What do you do when Tudor updates their most hardcore dive replica watch? You go diving. Following the Baselworld 2015 announcement of the refreshed Tudor Pelagos 25600, the only way I could expand upon Ariel’s review of the original Pelagos was to try the new model in its element. With a brilliant blue Pelagos 25600 TB on wrist, I escaped Vancouver’s tiresome mix of cold and rainy for the warm embrace of Pacific Mexico’s Bahía de Banderas.
Bobbing up and down in the warm pacific surf, our tiny dive boat looked even smaller as it maneuvered towards our ragtag band of vacationing divers. Due to the lack of a functioning dock, we had been ferried to the rental skiff via jet ski, meaning we were limited to essential gear only for two leisurely dives at Malinal, a large rock passage in a wide bay near Punta Mita, Mexico.
While tropical diving doesn’t require a vast amount of gear, the necessary fittings are designed exclusively for use underwater. Wearing dive gear on the surface is cumbersome, heavy and far from sartorial. The one exception, as you might have predicted, is the dive replica watch. Designed to seamlessly transition from the office to the pool to the sunken hull of a long forgotten ship, a good dive watch is a cut above standard dive gear.
As I hung on the surface, held aloft by my BCD, my hands preoccupied fiddling with my camera, the bright sunlight reflected off the calm surf, casting wild crystalline rays of light across the rich blue dial of the Tudor Pelagos on my wrist. While it would be easy to say that few swiss replica watches looked more at home half submerged in the Pacific, that doesn’t capture the true nature of the Tudor Pelagos. This watch always feels at home; its capable and focused design lends an air of unflappability; the Tudor Pelagos never seems out of its depth.
Tudor originally launched the Tudor Pelagos in 2012 with a black dial and an ETA 2824. At Baselworld 2015, they announced the updated Tudor Pelagos, available in black (25600TN) and blue (25600TB). Along with the new color option, Tudor also fitted their popular tool replica watches with a new manufacture movement – the MT5612. We covered all of the details at launch, but in brief, the MT5612 is an in-house automatic movement providing time and date at 4Hz, with 26 jewels, and a 70 hour power reserve. Differentiating a 2012 black Tudor Pelagos vs the 2015 is easy: the 2012 has two lines of text above six o’clock, while the 2015 has a a much more noticeable five lines. While it’s definitely a lot of text, and I prefer the look of the “two liners,” I quickly got used to the additional prose, and after a short time, I barely noticed it.
Apart from the blue option and the MT5612, the Tudor Pelagos sticks with the winning design of the original, using a 42mm titanium case that is 14.3mm thick and 50mm lug to lug. The Tudor Pelagos includes two mounting options, an excellent titanium bracelet, and a supremely easy-wearing rubber strap. I wore both extensively, and I’m sure that if I had a Tudor Pelagos to call my own, I’d alternate between the two with frequency: both are great.
The bracelet looks perfect and is nicely integrated with the case via solid end links that are also used to mount the rubber strap. Thankfully, the bracelet uses single-sided, screwed end links, so removing links requires just a single fine screw driver. Once you have the bracelet close to size, the Tudor Pelagos’ remarkable clasp comes into play.
The Tudor Pelagos (both 2012 and 2015) features a trick clasp that allows you to select one of three micro positions without the use of a tool. There is also a spring-loaded setting that allows for automatic adjustment while wearing the Tudor Pelagos on a wetsuit sleeve which will compress at depth. Finally, there is a discreet folding dive extension that will allow use with thicker wetsuits. If you want to see the a more visual explanation, check out the included video.
For traveling to Mexico, I opted to mount the included blue rubber strap. After removing the bracelet, you simply mount the strap into the bracelet’s end links for a simple and very comfortable connection with the Tudor Pelagos’ case. The water was warm enough that I didn’t require a wetsuit with sleeves, so the Tudor Pelagos required no adjustment for diving. Were I diving back home in the colder waters around Vancouver, I would use the included extension strap, which would allow me to wear the Tudor Pelagos over my bulky drysuit.
The two mounting options may provide a different look and feel, but both offer a comfortable and effective way of wearing the Tudor Pelagos, even when diving. One word of caution: if you plan to get a Tudor Pelagos, I’d recommend buying spring bar pliers rather than relying on the normal one-sided spring bar tool or screwdriver to remove/mount straps. The tolerances and tool accesses are quite tight, and a proper tool will prevent scratches and difficulty when changing straps.
A true dive watch, especially those that have toolish aspirations, require a capable bezel design and ample luminous treatment for low-light conditions. Far from disappointing on either front, the Tudor Pelagos’ bezel is as good as any I’ve ever dove with, the edge is slightly wider than the case and features a grippy coin edge for a positive grip in any condition. The action is light, clicky, exact, and without any wiggle, allowing you to hit your mark with ease. Finished with a luminous ceramic insert, the Tudor Pelagos’ bezel is simply outstanding.
Thanks to a high contrast design, a flat anti-reflective sapphire crystal, and plenty of lume, the Pelagos offers excellent legibility in any condition. The luminous treatment is surprisingly even across the hands, markers, and bezel, and it charges quickly and returns a bright strong blue with remarkable longevity. If you’re used to divers from Seiko or current-gen Rolex, you won’t be let down.
Aside from maybe a suit-and-tie environment, I can’t imagine any place where the Tudor Pelagos won’t fit in. Despite its tool-derived look, the Tudor Pelagos’ extensive use of titanium makes it quite light on wrist, at just 106g on the rubber strap and 142g with the titanium bracelet sized to my 6.5-7-inch wrist.
As is common to modern Tudor replica watches, the Tudor Pelagos does not forget its lineage. While the aesthetic may by less romantic and less referential than that of the Black Bay, we still see Tudor’s distinctive snowflake hour hand.
The Tudor Pelagos, as has become requisite for almost all serious dive watches since the Rolex Sea-Dweller, features an automatic helium escape valve (HEV) on the nine o’clock case side. This is perhaps the only aspect of the Tudor Pelagos I would change, as I think the fascination with HEVs on “professional” dive replica watches is entirely inflated and often rooted in a misunderstanding of the valves base function. In short, an HEV makes a watch better suited to the incredibly niche needs of a saturation diver. It does not improve water resistance or make it a better watch for the act of diving. If you don’t live in a helium saturated environment for days on end, you don’t need an HEV.
The Tudor Pelagos’ titanium case and bracelet are treated to a lovely satin finish and the warm tone of the metal works really well with the rich blues of the dial and bezel. Furthermore, the case and bracelet are beautifully finished for a sport replica watch at this price point, with crisp undersides, beveled lugs, and a focus on fine details like the grip on the bezel. Being a titanium sport watch, you have to be okay with scratches, as titanium is softer than steel. In the few weeks I wore the Tudor Pelagos, I found it to be a magnet for small scratches, especially on the bracelet. I like a watch with some wear, and I think scratches are all part of the experience when you buy a tool watch. If you like your replica watches to remain pristine, titanium may not be the best choice.
On wrist, the Tudor is comfortable both in terms of ergonomics and capability. The Tudor Pelagos exudes the sort of confidence I would normally attribute to a product of singular use that just happens to be experienced in its element. So while my regulator is great when I need to breathe underwater, the Tudor Pelagos is basically great all the time. It has all the hallmarks of a tool diver, but it has been designed to be as wearable, casual, and approachable as possible. With such a potent mix of legibility, performance, and comfort, the Pelagos is one of the best true sport replica watches on the market today.
Competition is a crucial factor at any price, but when you’re spending luxury dollars, it’s even more important to know how everything stacks up. For the current version of the Tudor Pelagos, competition is fairly slim because Tudor’s inclusion of an in-house movement is a considerable upgrade in cache over the ETA-powered version from 2012. Furthermore, when the Tudor Pelagos was upgraded, its list price jumped a mere $75, which is unheard of in this space. Don’t forget that the asking price includes both the titanium bracelet and the rubber strap where some more costly competition would cost extra to add rubber (if an OEM option even exists, Rolex), or even more if the bracelet isn’t included in the base spec.
Even if you pick a solid peer from a strong competitor like Sinn, such as the T2 on the titanium bracelet, you’re looking at $306 USD. For about $130 less than the Tudor Pelagos, you get a comparable package but the movement is not in-house (the Sinn uses the well-regarded Soprod A10-2, a competitor for ETA’s 289X movements). Add in the T2’s rubber strap, and you’re looking at $150+. For the extra cash, the Pelagos offers an in-house movement and exceedingly impressive auto adjusting clasp for the bracelet. Is the Sinn a bad deal? Not a chance, but Tudor has been aggressive in their pricing of the Pelagos, despite a rather limited field of direct competition.
I wore the Pelagos while traveling, diving, sitting by the pool, and running everyday errands. Regardless of what you throw at it, the adaptable and confident Tudor Pelagos begs to be worn, offers a seriously compelling argument for your hard-earned cash, and is easily one of the best dive replica watches I’ve ever reviewed. At a price of $140, I think Tudor has hit the mark.