No frills but very good.
Leaked online ahead of launch – David Beckham inadvertently revealed the watch on his Instagram account – the Tudor Pelagos FXD “Marine Nationale” was widely anticipated, but surprisingly, at least in the metal .
Developed in collaboration with the combat divers of the Hubert Commando, an elite unit of the Marine Corps, part of the French Naval Special Forces or National Marine Corps. Divers travel secretly underwater in pairs, and the Pelagos FXD is one of their tools for navigation on the water. FXD restores the decades-long relationship between Tudor and the French Navy since the first supply of diving watches to the navy in the 1950s.
When I first saw the photos, I liked the idea of the FXD, and seeing it in the metal reinforced my point enough to make me buy one.
In my opinion, its greatest feature, aside from its tangible qualities, is its status as the only fashion watch developed as a military timepiece – currently in service with a unit – in the mid-to-high end of modern watchmaking .
This sets FXD apart from watches made by other brands that offer civilian watches with unit badges for military units, such as brands like IWC, Breitling, and Bell & Ross.
As a military watch, the FXD is simple, but it also boasts Tudor’s attention to detail, even in the finishing of the fixed stem. It is a simple and functional watch that combines the excellent price-performance ratio typical of Tudor watches with actual military provenance.
Granted, I did initially wish that Tudor would do more to differentiate the FXD, for example in terms of high-performance materials or even special movements. Then I realized that this is also a taxpayer-funded tool for military issues, so it really has to be an affordable, no-frills tool. The sheer concept itself is attractive.
On the topic of military provenance, it should be noted that the military version of the FXD is slightly different from the civilian version you see here, but the differences are so small that they don’t matter.
The watch itself wears well. While the FXD is 42mm like most Tudor dive watches, it is noticeably thinner, which gives it an attractively flat profile. That means it looks distinctly different from the Pelagos – blue is also a darker shade – and stands out among Tudor’s diver’s watch collection.
The only downside I can think of is availability – the “21” batch seems to sell out quickly – although it will be available next year with a “22” on the back, and on for subsequent years.
The civilian FXD (short for “fixed”) is basically the same as the actual mil-spec watch issued to MN divers, save for a few details.
One difference is the caseback, again simpler on the released example, only engraved with “MN” and the year of issue. Another is the text on the dial above six o’clock – the watch in question has no chronometer label.
In all other respects, the FXD is identical to a military watch, which is what makes it cool. The difference between the civilian and military versions is purely aesthetic and secondary.
FXD’s blue is understated and subtle, and is model-specific. It’s darker than the blue on the Pelagos and darker than the blue on the Black Bay 58.
The case is titanium and has a diameter of 42 mm, the same as most Tudor diving watches. But at 12.75mm tall, the FXD is much thinner than the Pelagos, which is 14.2mm tall. The reduction in altitude is due in part to the removal of the date, as well as the helium escape valve (which was unnecessary since combat divers in the Navy are not saturation divers).
The case is finished in the usual Tudor fashion, so it has crisp, crisp lines with strong definition and sharp edges. Each surface is brushed, while the bezel is matte blue ceramic. It is worth noting that the knurling of the bezel is larger than that of other TUDOR diving watches, which provides better grip.
While the case is well done, the fixed strap stem stands out in illustrating Tudor’s attention to detail.
This type of retaining bar is common in older military watches, which have individual steel tubes inserted into the lug holes. They are necessary because military watches require secure strap attachments that are not easily damaged.
On the FXD, the retaining rod is integral to the case – the case is stamped and milled to form the rod. To prevent the strips from fraying the fabric strap, the outer edges of both strips have a small chamfer – a tiny but impressive detail.
Another attractive element of the FXD is its strap, as it comes with a pair. Both are exclusive to the watch and were developed specifically for it. Each has its own buckle, something other Tudor models don’t have.
The fabric strap is probably the only element in the entire watch that could be improved. I prefer to have a small stopper at the end of the strap so that it takes some force to remove from the buckle, keeping the strap in a closed loop unless it needs to be removed from the wholesale watch.
The case back is sturdy and features the Marine Nationale logo and the year of production inspired by history. The same “MN” and year of issue are printed on the back of the vintage navy diver’s watch, explaining the engraving on the FXD. Tudor is now the official supplier of French Navy combat divers, hence the logo on the back.
What’s behind is more important. The MT5602 is one of Tudor’s in-house movements and is one of the highest-spec movements at the same price. It has a free sprung balance with a silicon hairspring, and a power reserve of 70 hours.
Although hidden, the movement is finished in a clean, industrial manner, slightly more sophisticated than the usual ETA or Sellita movements in this price segment.
Material: Titanium case with steel bottom cover
Water resistance: 200 meters
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
Chain: Automatic Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 70 hours
Strap: Fabric strap with Velcro closure and additional rubber strap