A true dive watch, especially those that have toolish aspirations, require a capable bezel design and ample luminous treatment for low-light conditions. Far from disappointing on either front, the Tudor Pelagos’ bezel is as good as any I’ve ever dove with, the edge is slightly wider than the case and features a grippy coin edge for a positive grip in any condition. The action is light, clicky, exact, and without any wiggle, allowing you to hit your mark with ease. Finished with a luminous ceramic insert, the Tudor Pelagos’ bezel is simply outstanding.
Thanks to a high contrast design, a flat anti-reflective sapphire crystal, and plenty of lume, the Pelagos offers excellent legibility in any condition. The luminous treatment is surprisingly even across the hands, markers, and bezel, and it charges quickly and returns a bright strong blue with remarkable longevity. If you’re used to divers from Seiko or current-gen Rolex, you won’t be let down.
Aside from maybe a suit-and-tie environment, I can’t imagine any place where the Tudor Pelagos won’t fit in. Despite its tool-derived look, the Tudor Pelagos’ extensive use of titanium makes it quite light on wrist, at just 106g on the rubber strap and 142g with the titanium bracelet sized to my 6.5-7-inch wrist.
As is common to modern Tudor watches, the Tudor Pelagos does not forget its lineage. While the aesthetic may by less romantic and less referential than that of the Black Bay, we still see Tudor’s distinctive snowflake hour hand.
The Tudor Pelagos, as has become requisite for almost all serious dive watches since the Rolex Sea-Dweller, features an automatic helium escape valve (HEV) on the nine o’clock case side. This is perhaps the only aspect of the Tudor Pelagos I would change, as I think the fascination with HEVs on “professional” dive watches is entirely inflated and often rooted in a misunderstanding of the valves base function. In short, an HEV makes a watch better suited to the incredibly niche needs of a saturation diver. It does not improve water resistance or make it a better watch for the act of diving. If you don’t live in a helium saturated environment for days on end, you don’t need an HEV.
The Tudor Pelagos’ titanium case and bracelet are treated to a lovely satin finish and the warm tone of the metal works really well with the rich blues of the dial and bezel. Furthermore, the case and bracelet are beautifully finished for a sport watch at this price point, with crisp undersides, beveled lugs, and a focus on fine details like the grip on the bezel. Being a titanium sport watch, you have to be okay with scratches, as titanium is softer than steel. In the few weeks I wore the Tudor Pelagos, I found it to be a magnet for small scratches, especially on the bracelet. I like a watch with some wear, and I think scratches are all part of the experience when you buy a tool watch. If you like your watches to remain pristine, titanium may not be the best choice.
On wrist, the Tudor is comfortable both in terms of ergonomics and capability. The Tudor Pelagos exudes the sort of confidence I would normally attribute to a product of singular use that just happens to be experienced in its element. So while my regulator is great when I need to breathe underwater, the Tudor Pelagos is basically great all the time. It has all the hallmarks of a tool diver, but it has been designed to be as wearable, casual, and approachable as possible. With such a potent mix of legibility, performance, and comfort, the Pelagos is one of the best true sport watches on the market today.
Competition is a crucial factor at any price, but when you’re spending luxury dollars, it’s even more important to know how everything stacks up. For the current version of the Tudor Pelagos, competition is fairly slim because Tudor’s inclusion of an in-house movement is a considerable upgrade in cache over the ETA-powered version from 2012. Furthermore, when the Tudor Pelagos was upgraded, its list price jumped a mere $275, which is unheard of in this space. Don’t forget that the asking price includes both the titanium bracelet and the rubber strap where some more costly competition would cost extra to add rubber (if an OEM option even exists, Rolex), or even more if the bracelet isn’t included in the base spec.
Even if you pick a solid peer from a strong competitor like Sinn, such as the T2 on the titanium bracelet, you’re looking at $3060 USD. For about $1,300 less than the Tudor Pelagos, you get a comparable package but the movement is not in-house (the Sinn uses the well-regarded Soprod A10-2, a competitor for ETA’s 289X movements). Add in the T2’s rubber strap, and you’re looking at $3500+. For the extra cash, the Pelagos offers an in-house movement and exceedingly impressive auto adjusting clasp for the bracelet. Is the Sinn a bad deal? Not a chance, but Tudor has been aggressive in their pricing of the Pelagos, despite a rather limited field of direct competition.
I wore the Pelagos while traveling, diving, sitting by the pool, and running everyday errands. Regardless of what you throw at it, the adaptable and confident Tudor Pelagos begs to be worn, offers a seriously compelling argument for your hard-earned cash, and is easily one of the best dive watches I’ve ever reviewed. At a price of $4,400, I think Tudor has hit the mark. tudorwatch.com
>Price: $4,400 USD
>Size: 42mm x 14.3mm x 50mm
>Would reviewer personally wear it: YES!
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Anyone wanting a best-of-breed tool watch.
>Best characteristic of watch: The bezel, or maybe the lume, or maybe the bracelet clasp (we could go on)…
>Worst characteristic of watch: The titanium scratches easily.