Since its debut in 2012, the Tudor Pelagos has quickly become one of the most prized luxury dive watches on the market and reflects Tudor’s ongoing evolution into a brand that’s truly distinct from Rolex.
The Pelagos is unlike any watch in Rolex’s range. Firstly, it’s made from titanium – it remains the only watch from either Tudor or Rolex to utilize the metal. It’s also got a brushed case, something Rolex doesn’t dabble in. Aesthetically, it’s rather unique too – ultra-clean, with square indices and of course, Tudor’s signature ‘snowflake’ hands.
No wonder, then, that the Pelagos was an immediate fan favourite. It’s a credible tool watch, the likes of which few luxury watchmakers bother making anymore. Yet the Pelago’s utilitarian bent also makes it a relatively niche choice, and appropriately, fans have long been crying out for a smaller Pelagos that’s a little less intense.
Now, in 2022, Tudor has come up with a Pelagos that’s truly for everyone. Meet the new Pelagos 39: a smaller, thinner and simpler take on the Pelagos that’s perfectly poised to take advantage of the trend towards smaller watches after years of chunky cases being in vogue – and a watch that’s aimed at a broader audience than the more intense original Pelagos.
DMARGE had the chance to test-drive the new Pelagos 39 for a week – the first publication in Australia to do so – and we were mightily impressed by Tudor’s newest creation.
WATCH BELOW as we highlight some of its coolest new features and show you what it looks like on wrist.
Tudor Pelagos 39 quick facts
MATERIAL: Grade 2 Titanium
MOVEMENT: Manufacture Calibre MT5400 (COSC)
SIZE: 39mm diameter, 11.8mm thick, 47mm lug-to-lug distance
As the name implies, the Tudor Pelagos 39 has a 39mm case, which is a whole 3mm smaller than the original Pelagos. It’s also thinner (11.8mm versus 15mm) and has a shorter lug-to-lug distance (47mm versus 50mm).
Mechanically, it’s also rather different. The Pelagos 39 eschews the date window of the larger model, making it a time-only piece, and ‘only’ has 200m of water resistance compared to the larger model’s impressive 500m. Still, 200m is more than enough for the vast majority of wearers; you could definitely still dive with the Pelagos 39.
Other key differences: the crown is different (smaller and much more like a Rolex crown instead of the flat Tudor crown we’re used to on the larger Pelagos or on the Black Bay range) and the dial lacks the unique angled rehaut of the standard Pelagos.
On the dial: both the dial and bezel of the Pelagos 39 feature a sunray brushed texture as opposed to the previous Pelagos’ matte finishes.
The 39’s integrated bracelet doesn’t have the same trick expandable clasp that fans love about the larger Pelagos, but it does utilise Tudor’s T-Fit adjustment system, which lets you adjust the bracelet’s length between five various positions over 8mm without needing a tool. The T-Fit system is a total game-changer (way better than anything Rolex offers) and is one of the best micro-adjustment systems in the game, so not having the bigger Pelago’s clasp isn’t a huge loss.
We wore the Pelagos 39 on its rubber strap option instead of its integrated bracelet, which is a much simpler affair, featuring a standard tang-type buckle with the Tudor logo emblazoned on the bracket plus solid titanium end links. The underside of the strap features a texture that evokes the snowflake hands of the watch. It’s a perfectly serviceable option – nothing to write home about specifically – but is well-executed and suits the aquatic nature of the watch perfectly.
Under the hood beats the in-house calibre MT5400, which is chronometer-certified and features a 70-hour power reserve, which is totally ‘weekend proof’. It’s a buttery-smooth movement and crucially, a lot thinner than the MT5612 in the larger model.
What’s it like to wear?
In short, exceedingly pleasant. The smaller size is obviously the biggest draw of the Pelagos 39 and appropriately, it’s far lighter on the wrist than the larger model. Tudor is clearly gunning for a more gender-diverse audience with this watch, but also trying to create a watch that’s more versatile; more wearable. It’s still a tough tool watch but its slimmer size makes it a little more approachable as a daily wearer.
That said, I’ve got pretty large wrists and I thought the Pelagos 39 wasn’t too small, either… Being slimmer it also sits under a shirt cuff better for proper desk diver action. The sunray dial and bezel are also very eye-catching and do much to differentiate the Pelagos 39 from other Tudor dive watch models.
The lack of a date window is a sticking point for me. The Tudor Pelagos FXD which came out last year (which features a bidirectional bezel, fixed lugs and similarly no date window) was mooted as a purer, more functional Pelagos, in no small part thanks to the lack of date window. The Pelagos 39, however, is supposed to be a more casual Pelagos – yet the date window delete kind of goes against that?
That’s a real nitpick though and for most people, the lack of a date window won’t be a deal breaker. It also helps keep the watch thinner, which is the main point of the Pelagos 39.
All in all, the Pelagos 39 is magnificently executed and demonstrates that Tudor’s not only listening to their fans but is increasingly diverging from Rolex both in terms of style and substance. It’s an exciting piece and one that’s already led to insane demand from collectors – so if you want one, you better get in quick before the waiting lists start going crazy.
At just over AU$6,000 the Tudor Pelagos 39 isn’t what you’d necessarily call cheap, but it does represent pretty good value for money, especially considering the insane quality of Tudor’s finishing and movement construction. There aren’t that many 39mm luxury dive watches on the market so it’s hard to make a direct comparison – which is probably why Tudor went for such a diameter, to be fair.
The Oris Divers Sixty-Five Calibre 400 weighs in at 38mm, is a grand cheaper than the Tudor and features a truly impressive 5-day power reserve, but it has a more retro aesthetic (with a faux-riveted bracelet akin to a Tudor Black Bay, actually) and lacks both the refinement and brand cache that Tudor enjoys.
Indeed, the biggest competition to the Pelagos 39 might be from within Tudor’s own range, with the Black Bay Fifty-Eight also boasting a 39mm case diameter while also being cheaper. They’re very different watches though: the BB58 is steel, much thicker and again, retro-styled.
Discover the Tudor Pelagos 39 at Tudor’s online boutique here.