Approaching Watches and Wonders Geneva 2023, it’s fun to predict what major brands have in the pipeline. Rolex predictions are tough: the brand historically implements slow, steady, incremental changes to their watches. Conversely, Rolex’s sister brand Tudor has embraced experimentation in recent years: materials, proportions, movements, etc. The Tudor Pelagos 39, a product of this experimentation, has been a massive hit thus far. Enthusiasts have dreamt of a blue version since the watch’s release. Could we see a new Pelagos 39 just months into its existence? There’s no doubt people would buy it. Under one specific condition, a lot of people would buy it.
Pelagos 39 – Strengths and One Small Complaint
Image Source: wornandwound.com
The Tudor Pelagos 39 was one of the most popular watches of 2022. This downsized, no-date Pelagos trades extreme diving specifications for wearable dimensions: a compromise welcomed by most. The Pelagos 39 has 200 meters of water resistance (reduced from the Pelagos’ 500 meters) and no helium escape valve. These omissions allow for slimmer dimensions: 39mm diameter (reduced from 42mm), 47mm lug-to-lug (reduced from 50mm), and 11.8mm thickness (reduced from 14.3mm). Its reasonably-sized titanium case makes the Pelagos 39, as James Stacey puts it, a “really good – almost boringly good everyday watch”. Inside that case sits Tudor’s COSC-certified caliber MT5400: a rock solid movement that Tudor regulates in-house within -2/+4 seconds per day. The dial maintains the Pelagos’ hallmark blocky hour indices and snowflake handset. There aren’t many complaints with the Pelagos 39, but don’t worry, watch enthusiasts will always find something.
A defining characteristic of the Pelagos family has been matte finishing, specifically on the bezel and dial. The Pelagos 39 departs from this, featuring a ceramic bezel with a brushed sunray finish. It interacts with light quite a bit (see picture above), which seems to bother a lot of people. The dial also has a sunray finish, but it's far less noticeable than the bezel. This shouldn’t be a dealbreaker for most, but it’s a great example of why you should – whenever possible – handle a watch in person before you buy it.
The Blue Pelagos 39 – Back to Matte?
Render of Tudor Pelagos 39 in blue. Original Image Source: tudor.com
Now that we’ve covered the existing model, let’s talk predictions. It might seem too early for another Pelagos 39, but it would be a great move on Tudor’s part. Not only do people love this watch, a significant amount are waiting to buy one until the blue version comes out. Christian Zeron from Theo & Harris recently said “I have no interest in black – BUT – I would go with a blue [Pelagos 39] in 2 seconds. Literally no doubt”. Many people share this sentiment, crossing their fingers leading up to Watches and Wonders. Friend and fellow watch geek Ripley Sellers says that “a blue version of the Tudor Pelagos 39 seems inevitable”, but expects the blue model to have a sunray-finished bezel and dial, similar to the existing model. While this would make sense from a collection continuity standpoint, I personally hope it’s not true. A matte blue Pelagos 39 would simply be sensational. It would bring variety to a young collection, and welcome a new cohort of buyers: sunray bezel haters, blue watch lovers, and perhaps most importantly, Christian Zeron himself.
There’s no telling what Tudor (or any other brand) has up their sleeve for Watches and Wonders. A blue model seems like the perfect way to capitalize on the Pelagos 39’s success, but we’ll just have to wait and see. If you can’t make it to Watches and Wonders – don’t worry – I’ll be there covering the latest releases here on the Everest Journal.