MN-Issued Tudor Pelagos FXD in Monaco Auction
For the first time an issued Tudor Pelagos FXD comes to auction at Monaco Legend Group
One of the coolest things about the Pelagos FXD is that it is not a watch that simply has a military unit’s insignia on the dial or is a brand marketing project, it’s a timepiece designed in collaboration with French combat divers that meets their very specific needs. At the watch’s launch, there were comments about the watch’s size, the countdown bezel, the fixed lugs and other comments. As I said on the Hodinkee radio podcast with James, whatever people think of the watch, it’s the watch that the MN divers wanted and, so to me, its pretty much spot on! Now for the first time, an issued example is coming up for auction at Monaco Legend Group and we are excited to share some exclusive images here and, for the first time, unedited pictures of an issued FXD case back!
A French Navy-issued Pelagos FXD
What is the FXD?
As a quick recap, let’s remind ourselves what the FXD actually is. Its part of the Pelagos family, Tudor’s professional dive watches in titanium with ceramic bezel inserts. The original Pelagos, Left-Hand-Drive ‘destro’ version and 2022’s Pelagos 39 all maintain the basic family attributes as mentioned, combined with snowflake hands and, importantly to a lot of collectors, square hour markers. Where the Black Bay chose a ‘hybrid’ model of snowflake hands with round hours, the Pelagos stays true to the original hand and hour marker combination. The FXD keeps the 42mm brushed titanium case of other watches in the line, but it has fixed strap bars cut from a solid block to ensure that there is little to no chance of the watch being lost whilst on a mission. The case is slimmer than the regular Pelagos too, partly because of the lack of gas escape valve, which means the watch is waterproof to 200m not 500m.
A civilian Pelagos FXD with 'four-line' dial
An MN-Issued FXD with 'two-line' dial
|Photo||Monaco Legend Group|
Whilst the FXD is very much a watch designed with the Marine Nationale, the actual watches delivered to the Commando Hubert divers is different to the watches that are sold by official Tudor retailers. The most obvious difference is the dial. Devoid of the mention of the fact that the movement inside is officially certified as a chronometer, the dial simply states “PELAGOS” and “200m”; not even the imperial 600ft mention! No non-sense MilSub aesthetics. The case back is also very different. One of the coolest elements of the FXD is that each year, the watches will feature an MN case back engraving. One of the hallmarks of Tudor MN-issued watches from the 70s and 80s was the case back engraving of the letters MN followed by a short form version of the year – 74 for 1974 and 76 for 1976 (geek fact – only in 1975 was the full year used ie MN 1975). So, watches produced in 2021 were engraved MN21 and MN22 in 2022. The issued watches have a much more stripped back engraving with just the year and a small issue number. For the first time today, I can share an unedited picture of an issued case back. All previous examples have been blacked out, but here you can see all the details.
The issued FXD's case back engraving.
Civilian FXD case back from an MN21
An issued FXD strap detail
There are two other key differences between a civilian and issued FXD; the strap and the reference number. The picture below shows the black strap with eyelet on the d-ring to which the ‘lifeline’ can be attached, which keeps two divers connected. The FXD was devised to be used by Commando Hubert divers for underwater navigation, hence the bezel has a retrograde reading on it for countdowns. The underwater navigation system requires divers to work in pairs, connected by a ‘lifeline’. One diver sets the course on a compass and the other diver times the swim exactly using his watch. The course is predetermined before the mission with a set number of swims in precise directions. The important part is timing each leg of journey, which is why the bi-directional countdown is key to the watch’s function for this application. Finally, the reference number of the issued watches is ‘25797’ where the civilian reference is ‘25707’. Again, collectors love these details and it has seen before with Rolex and the military Submariner 5517 and Comex 5514, both of which were based on the legendary reference 5513.
All the MN-issued equipment including the extra strap and lifeline connector
A classic vintage Military Tudor Submariner from the 1970s
This Pelagos FXD will be coming up for auction at Monaco Legend Group’s Exclusive Timepieces auction on April 22nd and 23rd 2023. The full catalogue can be seen here.