Tudor Pelagos Review
Although Tudor is a sister company of Rolex, it has managed to become one of the most sought-after brands in recent years. Where Tudor used to be in the shadow of Rolex for decades, it has matured and became ready for the watch loving crowd. More important, the watch loving crowd showed that it is ready for Tudor as well. The on-going succesful launches during the past few Baselworld exhibitions put Tudor in the spot lights.
Just a few years ago, a number of collectors of vintage Rolex started to get annoyed by the crazy prices on these pieces, they also started to focus on vintage Tudor. The vintage Tudor Submariners are very close to the vintage Rolex Submariners, except for the use of a different movement. And the prices were a bit more attractive as well. The Tudor ‘Daytona’ or ‘Big Block’ chronograph ref. 79170 became quite popular as well. Of course, as with all hypes, the prices of these vintage Tudors were skyrocketing. A decade ago nobody cared, and all of a sudden you had to have one. Although the prices did not top these of vintage Rolex watches, you have to go deep into your wallet if you want a nice vintage Tudor Submariner of Big Block with box and papers.
All of a sudden, Tudor started to introduce new models that were clearly inspired by vintage heritage from Tudor. The Tudor Heritage Chrono actually had waiting lists here in The Netherlands. The Black Bay and the one I am about to review here, the Pelagos, are clearly inspired by the brand’s historic timepieces.
Not only collectors of vintage Rolex are enthusiastic about the new Tudor watches, also people who love vintage Rolex but are not willing to take the risk of buying a ‘frankenwatch’ or ‘fugazzi’ for thousands of euros (or dollars) seem to rather enjoy a new Tudor instead.
The interesting aspect is, that Rolex never looks back at their vintage watches and only cares about producing new watches that are better than their predecessors. They are one of the few brands out there that do not have some sort of museum of their own, or are buying back their own historic pieces at auctions. Tudor seems to be the new playground for that. And what a successful playground!
The people at Watchonista gave the Tudor Pelagos ref 25500TN to me for a test drive and to shape an opinion about this watch. The Pelagos came on a rubber strap, with titanium end-pieces that have a perfect fit to the titanium case.
Where the Black Bay seems to have a bit more vintage influences, the Pelagos is a modern diving watch that has Helium Valve on the left side of the case and a very readible and clear dial.
Tudor is probably glad they are able to use the same macherinery as Rolex, because the finish of the case is impeccable. The satin finish on the titanium case looks wonderful and feels wonderful as well. The beveled edges are just perfect.
The black dial and big white luminous markers and so-called ‘Snowflake’ hands (another historical Tudor influence) look great and are very easy to read. Truth needs to be told here, I am not a diver and not much of a swimmer as well, so I am unsure how its readability will be below the surface of the water. I can only assume that – compared to some other diving watches with smaller hour markers and hands – it will be sufficient.
Although I prefer sports watches on metal bracelets, the rubber strap was quite comfortable. The tang buckle – which I prefer over folding clasps – was easy to use as well. This rubber strap was quite soft and easy to adjust with the tang buckle. Sometimes, straps are so stiff you can barely get them out of the buckle to adjust them without having to take the entire watch off or fiddling around with it for minutes. Well done.
Inside, Tudor uses an ETA based movement. Probably, ETA has one of the most trustworthy and proven movements out there. The caliber 2824 that Tudor used for their Pelagos, has been used by many other brands as well over the last decades. A movement with a track record, so to speak. These customized ETA movements ar solid workhorses and will get the job done.
One of the things that did bother me a bit when wearing the watch was the wording on the dial. I understand that it grabs back to former Tudor models and perhaps has this ‘historical meaning’, but the ‘Rotor Self-Winding’ text on the dial has little meaning to me. Even on the vintage models it sounded a bit strange to me, but I understand that – in those times – you had to be kind of original on how you promoted the fact that your watch had an automatic movement. Just ‘automatic’ would be adequate enough in my personal opinion.
However, all-in-all Tudor did a wonderful job with this Pelagos watch. The price of 3300 Euro seems to make sense for a tool watch like the Pelagos. It is about half the price of a Rolex Submariner and also less than what Rolex charged for a Submariner 10 years ago. However, it is not a Submariner so it should actually be compared to watches in the same price league, like TAG Heuer’s diving watches. A mistake that is easily being made by a lot of people who are looking at Tudor watches.
Last but not least, when looking at the most sought-after watch brands over 2012 in Europe (based on Chronolytics.ch data), Tudor ranks at no.14 in the Top 50 list. A rank that is quite an impressive achievement for a brand that just recently got into the spotlight by the big crowd. Also, it is a well-deserved ranking, with all these great new models coming out that are the buzz of the last few BaselWorld exhibitions.