In the 1950s, Tudor launched the first modern professional diving watches, and it has been a long-term supply to the French Navy until the 1980s. This time, Tudor launched a new Pelagos FXD watch, injecting new ideas into the long history of cooperation between the two parties. Developed by Tudor in collaboration with Commando Hubert, the famous French naval frogman special forces, this high-tech watch meets a series of special technical specifications. Among them, FXD refers to the extra rigid fixed strap rod on the case, which is extra strong and provides reliable protection for divers.
Tudor and the French Navy
In 2021, Tudor and the Marine nationale (French Navy) brand will join hands again, renewing the long history. The cooperation between the two parties can be traced back to 1956. At that time, in order to evaluate the Tudor watch in actual use, the Groupe d’Étude et de Recherches Sous-Marines (GERS), a French naval affiliated scientific research institution in Toulon, ordered A batch of Oyster Prince Submariner watches. This batch of watches includes references 7922 and 7923, both of which are water-resistant to a depth of 100 meters (330 feet) and equipped with self-winding and manual-winding movements, respectively. After evaluation, the then-commander of G.E.R.S. described the water resistance of the two watches as “perfect” and considered their timing “very accurate.” The Swiss watchmaking brand convinced him of the outstanding performance of its products, he soon ordered more watches, and in 1961 Tudor was awarded the title of “Official Supplier of the French Navy”.
As the TUDOR diver’s watch continued to evolve, the French Navy used several different models over the following decades. The most famous of these is the model 9401 with its classic blue finish and bezel. There are two versions of this watch, each with a “snowflake” hand with different shaped hour markers, and the case back is engraved with the French Navy’s initials “M.N.” and the year of release. This watch has been supplied to the French Navy from the beginning of its birth in the mid-1970s to the 1980s, and is still used by the French Naval Diving Academy and the Frogman Special Forces until the 21st century. Although it was no longer in the French Navy’s munitions stock some twenty years ago, it can still be seen from time to time on the wrists of reserve and retired sailors. The Pelagos FXD watch is inspired by this classic model.
Special technical specification requirements
The Pelagos FXD watch was developed by Tudor in cooperation with the French Navy Frogman Special Forces and meets a series of precise and stringent technical specifications. The watch is equipped with many new functional features, especially the fixed strap rod connected to the main body of the 42 mm titanium case, which is like an extension of the lugs, which is not only more robust and reliable in use, but also makes the model unique.
Another special feature of the watch is its rotating bezel with 120 slots. The bezel can be rotated in both directions, and the scale is reversed from 60 to 0. Although this design does not conform to the standard of diving watches stipulated by ISO 6425:2018, it meets the specific needs of the frogman special forces when performing “underwater diving” tasks.
Underwater diving is when a diver follows a carefully planned route to reach a precise location by sea without staying out of the water. When performing, it is usually performed in groups of two, connected to each other by a tether known as a “lifeline”, and complete a series of straight-line diving tasks under the guidance of a magnetic compass. The whole line is divided into different sections, each section needs to move forward at a stable speed within a given time, and complete as many sections as possible. During the process, not only does each swim segment require precise timing, but every time the route direction is changed, the countdown needs to be restarted. To this end, Pelagos FXD has specially designed a counterclockwise scale and a luminous display for the outer ring, indicating the time spent in each swimming segment with a minute hand, which can be easily set and facilitated by divers to monitor each countdown. When the minute hand reaches the direction opposite the triangular mark, the two-person team can change the direction of travel, and the diver in charge of timing starts the next round of countdown. This model also features an extra-large outer ring, the diameter of which is larger than the diameter of the case, making it easy to grip and adjust even when divers are wearing neoprene gloves or have their hands frozen from prolonged exposure to cold water.
In terms of exterior design, Pelagos FXD draws inspiration from the Tudor diving watch used by the French Navy, with a navy blue surface with distinctive square hour markers and angular hands called “snowflakes”. First introduced in 1969, the hand was designed to increase the brightness of the hand in dim light, making it easier to read. The watch is also equipped with a rotating bezel with a sandblasted ceramic word ring coated with a luminous material. The 42mm titanium case is water-resistant to 200 meters and has a matte finish to minimize light refraction. In order to demonstrate the official status of the watch, the case back is also engraved with the Marine nationale (French Navy) brand logo and the historic word “MN21”. 21″ stands for “Marine nationale 2021”.
Textured strap with French navy heritage
In the past, the French Navy had required Tudor to supply the watch without a strap. When it was actually used, they would assemble the handmade strap and other special straps. Two straps have been in particular use over the years, a black one-piece nylon textured strap and a handcrafted elastic strap in green parachute cloth with a yellow or red central stripe. This kind of strap is rare, but it is very recognizable and extremely functional. The textured strap of the Pelagos FXD is inspired by this, paying homage to the brand’s deep roots with the French navy.
As a major feature of Tudor, the use of the one-piece textured strap can be traced back to 2010, and Tudor has also become one of the earliest watchmaking brands to use textured straps. Made by Julien Faure, a family business in the St-Etienne region of France, this strap is woven on a nineteenth-century jacquard loom and is of high quality, firm and comfortable to wear. . The Pelagos FXD model is equipped with a new high-tech strap developed by Tudor in cooperation with Julien Fuller, reminiscent of the seemingly boring but significant underwater work of French naval divers. The strap is made of 22mm wide navy blue polyethylene webbing with a pointed grey stripe in the center, with a titanium “D” buckle and a self-adhesive buckle that can be flexibly adapted to different wrist sizes and is comfortable to wear.
Coincidentally, Julien Foul, founded in 1864, has also been producing decorative webbing for the French Navy for many years, an integral part of the French sailor’s cap and decorated with the names of French naval ships. The sailor hat with this webbing decoration, also known as “bachi”, is a legendary red pom-pom hat often worn by French sailors and helmsmen. At the same time, the Pelagos FXD also comes with a one-piece rubber strap with an embossed pattern and a buckle, which is extra soft and comfortable than any rubber strap that Tudor has released before.
Tudor original movement MT5602
The Pelagos FXD replica watch is equipped with the original Tudor movement MT5602, which has the display function of hours, minutes and seconds. The movement adopts the classic finish of the original Tudor movement. The one-piece hollowed-out tungsten automatic oscillating weight is frosted with sandblasted details, while the plywood and main plywood are interlaced with polished and sandblasted finishes, embellished with laser patterns.
The inside of the movement is fixed on both sides of the inertia fine-tuning balance wheel and fixed with a solid transverse splint to ensure that the watch is strong, durable, reliable and accurate. The original Tudor movement MT5602 is equipped with a non-magnetic silicon hairspring, which is not only certified by the Swiss Official Observatory (COSC), but also has outstanding performance that exceeds the standards set by this independent organization. According to the certification regulations of the official Swiss Observatory, the daily average error of the movement relative to absolute time during operation can be between -4 and +6 seconds, while after the Tudor watch is assembled, the daily error of the movement is only – Between 2 and +4 seconds.
The history of Tudor diving watches can be traced back to 1954. The first diving watch model was 7922, which was waterproof to a depth of 100 meters (330 feet). Since then, it has opened up a long journey for Tudor watches in the underwater field. Affordable, robust and accurate, the Tudor diver’s watch is an outstanding example of the Tudor functional watch philosophy. Seventy years since the birth of the original watch model 7922, the Tudor diving watch has been continuously improved and has been widely recognized and appreciated by industry professionals, including the most influential navies in the world. In 2021, the brand will launch Pelagos FXD, which also marks that Tudor replica will continue to work with excellent partners such as the French Navy to compose a wonderful underwater legend.