjustable clasp on the bracelet, which expands and contracts automatically according to the pressure exerted by the water.
Like the North Flag model reviewed earlier this year, the Tudor Pelagos is powered by its first in-house calibre - MT5612 - an automatic movement with a solid power reserve of 70 hours and COSC-chronometer certification. The watch is presented in two versions: the original matte black version and the new matte blue with a titanium bracelet and an additional rubber strap.