October 9, 2017
by Ariel Adams
Compared to overall quality, the Rolex Submariner dial beats the Pelagos – but again they are trying to do different things. The Submariner is intentionally trying to be a bit flashier, while the Pelagos is more about being a neat looking utility device. The latter’s dial is devoid of polished surfaces or anything that even looks like metal for that matter. If you look closely, you’ll inevitably see small inconsistencies in the application of the Super-LumiNova, which is not uncommon at all. Though, you need to look really closely. I simply say this to explain that when you pay the extra money for the Rolex, you get just a little more construction fanaticism when it comes to total dial perfection. Nevertheless, for the money the Pelagos dial is excellent – you just need to appreciate it as a tool watch and not as a lifestyle item people want to merely show off.
One of the fun quirks that Tudor included in the dial design is something just meant to add personality that has no functional use. It is subtle, but it does bring me joy that the numerals on the date disc alternate between being printed in a red or black color. That means every day the color of the date changes. It just helps liven things up a bit, and is the last cosmetic thing I’ll mention before I once again proceed to talk about all the little functional details you should be excited about if you are interested in getting a Pelagos watch.
Before that, I’ll just say the final thing which separates the Pelagos LHD from the standard Pelagos is the fact that each piece is given an individual serial number on the back of the case. This isn’t new or all that uncommon, but it is for a watch like this and helps add collectability to it. Yes, Tudor sort of randomly made up an enthusiast’s version of the Pelagos and added a serial number to the caseback, but oddly enough it was the right thing to do as it helps each individual piece feel a bit more unique. Tudor is correct that collectors will like it, and it gives just one more reason to consider the LHD versus the other models. Allow me to make it clear right here and now that while the Pelagos LHD is less common than the standard Pelagos in a retail environment, it does have the exact same price (which I think is a very smart move by Tudor). Finally, this is not a limited edition insofar that Tudor isn’t planning on making a finite amount of Pelagos LHD models, but rather that the production will be less, and more easy for enthusiasts to track based on the serial numbers.
Tudor took the role of the Pelagos as a diving watch very seriously, a fact you’ll appreciate as you discover all the little things the watch has in its design. The bigger picture is that the Pelagos is a 42mm wide (roughly 14mm thick) titanium-cased diving watch with both 500m of water resistance and an automatic helium release valve. In other words, Tudor wanted something that could meet the expectations of authentic professional divers, as well as the much larger population of recreational divers.
As a dive watch, it has a rotating bezel with a matte black ceramic insert. The bezel markers are fully painted with luminant, and the effect in the dark with the bezel and dial makes it look like a million bucks. A clever “safety” system in the bezel requires that you press it down just a little bit prior to rotating in a uni-directional manner. The system is engineered very well.
More nice little features are included in the wonderfully engineered titanium bracelet. Tudor also offers a custom rubber strap with the kit, along with an extension strap. This means that if you prefer the watch on the strap, you don’t need to deal with an excessively long strap. If however, you want to wear the Pelagos over a thick wet or dry suit, then you can use the included extension strap.
The bracelet also includes a few forms of extension. First there is the easy to miss fold-out extension which is a bit more traditional but included in the design. Then there is the multi-setting extension in the deployant clasp, which is spring-loaded. The idea is that you can put the bracelet in a few “locked” positions (meaning the spring system is locked), or you can put the deployant into “spring” mode. This is the preferred setting for me because it allows the watch bracelet to expand a bit, as well as be pulled pretty far if you are wearing it over a wet suit. This is among the best micro-adjust systems out there, and while the spring system in general is not unique to Tudor, they do it better than anyone else right now that I know of.
The darker gray, all brushed hues of the titanium case and bracelet make for a very handsome, masculine look for the Pelagos. The matte tones of the dial mixed with the look of the case further make the Pelagos feel both serious and modern. The Pelagos has some personality outside of its tool-like character, but not so much as to feel silly or artistic. The Pelagos is all about a directed focus on functionality, and for that reason, tool watch lovers will enjoy it the most.
With all this technology and attention to detail, I still don’t know why the Swiss are scared of using treated titanium in order to prevent scratches. The weakness of titanium is that despite it being stronger and lighter than steel, it is more prone to scratches. This means that your sexy new titanium watch will inevitably show signs of wear perhaps a bit sooner than you’d like. Japanese brands like Citizen have “Super Titanium,” which treats the base natural titanium with a few totally transparent (or non transparent in some instances) coatings, which dramatically increases scratch resistance. In Germany, Sinn offers their “Tegimented” titanium, which also goes through a hardening process. With all the resources and tools available to Tudor and Rolex, I hope that in the future they are able to deliver metal watches that look new a lot longer. I’m not sure who else feels that way, but I feel that once you become accustomed to durability features such as that, it is hard to go back to more fragile metal surfaces.
Nevertheless, Tudor is at its best when machining a metal case. For the money there is no better-made watch case that I know of than those offered by Tudor. Rolex makes them just as well, but of course for more money. The precision machining when it comes to fine angles and delicate differences between finishing patterns (such as the intersection of two brushed surfaces) is excellent on the Pelagos case. It is really a beautiful thing, and I know watch lovers at all experience levels will really come to appreciate Tudor’s handiwork here.
The mechanical movement inside of the Pelagos LHD is the Tudor caliber MT5612-LHD. Given that the crown is flipped, the movement has its own designation. Considered a nice upgrade from a standard ETA 2824, the MT5612 is a really impressive automatic that offers 70 hours of power reserve with a 4Hz (28,800 bph) operating frequency. More so, the movement has a silicon balance spring as part of the balance wheel which is held in place by a durable traversing bridge (basically it connects on two sides). The movement also offers more regulation than ETA movements, so it can be adjusted to be more accurate. More so, the movement is COSC Chronometer certified – which is actually not very common for lefty orientation watches (since the position of the crown is taken into consideration as part of the chronometer certification tests for the movement).
Larger, more modern looking, and lighter than the Rolex Submariner, the Tudor Pelagos is less of a replacement as much as it is an alternative. You could easily own both and find plenty of times when the Rolex makes more sense to wear, and instances when the Pelagos makes more sense. Guys who like the wrist presence of bigger timepieces with a more modern feel will like the Pelagos, while the Submariner wins when it comes to classiness and timeless appeal. Even though it is natural to compare the Submariner to the Pelagos, they are quite different watches. Honestly, if you can afford to, I’d suggest having one of each.
The Tudor Pelagos LHD is currently at the top of my list for Tudor watches to own. Tudor is already pulling at the heartstrings of collectors by making this model a bit more difficult to find and thus more exclusive than the standard Pelagos. With that said, I do appreciate that they decided to keep the price between the various Pelagos models exactly the same. The reference M25610TNL-0001 (aka 25610TNL) Tudor Pelagos LHD watch has a retail price of $4,400 USD. tudorwatch.com
>Model: Pelagos LHD M25610TNL-0001
>Price: $4,400 USD
>Size: 42mm wide
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Modern tool watch lover wanting a best of breed watch from a trusted name in Swiss watches.
>Best characteristic of watch: Excellent design makes it an ideal diver’s tool watch with the refinement and quality of a luxury timepiece. Has a high-end feel without an ounce of bling. Thoughtful features and a beautifully made, comfortable case.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Titanium case can scratch easily. Dial design is more functional than it is pretty – but its value grows on the wearer steadily over time.