We were at the global launch event (Singapore edition) when at exactly 8pm local time, news of the new Tudor LHD Pelagos was released. We released some of the first live photographs on our instagram (@deployant) and our Facebook page. We also published a first reactions piece, based on the Press Release late in the evening. We now replace that article with our full hands-on analytical review. Presenting the Tudor LHD Pelagos. Available from today in limited quantities at your Tudor Authorized Dealer.
Tudor Pelagos LHD
Tudor supplied divers’ watches to French Marine Nationale (French Navy) in the 70s. These were the Tudor 9401, Snowflake Submariners (not to be confused with Rolex Submariners) as they were known then. When Tudor re-established itself and came out of the shadows of Rolex, they have carefully re-positioned the diving watches in the Pelagos and Black Bay lines to differentiate it from the sister Rolex Submariners. Now the Tudor diving watches do not look like their Rolex counterparts anymore. And we count that as a good thing!
The majority of the Tudor 9401 were for right handed divers, with the crown on the right of the dial. But Tudor also delivered a small batch of for left handed divers to the French navy. These had the crown on the left of the watch, so that when worn on the right wrist, the crown controls remain operable with the left hand.
The new Pelagos LHD (Left Hand Drive) is a homage to the destro 9401. The new Pelagos LHD will be in a “numbered” series. Perhaps this is Rolex/Tudor’s way of saying. “though we don’t do Limited Editions, we are going to produce very limited quantities of this watch.” This seems to be another nod as the destro watches supplied to the French Marine Nationale, which were also rarer than the regular right crowned versions.
The regular Pelagos is a beautiful watch. And we reviewed it very well. See our review of the blue dialed edition here. The Pelagos LHD is a special execution, with some very interesting features.
The case, dial and hands
The case measures some 42mm and packs quite a heft, giving the impression of being rock solid and very tough. The case made of titanium with a stainless steel case back. Satin finished, the titanium case and bracelet exudes a sense of purpose and beauty.
The depth rating for the Pelagos LHD is 500m, but we understand Tudor tests this to 625m, just to provide additional safety.
As is de rigeur in a diving watch, the case is fitted with a unidirectional bezel, and for the Pelagos, this is in titanium with a ceramic insert.
The standard Pelagos expanding buckle is also fitted on the bracelet. This patented system allows for the user to select up to three positions to adjust the fit of the buckle. And once fitted and worn over a neoprene suit for diving, the buckle is able to compensate for the changes in the thickness of the neoprene due to pressure as one dives automatically. It accomplishes this by a set of springs within the buckle, which can expand and contract with the thickness of the neoprene.
The dial of the Tudor Pelagos LHD is subject of quite a number of interesting details.
Another detail worth mentioning is that the dial carries quite a bit of text. A total of 7 lines (8 if we include “SWISS MADE”) of text and a logo adorns the dial. The nice detailing is that the “PELAGOS” is in red. Perhaps a reference to the famous Rolex Single Red Submariners which are rare, and often see very high secondary prices. If we use the description used for vintage Rolexes, the new Pelagos LHD dial might be described as Single Red, Meter First. Apologies for the diversion and geeky remarks.
The hands are the so called Snowflake hands: the hands are rectangular, with the minute hand with a pointed end, and the hour hand featuring an angled square within the arm. The hour markers are squares, except for 6 and 9 which are rectangles, and 12 which is a large inverted triangle. The marker for 3 is replaced by an aperture on the dial for the date. Another interesting detail is the date is written as black Arabic numerals for odd days, and red Arabic numerals for even days.
The dial is black and carries the markers in a beige hue, which looks remarkably like the patina of a beautifully aged tritium marked dial. This beige is also the colour of the hands. and while looking beige in light, in the dark it glows in a blueish/green lume, much like the Chromalight equipped Rolex Submariners.
The movement: Tudor MT 5612-LHD
The case back is closed with a stainless steel plate, so the movement is not visible without opening the watch.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the case back is the large engraved serial number. This is rather reminiscent to the naval watches, which are usually engraved with military markings. Interestingly, though Tudor does not state that this will be a limited edition, it seems to be a rather strong suggestion, as the numbers engraved on the case back are very large, taking up prime space. It won’t take a genius to figure out that very large numbers will not fit the space, so the speculation is that Tudor must be intending to keep the edition as a small series.
The movement is the MT 5612-LHD, an in-house designed and manufactured movement. The finishing is best described as competent, and to a very high engineering level. From our examination of one of the movements (non LHD version) available outside the case in the recent Baselworld 2016, there appears to be no decorative haute horlogerie finishes applied to the movement. But all the plates and bridges are robust and clean. The balance wheel in the MT 5612 is more rigidly held in place by a bridge instead of the traditional cock, similar to the Rolex C. 3135 used in the Submariner . The movement is certified by COSC and have a power reserve of 70 hours.
Tudor literature states that the MT 5612-LHD is a modified version of the standard MT 5612 fitted on the regular Pelagos. No details are given as to what the modifications are. Technically speaking, no modification is needed to use a movement in a left crown watch, especially one for a bidirectional winding system. The movement only needs to be rotated to fit the case. Even the date ring does not need modification. Only the case and the dial is different from the regular edition. Conceivably, when rotated, a small attention to detail might be the winding action on the crown might be inverted, and Tudor might have corrected that with a modification to the keyless works.
The only technical need to mofidy the movement might be the adjustment to positions. Tudor documentation does not state the adjustment to positions, but if Tudor adjusts the watch to 5 positions, the Pelagos LHD will need to be adjusted for crown right instead of the standard crown left. The other positions are dial up, dial down, crown up and crown down remain unchanged. Typically crown right is not adjusted for a watch which is adjusted to 5 positions (only when a watch is worn on the inside of a wrist is this position common occurrence). If Tudor adjusts the MT5612 to 6 positions, then crown right would have already be taken care of, and no modification is needed.
Note added on 20 November 2016: Tudor confirms that the movement does not invert the winding, and other than the adjustment for the crown right instead of crown left for COSC, the MT 5612-LHD is the same as teh MT 5612.
The competitive landscape
The Tudor Pelagos LHD retails for S$ 6.048 inclusive of GST, which is exactly the same price as for the regular Pelagos. Competitively, as a left hand dive watch, there are few others in the same space. Other than several quartz watches, we might be able to only suggest two.
The closest competitor to the Tudor Pelagos LHD is the Sinn EZM 3 (€ 1,710 in SS case and bracelet. Converts to approximately S$ 2,800 after GST). The EZM 3 is also designed for left crown, though this is not for wearing on the right hand, but on the left to prevent the crown from digging into the hand as one goes about one’s mission. EZM stands for Einsatzzeitmesser, meaning “mission timer” in German, and is designed as a diving tool watch for the German Police Special Forces (GSG-9). The EZM 3 also has a depth rating of 500m and is equipped with an ETA 2824-2 movement. Though robust, the MT 5612 in the Pelagos has better pedigree and more exclusive. However, the EZM 3 is protected by an antimagnetic soft iron sheath to provide protection against magnetic fields of up to 80,000 A/m. The MT 5612 carries a silicon hairspring, so might also have some antimagnetic capabilities, but Tudor does not specify if it does. The EZM 3 also comes with a self contained de-humidifying system using a copper sulphate capsule inserted into the case which is filled with Argon gas.
Another possible competitor might be the Panerai PAM00557 (about US$ 10,500 converting to about S$ 15,000 before GST). The Panerai PAM00557 is also a homage to left handed diving watches which Panerai supplied to the Italian Navy to be worn on the right hand so that the crown can be operated by the left hand. The PAM has a significantly larger case at 47mm. The depth rating is only 100m, and the PAM features an open case back to showcase the in-house P3000 hand winding movement.
If one ignores the left hand crown, then the competition field opens up to all diving watches, with the regular Pelagos being a consideration. But in all earnestness, we think the LHD version might be more collectible and perhaps also more interesting. Especially with the special features like the serial numbering, the patina-like beige markers and the red “PELAGOS” on the dial. Plus it is priced exactly the same as the regular Pelagos.
This is indeed a well thought out diving watch. All the tool requirements are met with with great aplomb. Additionally, the watch looks handsome, and fit for the task in use in a business environment.
We are particularly endeared to the Pelagos LHD’s special characteristics of the patina-like beige markers, red “PELAGOS” and the numbered edition. And the budget friendly price helps too.
One of the early Patek Philippe advertisements on the Nautilus says, “They work as well with a wet suit as they do with a dinner suit.” This might well be applicable to the Rolex Submariner (as ably demonstrated by several James Bonds before he started wearing Omega), but also perhaps to the Tudor Pelagos. Both the regular edition, and the LHD.
Tudor Pelagos LHD Technical Specifications
Case: 42 mm titanium and steel case with satin finish, Numbered steel case back
Bezel: Titanium unidirectional rotatable 60-minute graduated bezel with ceramic matt black disc and graduations with beige luminescent coating
Movement: MT5612-LHD, Manufacture TUDOR (COSC), Self-winding mechanical movement with bidirectional rotor system
Power Reserve: Power reserve of approximately 70 hours
Winding Crown: Titanium screw-down winding crown at 9 o’clock with the TUDOR logo in relief, Automatic helium escape valve at 3 o’clock
Dial: Black. Date at 3 o’clock with even numbered days displayed in red and odd numbered days in black
Crystal: Sapphire crystal
Waterproofness: Waterproof to 500 m (1,640 ft)
Bracelet: Titanium bracelet with folding clasp and safety catch in steel with bracelet extension system developed and patented by TUDOR. Additional rubber strap with buckle and extra extension piece included in the box
More info at Tudor Watches.