In May this year, Tudor announced a (not so) new partnership with a lot of historical resonance… Indeed, we’re talking about a long-standing collaboration that dates back to the 1950s, when dive watches were instruments for combat divers. Yes, Tudor has renewed its partnership with the Marine National (of the French Navy), bringing back a military connection that gave birth to some of the most collectable vintage watches of the brand. And now, it’s time for the dedicated watch to surface, based on the Pelagos, and updated with multiple tweaks. And yes, the M.N. engraving on the back is present! Here’s the new Tudor Pelagos FXD Marine Nationale.
Just like mothership Rolex, Tudor has long been involved with military forces. Following the creation of the Submariner in 1953, Rolex started to develop more accessible models under Tudor branding (in 1954 to be precise), which quickly caught the attention of the Marine Nationale. The French Navy started early to collaborate with the brand and used multiple versions of the Oyster Prince Submariner – first with ref. 7922 and 7924, then for the second batch some ref. 7928. And as of 1974, Tudor started to deliver Submariner ref. 7016 to the Marine Nationale – the first watches to receive the emblematic signature on the back, the iconic ‘MN 74’ engraving and snowflake hands and squared markers.
Then followed the even more iconic 94010 models, with blue dials and bezel inserts. One of the specificities of these MN watches was to feature soldered lugs, and thus they were worn on all kinds of straps… the most iconic one being the green elastic strap that was actually made from parachute belts.
Ps. note that this isn’t the first collaboration we see between the French Marine Nationale and a watch brand this year, as Yema (a French brand) has also announced its dedicated watches earlier in 2021. A rather surprising situation, if we’re honest.
The New Tudor Pelagos FXD Marine Nationale
This new Tudor Pelagos FXD Marine Nationale watch is based on a modern classic of the brand, the Pelagos. Launched in 2012, this watch was Tudor’s answer to the Sea-Dweller, with a far more instrumental look than the Black Bay, a titanium case with ceramic bezel, an overall sleek design and upgraded diving credentials – 500m water-resistance, helium escape valve. In 2015 came a major update, with the launch of a blue dial version and the integration of the brand’s manufacture movement.
Now, in 2021, the brand has developed a new version of the Pelagos according to a series of technical specifications elaborated by one of the French Navy’s combat divers elite team. The result is a watch that shows several updates compared to a regular Pelagos, with most of them thought to facilitate underwater navigation and professional use… as it used to be in the past. The base model might be the Pelagos, but the inspiration behind this new FXD model is the reference 9401 with its blue dial, snowflake hands and squared indexes. And the name, it refers to the “extra robust fixed strap bars” of the case.
The case feels familiar at first. Indeed, the Tudor Pelagos FXD is based on the classic 42mm titanium case of other members of the family. It measures 12.75mm in height (about 1mm less than before) and 52mm lug-to-lug. Entirely satin-brushed, it surprisingly has only 200m of water-resistance and no more helium valve anymore. The main update, and a reference of the fixed strap bars of the past, the case is now machined from a single block of titanium with fixed strap loops on the back. Shaped as an extension of the lugs, they are key to the model’s characteristic silhouette.
Another important update concerns the bezel. Still featuring a ceramic insert in blue, it now has a fully graduated 60-minute scale but with a retrograde (countdown) graduation. Also, the bezel is titanium and bidirectional with 120 clicks. And, to please the aficionado, the screwed stainless steel caseback is adorned with the typical Marine Nationale engraving, here updated to be contemporary with the logo of the Marine Nationale (French Navy) composed of an anchor topped with a sailor’s hat, as well as a historically-inspired engraving “M.N.21” for “Marine Nationale 2021.”
The dial of the Tudor Pelagos FXD Marine Nationale M25707B is also updated compared to the classic Pelagos, with a navy blue colour. It has the characteristic square hour markers and angular hands, known as Snowflake, introduced by the brand in 1969. Also, there is no date anymore but a simple HMS display, as well as “only” 4 lines of text at 6 o’clock instead of 5 on the Pelagos 500. All the elements of the dial and the bezel are largely filled with white Super-Luminova for great contrast in low light conditions. There’s also a simpler inner flange, which doesn’t frame the markers anymore.
Powering the Tudor Pelagos FXD is the brand’s manufacture chronometer movement, the COSC-certified calibre MT5602. Built for precision and robustness, it has 70h of power reserve, a 4Hz frequency, a solid transversing bridge and a non-magnetic silicon balance spring with variable inertia balance. it is also regulated internally between -2 and +4 seconds’ variation in its running when it is completely assembled.
Finally, there’s the new straps – something recurrent for the brand, which has played a lot in this field. The Tudor Pelagos FXD pays tribute to the past watches, which were not delivered with straps. Combat divers fitted them with their own straps… black straps made from a single piece of braided nylon, and, less commonly, handmade straps made from parachute elastic. Here, Tudor couldn’t deliver a commercial watch without a strap (of course) so they created a new, highly technical strap construction. According to Tudor, it’s made up of a 22 mm navy blue polyethylene woven ribbon with a silver central thread, a titanium D buckle and a self-gripping fastening system, it adapts to different wrist sizes and is very comfortable to wear. An additional one-piece rubber strap with an embossed motif and buckle is also included with the Pelagos FXD.
The Tudor Pelagos FXD Marine Nationale (ref. M25707B/21-0001) is released now at a price of CHF 3,700 or EUR 3,650. It comes with a five-year transferable guarantee with no registration or periodic maintenance checks required. For more details, please visit www.tudorwatch.com.