Over the last several years, watch collectors and enthusiasts have been screaming into the ether about how brands don’t listen to what they want. “I wish it was smaller” this, “why doesn’t the clasp have adjustment” that, or “when will they release a coke bezel GMT” — the list goes on and on. By launching the new Tudor Pelagos 39, the brand proves that it can (and sometimes will) listen to what the market wants. As soon as the press release for this watch dropped into our inbox, we arranged to pop by Rolex/Tudor Canada HQ to get a closer look at the new release, and see what all the fuss is about.
It’s worth noting from the get-go that this release has been as polarizing as every recent Tudor watch release; you may remember the Tudor Pelagos FXD we covered in 2021. In years past, Tudor has made a bit more of a splash about its launches, even when the launch involved little more than a new dial colour. Needless to say this method got more than its fair share of watch enthusiasts unnecessarily frothy and quick to vent their respective gripes online. This go around, shy of a marketing video on the brand’s social channels, this watch was simply dropped into the market with a press release being blasted out to media on its launch day. Because no good deed goes unpunished, a quick skim of Instagram in the watch world reveals more of the same.
The thing is, the excitement is genuine this time. Yes, it’s “just another black dive watch”, but at 39mm across and 11.8mm thick — a whisper thinner and smaller than the Rolex Submariner — its case dimensions are easily deemed perfect by modern standards. Its titanium case and bracelet give it the same lightweight feel as the original 42mm Pelagos, and it comes packed with a lot of bells and whistles for its $5,170 sticker price. I’m the first to admit, if not for the recent acquisition of an Omega Seamaster 300m, the Tudor Pelagos 39 would be at the top of my list when looking for a daily-wear capable dive watch.
A Dial and Bezel That Hits Different
The main standout of this new Pelagos 39 is easily its dial and bezel. Both feature what the brand is calling a sunray satin finish, which after seeing the watch in person, are not especially well reflected in the stock imagery that accompany its launch. Shooting the watch in boardroom lighting, both the dial and the bezel have the ability to shift from a gloss black look to a sort of black/grey sheen depending on how the light hits it at any given time. This was especially noted with its bezel, as it appeared to have a sort of faded grey appearance on occasion, reminiscent of what’s known in the vintage Submariner market as a “ghost bezel”. Plainly put, if you’re looking for something more jet black, you might as well keep waiting on that multi-year Submariner waitlist or pick another watch from elsewhere.
The Differences and Similarities
Before getting into any details, a quick glance shows that the original Pelagos DNA is still readily apparent. The darker grey hue of its titanium case, the block-like hour indices, the hands, and the layout of its bezel are all easy to pick out of the crowd. It also offers the same five-year transferrable warranty, and is powered by an in-house manufacture caliber that delivers a 70-hour power reserve. Lastly, though photographed with its titanium bracelet, the Pelagos 39 also comes with a complimentary rubber strap that can be swapped on using spring bar tools; there’s no quick-release strap option from Tudor just yet.
For the number of similarities there remain several key differences between the references that go well beyond case dimensions. Looking at its dial, you’ll note that the famed “Tudor Haiku” is gone from its dial. If there’s one thing that many people crack wise about, it’s the volume of text on the original Pelagos. From there, you’ll also note the removal of its date complication. Yet another touchy and very personal topic/preference in the watch world, most will agree that the no-date look suits the new reference just fine. This change also means a slightly different caliber — the MT5400 is otherwise the same as its counterparts, and the same chronometer-certified caliber found in all Black Bay 58 references.
Does Depth Rating Matter?
The last point worth putting to bed with this release is the dramatic change in depth rating. The new Pelagos 39 is rated at 200m of water resistance, versus the 500m rating of the original Pelagos reference. It also ditches the helium escape valve that the original had, and frankly you’re not going to miss it. Over the last couple of decades, brands loved having healthy competition over whose diver could go deeper, but that era is coming to a close.
No regular human needs a watch that’s rated for more than 200m, as recreational diving depth is limited to 40m. Yes, we all still want a screw-down crown for that added bit of safety, but in reality, anything over 100m is overkill. To get ISO certification as a dive watch, a watch has to be tested at overpressure by 25%, so a 100m watch is tested at 125m pressure equivalent, 200m is tested at 250m, and so on. So long story short, the Pelagos 39 has no less “diver cred” than its 500m rated sibling.
Can I Get One?
The short answer is yes — these are already landing at Tudor boutiques and retailers as we speak. That said, it’s not going to be quite that easy. Tudor has been rather hush-hush about what the inventory volume is going to be like, and looking at how scarce the last few releases have been, this may require a bit of a wait. Now, we’re not talking Rolex-level waiting by any stretch, but we’d strongly recommend a quick call to your nearest boutique or authorized dealer if the Pelagos 39 has your attention.