Tudor’s robust naval heritage stretches back to the 1950s when Tudor Submariners were selected for use by the U.S. Navy after passing rigorous testing. The no-nonsense Tudor Submariners outperformed many competitors and became a standard issue for U.S. Navy divers, cementing Tudor’s reputation as a preeminent maker of rugged, seaworthy dive watches tailored for military use.
Interestingly, in the early days, Tudor watches were not even sold under the Tudor name. The first Tudor watches were sold under the name “Oyster” and only in 1946 did the Tudor name finally appear on dials.
Tudor established itself as a leader in the dive watch segment in the 1950s and 60s with robust tool watches made for professional and military divers. The little-known Tudor Submariner reference 7923 produced from 1958-1964 is one of the key inspirations for the FXD’s design. Like the 7923, the Pelagos FXD has a fixed 12-hour bezel with no timing function. The left-hand crown is also reminiscent of the 7923.
This small batch of vintage dive watches may not be well known outside of Tudor circles, but they directly influenced some of the Pelagos FXD’s key aesthetic details. The update gives a respectful nod to Tudor’s past while still resulting in a modern dive watch unmistakably of its time.
The 7923 was also the first Tudor Submariner model to be available with the distinctive “snowflake” handset. While the snowflake hands are now a Tudor calling card, they were quite avant-garde in the 1960s and another little-known Tudor innovation.
The Tudor Pelagos FXD represents the latest chapter in Tudor’s design evolution while staying true to some of its most unique and rare vintage pieces. Building on this legacy, Tudor returned to the luxury sports watch segment in the 2010s, introducing the original Pelagos dive watch in 2012. The Pelagos showcased Tudor’s focus on technical innovation like an in-house movement and industry-first ceramic bezel insert.
But Tudor also emphasized heritage in the aesthetic design, taking inspiration from the early Oyster and Submariner models of the 1950s and 60s. The Pelagos quickly became a cornerstone of the modern Tudor collection. It was continually updated with new technology like an in-house chronometer-certified movement in 2015 and an industry-leading 70-hour power reserve in 2017. Unique matte black dials using a cutting-edge manufacturing process were introduced in 2020.
This brings us to 2023 and the release of the Tudor Pelagos FXD, which represents both a tribute to some of Tudor’s rarest sports watches as well as an impressive showcase of watchmaking prowess.
The most striking update is the fixed bezel which eliminates the rotating timing bezel. This design choice references vintage Tudor Submariners like the reference 7923 which also had a characteristic fixed 12-hour bezel. The bezel is cleverly engraved with a 12-hour graduated track while retaining its fixed position. This allows the Pelagos FXD to retain its functional dive watch pedigree while honoring the brand’s design codes.
While the design may recall these vintage pieces, the technology powering the Pelagos FXD is state-of-the-art. The titanium case is incredibly light yet extremely scratch and corrosion-resistant thanks to modern machining methods. Inside beats Tudor’s Manufacture Calibre MT5400 which has a 70-hour power reserve certified by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) as a chronometer.
The movement can be admired through the sapphire caseback along with other design details like the open “snowflake” rotor. The hybrid rubber and fabric strap is also an innovative modern design made for comfort and durability.
With the Pelagos FXD, Tudor has succeeded in creating a dive watch that expertly combines the best of their long history in the genre with forward-thinking technological innovations. It manages to honor some of Tudor’s rarest sports watches while feeling entirely fresh and relevant to today’s watch enthusiasts.
The Pelagos FXD is a prime example of how Tudor embraces their heritage while continuing to evolve as an independent premium watchmaker. By honoring obscure references like the 7923, Tudor shows a deep respect for their history. Yet the cutting-edge engineering and technology make the FXD very much a watch of the present.