Since the 1950s and TUDOR’s creation of one of the first modern professional divers’ watches to the 1980s, the brand has been a regular supplier to the French Navy. With the Pelagos FXD model, where FXD refers to the extra robust fixed strap bars of the case, TUDOR is reviving this historic collaboration. The brand presents a technical watch that meets a unique set of specifications that was developed in conjunction with the French Navy’s combat swimmers, the prestigious Commando Hubert.
TUDOR AND THE FRENCH NAVY TUDOR
chose to join forces with the Marine nationale (French Navy) brand in 2021, continuing a relationship that dates back to 1956. Back then, the Groupe d’Étude et de Recherches Sous-Marines (G.E.R.S.), a scientific body attached to the French Navy and based in Toulon, took delivery of some Oyster Prince Submariner watches in order to assess them in real-life situations. They were references 7922 and 7923, both waterproof to 100 metres (330 ft) and fitted with self-winding and manual movements, respectively. The waterproofness of these watches was judged to be “perfect” and their performance “entirely correct” by the G.E.R.S. commanding officer at the time. Persuaded by the potential of the instruments offered by the Genevan brand, he quickly placed more orders, enabling TUDOR to attain the status of “official supplier to the French Navy” in 1961.
TUDOR divers’ watches continued to be developed and the French Navy would use many of the brand’s timepieces over the following decades. Today, the most famous TUDOR divers’ watch used by the French Navy is the reference 9401, with its iconic blue dial and bezel. Engraved on the case back with the initials “M.N.” followed by the year of issue, the watches were delivered in two configurations, “Snowflake” hands and hour markers and later, with triangular hour markers. This model was launched in the mid-’70s and was supplied to the French Navy until the 1980s. It continued to be used into the 21st century, particularly at the French Navy’s diving school, as well as by combat swimmers. Although officially removed from the French Navy’s supply stocks some twenty years ago, it can still be seen sometimes today on the wrists of reserve and retired sailors alike. The Pelagos FXD model is inspired by this emblematic reference.
A UNIQUE SET OF SPECIFICATIONS
Developed in conjunction with the French Navy’s combat swimmers, the Pelagos FXD model is based on a set of specifications that are as precise as they are demanding. For this reason, it includes many functional features that are new to TUDOR, such as its fixed strap bars that are machined into the main body of the 42 mm titanium case for increased robustness and reliability. Shaped as an extension of the lugs, they are key to the model’s characteristic silhouette. Another feature specific to this model is the 120-notch rotating bezel. Bidirectional with retrograde graduation from 60 to 0, it does not correspond to the ISO 6425:2018 standard of divers’ watches, but instead meets the specific needs of the method known as “underwater navigation”, one of the specialities of combat swimmers.