Recently, Tudor released a model that is not only aimed at left-handed collectors, but also has a variety of subtle vintage touches as well.
Tudor’s been busy blurring the lines lately. A year ago when the difference between the Pelagos and the Black Bay was simple: the Black Bay was the vintage-styled watch with a modified ETA movement while the Pelagos had modern materials, styling and a new in-house movement. But in 2016, while the Black Bay line remains focused on vintage design, they’ve since added the more contemporary Dark as well as in-house movements, and today, the Pelagos adds a vintage inspired version.
Actually, it’s unlikely that this vintage-styled Pelagos, the LHD, is unlikely to be cross shopped with the Black Bay due to one important difference: it’s aimed at left-handed collectors, and at least currently, there is no Black Bay option to match it.
While the focus will naturally be on its unusual crown-left position, I think there are actually a lot of reasons for anyone to like the new Pelagos LHD. Take, for instance, the red Pelagos writing, likely derived from the Red Sub. I think the red writing looks terrific, although, as with other new Pelagos models, I could do with less writing underneath.
The date too receives red accents, but it’s more interesting than it at first sounds. Even numbers are red while odd numbers are black, a color scheme fittingly known as the roulette wheel.
The lume also has something of an aged, off-white look to it, which Tudor has given the unfortunate title of “beige”. This is a lot more subtle than many other vintage-themed watches with their orangeish coloration and I think it’s better for it. It all comes together to create the first vintage-inspired Pelagos, intruding, ever so slightly, into Black Bay territory.
In every other way though, the Pelagos retains its distinctive character. The bezel insert is still ceramic, while the bezel itself and the case are remain in titanium, materials you won’t find in any Black Bay, at least not yet.
The Pelagos is certainly still the most hardcore of the two. It’s rated for 500 meters instead of 200 in the Black Bay, for instance. It’s also slightly larger than most Black Bays, although the new Black Bay Bronze is even bigger than it (43mm versus 42mm).
The helium escape valve lives on in the Pelagos LHD, although now it adorns the area the crown used to. Touches like this help keep it a truly separate model from the Black Bay.
The back is actually very interesting on the PLHD. For one thing, this is an area where it’s surprisingly quite similar to the Black Bay, both having steel backs, but for another, its special numbering sets it apart from both Black Bays and other Pelagoses. The Pelagos LHDs are all individually numbered, meaning every case back is appreciably unique since the numbering is so large. As far as I know, there is no set limit for the PLHD, but one must imagine that they wouldn’t bother individually numbering pieces that they intended to sell hundreds of thousands of over the course of years. It’s an unusual touch, to be sure, especially given that it’s so prominent.
Unfortunately, due to that nice case back, we can’t show you the movement, but it does apparently feature a modified version of the movement from the regular Pelagos. Tudor calls it, quite cleverly, the MT5612-LHD. I trust that, aside from reorienting the movement, nothing else has changed, meaning you’re getting an in-house, chronometer grade movement with a free sprung balance, silicon hairspring and a 70 hour power reserve, a list of features that some high-end brands would be jealous of.
The bracelet appears unchanged, which is great because many collectors tell us that it’s one of their favorite things about the watch. It’s a titanium piece with elegantly designed screw-in pins that are relatively easy to remove, and an extremely adjustable diver’s clasp. Like other Pelagoses, it also comes with a free rubber strap, black for this model.
So that’s the Pelagos LHD. It’s a fascinating watch from the perspective of a designer. Given its popularity, it makes perfect sense to offer it for left-handed collectors, but what makes it so interesting is that they decided to make it in a very unique style not available in the typical right-handed versions. The other interesting decision was to make them individually numbered without specifically making them limited edition. But, curiosities aside, what we’re left with is a great looking version of an extremely well made watch. It performs on every level. It’s using cutting edge materials, a highly sophisticated movement and now has a subtle touch of vintage styling, which I personally prefer to more heavy handed-approaches. This goes back to my (arguably spurious) distinction between vintage designs and vintage-styled designs. The Black Bay Red, for instance, is a vintage design as it actually attempts to look like a watch made in a different era. The Pelagos LHD, conversely, is a modern watch, but it takes a little inspiration from its predecessors and applies it in a few select areas. Is it my favorite Pelagos? That’s a bit of a tricky question since I’m right-handed, but it really is up there with the Blue for me in terms of looks. If I were open to wearing a watch on either wrist, I’d really have to sit down and think about which one I’d get.