August 30, 2022
Ever since Tudor first launched the Pelagos back in 2012, collectors have been asking for a slightly smaller and more compact version of the brand’s titanium purpose-built dive watch. The original Pelagos could almost be seen as the Tudor’s answer to the Sea-Dweller, and it occupied the position of the company’s most capable and purpose-built dive watch. However, with a 42mm case, 500 meters of water resistance, and a helium escape valve fitted to the side of the case, the original Pelagos was both a bit larger than what some people wanted to wear on a daily basis, and it was also more professionally-oriented in terms of its capabilities and features than what most people actually need from their dive watch. Given how Tudor has built out most of its collections to include models in different sizes, it seemed like only a matter of time before the Pelagos would receive a similar treatment. Well, the wait is finally over, and the Tudor Pelagos 39 has just joined the lineup as a smaller version of the brand’s fan-favorite titanium diver that exchanges some of the original model’s professional dive watch capabilities for a smaller and more compact case profile that is perfectly suited for everyday wear and use.
As its name suggests, the Tudor Pelagos 39 features a 39mm case that measures 11.8mm thick and is crafted from grade 2 titanium with a satin brushed finish. Additionally, while the original 42mm model was fitted with a helium gas escape valve and offered a whopping 500 meters of water of resistance, the new Pelagos 39 offers a 200-meter depth reading and lacks an HEV entirely. Realistically speaking, virtually no one outside of a very small handful of commercial saturation divers actually requires a helium escape valve on their watch, and while some collectors appreciate this feature for its history and technical merits, helium escape valves are largely entirely superfluous on their respective watches. By omitting this feature and dialing the corresponding water resistance back down to a more reasonable 200 meters (660 feet), the Tudor Pelagos 39 is able to achieve a much more compact case profile, while still remaining entirely capable of being a professional dive watch.
Beyond the reduction in size and the removal of the helium gas escape valve, the overall case design of the Tudor Pelagos 39 will be instantly familiar to those who have experience with its full-size siblings. Featuring a solid caseback, a screw-down titanium winding crown located at the 3 o’clock position, a flat sapphire crystal protecting its dial, and a pair of small yet functional crown guards, the overall design is very similar to the rest of the watches within the current Pelagos collection, and the new model similarly features a unidirectional rotating timing bezel fitted to the top of its case that is completed by a luminous ceramic insert. With that in mind, while the full-size Tudor Pelagos is available with either a black or blue bezel insert, with both color options receiving a matte finish, the insert fitted to the Pelagos 39 is exclusively offered in black ceramic (at least at the present time), and it features a sunray satin finish for a slightly more elevated overall appearance.
Just like the bezel, the dial of the Tudor Pelagos 39 is exclusively offered in black (at least at the time of its launch), and unlike the standard full-size model, the Pelagos 39 is a time-only watch with a trio of centrally-mounted hands, and it that lacks the date window at the 3 o’clock location that is characteristic of its larger full-size siblings. While the Snowflake hands and the geometric shape of its hour markers are very similar to what can be found throughout the rest of the Pelagos collection, the overall dial layout on the Tudor Pelagos 39 is actually closest to being a black version of the dial fitted to the Pelagos FXD, and it features a simple 45 degree angled flange for its rehaut, rather than a three-dimensional structure with cutouts for the individual hour markers like what exists on the original Pelagos models.
The dial of the Tudor Pelagos 39 features monobloc luminescent ceramic composite hour markers, and while the FXD is fitted with a blue dial and the standard 42mm versions receive traditional matte dials with all-white text, the black dial fitted to the Tudor Pelagos 39 features a subtle sunray satin finish with the “Pelagos” name in bright red letters. Just like the Pelagos FXD, the dial of the Pelagos 39 also omits the fifth line of text that reads “Rotor Self-Winding” and it instead has just four lines of text that denote the model’s name, its depth rating, and the obligatory two lines of chronometer certification text. Despite still being black in color and offering an overall design and layout that is instantly identifiable as being from the greater Pelagos collection, the dial fitted to the Tudor Pelagos 39 offers a slightly more elevated appearance due to its radial sunray finish, and this perfectly helps separate it from its more tool-watch oriented siblings.
Powering the new Tudor Pelagos 39 is the brand’s in-house Caliber MT5400 automatic movement, which is the exact same self-winding caliber that can be found inside the new 36mm version of the Black Bay S&G model that was updated earlier this year at Watches & Wonders Geneva 2022. Just like other in-house Tudor movements, the Cal. MT5400 is produced by Kenissi and it runs at a frequency of 28,800vph while offering advanced features such as a non-magnetic silicon hairspring, a variable inertia balance held in place by a transverse bridge, a “weekend-proof” power reserve of approximately 70 hours, and COSC chronometer certification. Additionally, while the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) tolerances permit an average daily variation of between -4 and +6 seconds for the movements submitted for testing, Tudor guarantees even more stringent tolerances between -2 and +4 seconds per day of variation once the watch is completely assembled.
Just like the standard full-size Tudor Pelagos watches, the new Pelagos 39 comes fitted with a matching titanium bracelet, and it also includes a complimentary rubber strap that fits into the end-links of the bracelet to create an integrated overall appearance. The grade 2 titanium bracelet offers an overall design that is very similar to what you will find on the standard Pelagos model, and it features a tapered three-link structure with completely satin-brushed surfaces. However, while the clasp fitted to the bracelet of the full-size 42mm Pelagos models includes a highly innovative spring-loaded extension system, the bracelet on the Tudor Pelagos 39 receives the brand’s T-fit clasp.
While the Tudor T-fit clasp still offers easy and tool-free length adjustment, there will inevitably be some collectors who will be disappointed that the spring-loaded clasp from the 42mm model wasn’t carried over onto the 39mm version. With that in mind, Tudor’s T-fit clasp still offers users five positions of micro-adjustment that permit a total of 8mm of adjustability, and the clasp also features a 25mm bracelet extension that allows it to be worn over the sleeve of a thick wetsuit. Additionally, the complimentary black rubber strap that comes with the watch is fitted with a matching titanium pin buckle, and it also includes a rubber extension piece for diving applications that enables it to be expanded by an additional 110mm for use with a thick dry suit. Although the spring-loaded clasp was arguably one of the most celebrated features on the original Tudor Pelagos, the T-fit clasp still offers users plenty of on-the-fly adjustability.
Given that the Tudor Pelagos 39 is objectively less capable compared to the full-size 42mm version, it would only make sense for the new model to cost less than its full-size counterpart, and Tudor seems to agree with this sentiment. With an official retail price of $4,400 USD, the Pelagos 39 sits right in the middle between the cost of the minimalist Pelagos FXD and what Tudor charges for the flagship 42mm model. With that in mind, other than having a lower depth rating and omitting the additional functionality of a date complication and helium escape valve, the Tudor Pelagos 39 isn’t really lacking anything compared to its larger siblings. Rather than being a purpose-built dive watch that was specifically designed for professional use and the unique environments of saturation diving, the Pelagos 39 is the titanium Tudor diver for everyone that offers a more compact case profile and a slightly more elevated aesthetic, while still being entirely capable of accompanying you scuba diving and standing up to the rigors of whatever activities you might be able to throw at it. For more information, please visit the manufacturer’s website.