Tudor revives its historic collaboration with the French Navy with the Pelagos FXD professional divers’ watch
In 1956, the Groupe d’Étude et de Recherches Sous-Marines, a scientific body attached to the French Navy, was tasked with assessing Tudor’s Oyster Prince Submariner watches in real-life situations. After testing references 7922 and 7923, both waterproof to 100m and fitted with self-winding and manual movements, the commanding officer judged the watches’ waterproofness to be “perfect” and their performance “entirely correct”. Five years later, Tudor was an official supplier to the French Navy.
The brand has continued to work with the maritime arm of the French Armed Forces in developing several new timepieces, most notably the reference 9401 divers’ watch with its iconic blue dial and bezel, “snowflake” hands and triangular hour markers. The popular model was supplied to the French Navy from the mid-1970s to 1980s and subsequently removed from supply stocks.
The 9401’s legacy lives on, however, not only on the wrists of reserve and retired sailors but also as the inspiration for the Pelagos FXD. The new technical watch – whose name derives in part from the extra robust fixed strap bars of the case – was developed to a set of unique specifications created in collaboration with the French Navy’s combat swimmers, the prestigious Commando Hubert.
Designed for underwater navigation and optimised for professional use, the Pelagos FXD includes many functional features that are new to Tudor. These include its fixed strap bars that are machined into the main body of the 42mm titanium case for increased robustness and reliability, and that are key to the model’s characteristic silhouette.
Another feature specific to the Pelagos FXD is the 120-notch rotating bezel. Bidirectional with retrograde graduation from 60 to 0, it does not correspond to the ISO 6425:2018 standard of divers’ watches, but instead meets the specific needs of the method known as “underwater navigation”, one of the specialities of combat swimmers.
Similar to the 9401, the Pelagos FXD’s caseback is engraved with the Marine nationale (French Navy) logo and the inscription “M.N.21” (Marine nationale 2021). The navy blue matte dial features applied hour markers filled with grade X1 Swiss Super-LumiNova luminescent material, which is also used on the signature “snowflake” hands.
The Manufacture Calibre MT5602, certified by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC), displays hours, minutes and seconds functions with a silicon balance spring and a 70-hour power reserve – enabling the wearer to take the watch off on a Friday evening and put it back on again on Monday morning without having to reset it.
Finally, the single-piece fabric strap pays tribute to the ultra-functional handmade straps (made from parachute elastic) favoured by French military divers. It follows a new, highly technical strap construction developed by Tudor and its supplier Julien Faure with a titanium “D” buckle and self-gripping fastening system. Also included for the first time by Tudor is an additional one-piece rubber strap with an embossed motif and buckle.
Thanks in no small part to the contributions of the French Navy’s combat swimmers, the Pelagos FXD is the latest in a long line of Tudor divers’ watches and emblematic of the brand’s efforts to continually improve, innovate and write its own unique underwater story.