The Tudor Pelagos 39: Is It The Best Dive Watch?
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The Tudor Pelagos 39: Is It The Best Dive Watch?

The Tudor Pelagos 39: Is It The Best Dive Watch?


Everyone loves a comeback story from David’s triumph over Goliath to Manchester United’s epic comeback against Bayern Munich in the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final.

Tudor have had a revival of their own, after playing a minor role in the watch market after their successive releases, featuring The Tudor Oyster Prince Submariner 7922 in 1954 to the “Montecarlo” 7169/0 in 1971. From the 1970s, they would become silent as the El Primero movement, stopping releases in the US and the UK. 

They would eventually come back in a blaze of glory in 2009, as they released new product lines such as the Tudor Grantour Chronograph and Tudor Glamour collection followed by the Heritage Chrono in 2010. After releasing the phenomenal Tudor Heritage Black Bay in 2012 and Tudor Heritage Chrono Blue in 2013, Hans Wilsdorf’s little sibling is now renowned for its original purpose. A watch carrying the luxury refinery of a Rolex with a more affordable price. 

Oh and then there’s Tudor’s first watch ambassador, none other than David Beckham. Under the “Born To Dare" slogan, this pushed boundaries and reinvented the horological wheel yada, yada yada. There’s much more though as Becks loves to wear his Pelagos on date nights with Victoria and various outings. 

“Pelagos is my favourite watch whether I am going to the gym, doing the school run or a date night…I am a big watch lover and my Pelagos works with everything,” he revealed at the launch of the Tudor Ranger in London last year. 

With the release of the Tudor Pelagos 39 in 2022, marking its 10th anniversary, Chrono Hunter plunges into new depths to find out if Tudor can take home the horological crown of the best dive watch.


Background of the Tudor Pelagos 39


The titanium case has become the legendary symbol of the Pelagos collection. 

As per its launch in 2012, The Pelagos was revealed to the world alongside the Black Bay in a 42mm titanium case, providing an impressive 500m of water resistance, helium valve and black dial. 


Tudor Pelagos 39 - Source - Tudor

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But it’s that cosiness and familiarity of the titanium case that has proved a hit. It was the ultimate tool watch, with every element of it having a purpose. Super sturdy and light, the bezel and the majority of the dial are dosed in Super-LumiNova for enhanced legibility. 

Its design then shifted to a blue dial with a new in-house movement in 2015. This was followed by a left handed, cream indices model named the Pelagos LHD in 2016 and a militarised edition for the French Navy named the FXD. 

The FXD was highly successful, being acclaimed as the ‘Best Divers Watch’ at GPHG, taking the helm as the best diving model in terms of functions, materials and design. 

Now, the time of the Pelagos 39 has finally arrived and with it a smaller, more urban option to the collection. If you have a penchant for modest dive watches with a touch of class, elegance and discreteness, then you should look to buy a Tudor Pelagos 39. 


Technical Facts of The Tudor Pelagos 39


Now, it’s important to know what really makes this watch tick.


Pelagos 39 - Source - Tudor

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Aimed at the young and hip, The Tudor Pelagos 39 is a hot contender for an everyday casual sports watch. Sure, it’s been slimmed down from 42mm to 39mm, but it still maintains its classic brushed looks and is as polished as that Sports Day school trophy. 

But it’s time to listen up watch enthusiasts as the Pelagos 39 has been making waves in the watch community. Home to the MT5400 movement, it has a no date automatic COSC-certified chronometer, ideal for those wanting to buy a Tudor without the excess functions. 

It operates within the realms of -2 and +4 second variation per day, which is actually above the -4 and +6 second variation which COSC goes for. Beating at 4Hz, The Tudor Pelagos 39 has a strong power reserve of 70 hours, 11.8mm high (similar to the Black Bay 58), steel caseback, a unidirectional bezel and a 60-minute scale that’s slightly graduated. 

If you buy a Tudor Pelagos 39, you are looking at a watch offering a different feel from the majority of dive watches out there. This is due to the watch being catered to the modern user while still keeping its refined looks. 

Its predecessor was 41mm and definitely a tool watch which was perfect for its purpose of being a robust and highly waterproof piece. However, The Tudor Pelagos 39 loses its size but is still robust enough to be bashed around. Our view is it looks sleeker meaning it could easily pass for a dress watch. 

To keep the movement secure, it’s supported by a variable inertia balance, anti-magnetic silicon hairspring and transversal bridge to help keep it stable, reducing shock and magnetism. The movement was created from both Tudor and Kenissi and can be seen in a few Tudor models such as the Black Bay 925. It's very clear to see the movement has been designed for robustness and longevity due to its protective aspects. 

Though, we can clearly see that Tudor are trying to deliver their own solution to the legendary Rolex Sea Dweller, which they have done to reasonably good effect. As a titanium dive watch, it ticks most of the boxes. It's certainly one of the stronger luxury dive watches out there which suits those looking to buy a Tudor for beauty and speed.  


Does The Tudor Pelagos 39 Look Good While Riding The Waves?


The Tudor Pelagos 39 slips off its predecessor's toolkit and dons a far more contemporary aesthetic.


Pelagos 39 - Source - Tudor

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The sapphire crystal is circled by a unidirectional bezel made of grade 2 titanium with a black ceramic insert. If you look closely when you buy a Tudor Pelagos 39, you’ll see that the bezel also has a sunray effect, giving off a nice finish when caught by the sun.

Furthermore, the bezel is coated with Super-LumiNova and has a 60-minute scale wherein only 1 to 15 is fully expanded by lines. So, what else can we give props to? While many will like the classic black dial with white markers, the only pop of colour comes in the form of the cerise like Pelagos, located above 6 o’clock.

However, the dial experiences a few changes from the past Pelagos models. The date has been removed, allowing the new sunray brushed finish. In addition, the flange is sandblasted to make the dials face more refined, increasing its legibility. This is particularly useful if you want to buy a Tudor to reach murkier depths or just a little scuba-diving. 

In terms of legibility, the indices are built in the classic ‘Snowflake’ style and coated with X1 Swiss Super-LumiNova. The squared hour markers are made of monobloc ceramic which are luminescent, allowing direct readability in all conditions.


Tudor Pelagos 39 - Source - Tudor

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At 39mm, it looks and feels great on the wrist. For sports watch fans, this is pretty much bang on the money in terms of size. Versatile and textured, this streamlined titanium dive watch isn’t going to win any beauty awards. But if you want to buy a watch with simple looks sans hysteria and is well produced then you quite might like this version. 

Made out of grade 2 titanium, the Pelagos 39 has a satin-brushed case while the bracelet features a T-fit system. This allows the wearer to perform quick micro-adjustments seamlessly. If you do choose to go diving, utilise the clasps 25mm diving extension to fit over the suit. Sorry to disappoint watch fans but sadly there's no quick change strap system which is a bit of a minus.

If a titanium bracelet just isn't doing it, change to the black rubber strap which has a titanium pin buckle, end links and 110mm rubber extension for diving which is a nice feature for those looking to buy a Tudor to dive with. 


Does The Tudor Pelagos 39 Retain The Notorious Pelagos Strength


The Tudor Pelagos 39 drops what it needs to in order to make a sizable difference that doesn’t reinvent the horological wheel.

As the name suggests, it still keeps the Tudor vibe of durability, with bulky shoulders enhanced by chamfered bevels sloping the edges of the watch. 

The crown remains screwed down and still has its protection in the form of crown guards which are edged, harking back to the original Tudor Pelagos. The bezel is unidirectional meaning the watch still retains its diving edge as the bezel allows the diver to track time. 

The titanium is also satin-brushed, which gives it a mirror-like aesthetic pushing the notion that if you buy a Tudor Pelagos 39, you aren't just buying a dive watch. A Patek Phillipe Nautilus 5711 this ain't…but small tweaks to the original Pelagos 42 means it will be around for some time yet.


Pelagos 39 - Source - Tudor 

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It no longer has a helium valve and drops 300m of water resistance from the original, giving it 200m instead. While it's nice to have 500m of water resistance, the deepest dive ever recorded was 332.35 metres and for most scuba divers, the recommended depth is a maximum of 40m. 

It goes to show the Tudor Pelagos 39 more than capable of fulfilling the duties of the average diver while slimming it down for the millennials to drool over. Suitable for after work drinks, striding down the beach or pairing with jeans and a t-shirt, it gives the everyday man the right to buy a Tudor Pelagos without feeling any shame about not using its diving features.   


Comparison - Tudor Pelagos 39 v Rolex Submariner/Sea Dweller Deepsea


Like a scene from Star Wars - Episode V, the comparison rests between father and son. Tudor, I am your father…


Rolex Sea Dweller/Deepsea


In comparison to the Rolex Sea Dweller Deepsea, the Pelagos is a much better option. 


Rolex Sea Dweller Deep Sea

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The depths which mankind have gone to are nowhere near the figures provided by models such as the Deepsea. With a water resistance of up to 3,900m, it verges on overkill and poses the question, why would any human need to buy a watch like this?

The Rolex Sea Dweller has a lower water resistance of 1,220m but even then, that statistic is drastically higher than is necessary. But if you want to own a piece of horological history, especially one that has a highly resistant and anti corrosive Cerachrom bezel, The Sea Dweller certainly shouldn't be neglected. 

The Rolex Sea Dweller Deep Sea could be argued that this incredible depth is the point of the watch. It shows the lengths that Rolex go to regarding their skill and innovation. It's the same argument as to why a Bugatti Veyron needs to reach 300 mph when the national speed limit in the UK is 70 mph…touché

While it does have some interesting aesthetics such as the dial fading from blue to black in commemoration of James Cameron's solo dive to the Mariana Trench, its 44 hour power reserve is much lower than the Tudor Pelagos. In our view, it is overall too bulky at 44mm. 

This is the same with the standard Rolex Sea Dweller, which has a few references like the 126600 with a two toned dial but for some may still be too chunky at 43mm. 

You can buy a watch like the Sea Dweller Deepsea which retails at £12,210 or you can buy a Tudor Pelagos for more than 60% less than the retail price of £3,850 - at the time of writing.


Rolex Submariner


The Rolex Submariner could easily be argued as the most influential watch of all time, laying the foundations for luxury sports watches ever since its release in 1953. 

Measuring 41mm, it is 2mm bigger than the Pelagos 39 with 300m of water resistance. Both do not have helium escape valves but are not any less water-resistant because of it. 


Rolex Submariner - Source - Rolex

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Furthermore, The Rolex Submariner bezel is made out of Cerachrom with its engravings in either PVD gold or platinum. Popularised by the Rolex Daytona, Cerachrom is highly durable and gives a phenomenal aesthetic, especially with the Rolex Submariners black bezel which makes the markings stand out. 

The Rolex Submariner has a strong heritage as the first watch water resistant up to 100m meaning it’s certainly a veteran of the dive watch world. Unfortunately for the original Tudor Pelagos, it was released next to the highly successful Tudor Black Bay which stole the Tudor Pelagos’ thunder. 

The Tudor Pelagos 39 is inventive and represents a new breed of the diving watch due to its smaller size and focus on the casual wearer. On the other hand, The Rolex Submariner movement houses the automatic calibre 3235. With an identical 70 hour power reserve as the Pelagos 39, The Rolex Submariner features a Chronergy escapement improving its performance and efficiency. 

In terms of aesthetics, the Tudor Pelagos 39 and the Rolex Submariner look identical with the black bezels and black dial. Yet, The Pelagos pays more attention to the intricacies with the sun ray finishes and the option to change the bracelet to a rubber strap. Buy a Tudor Pelagos at retail for £3,850 while you can buy a Rolex Submariner at retail for £7,700, double the value of the Pelagos 39.

It appears the main competition for the Pelagos is the Rolex Submariner. Both reach acceptable levels of water resistance and both are as tough as a holiday with Bear Grylls. We can clearly see that The Pelagos could be for some the ideal alternative to the Submariner. 

But it really is neck and neck…or lug for lug!




Well, timelords, we’ve hit the bottom and we’re coming straight back to give you the heads up. Diving watches appear to be coming into their own as more rounded, fashionable pieces rather than mere tool watches. 

It seems smaller watches are in demand due to a greater interest towards vintage watches and connection with the sea. Sure, we could have harped on about the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra as an iconic dive watch for your collection. Nevertheless, vintage dive watches are still all the rage like the recent Blancpain 50 Fathoms which celebrates its 70th anniversary in 2023. 

And in the diving world, Tudor is currently one of the leaders in titanium dive watches. Precise with excellent performance, The Tudor Pelagos 39 blends the diving aspects of the watch world without the need for tools and excessive depth. It suits the modern user who can use it for a spot of recreational diving but can also wear it as a sporty casual number, suited to the fast paced office exec or man about town. 

As the definition of diving watches change, it's nice to see that Tudor are willingly following suit and creating beautiful pieces that connect with today’s modern gent. Affordable with timeless longevity, The Tudor Pelagos 39 may just be the diving watch to knock the Submariner’s crown off as the best dive watch. 

The Times They Are A-Changin, Timelords!

Can't wait to buy a Tudor Pelagos? Don't want to miss out on the movement? Or perhaps you want to sell a Tudor and upgrade to the new Pelagos 39? Why not discuss your specific requirements with Chrono Hunter here. Check out our phenomenal reviews on Trustpilot to find out why we really are your essential source to buy a watch or sell a watch.


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Further Reading: 

What Are The Best Watch Brands In The World

Tudor - Brand History 


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