With watches, sometimes you can spot a collector’s piece from the jump. You can already read the years-from-now future auction description calling out, for example, this year’s new GMT: Rolex’s first full-run destro watch, the auctioneer will bark. Often, the details that mark a true collector’s watch are tiny: the “Inverted 6” Daytona or “Long E” GMT-Master. Tudor’s new Pelagos, announced this week, feels like one of these watches, thanks largely to the small red line of text bearing its name on the dial. It seems like a sure hit—and helps explain the massive heater Tudor has been on this year.
This version of the Pelagos seems to make all the right changes. The new watch is slightly slimmed down compared to past models, and rather than the matte bezel, this one is satin brushed, which feels to me just a little richer. The date window has been vaporized, while the name of the watch is written out in a very attractive red just below the center of the dial.
Why should those seven crimson letters make all the difference for this piece? Well, we already know collectors can’t help themselves when presented with these small red accents. This detail is like the weird little flute of rap songs: it’s a guaranteed hitmaker. Look no further than the watches now known as the “Single Red Sea Dweller,” the “Red Submariner,” and the “Big Red Daytona.” Today, it seems likely that we are witnessing the birth of the collector-favorite “Red Pelagos.”
This Pelagos is emblematic of the ways Tudor has played to its audience so successfully this year. Sure, there is a bit of fan service going on here, but that’s the way of the watch industry. Collectors have been clamoring for a slimmed-down Pelagos—this one drops from 42 millimeters to 39—and one without the date window, which is often blamed for muddying up a dial with all its…functionality. Unlike other massive corporations, watch brands are surprisingly reactive to collectors. Some brands have been known to put out open calls for new designs, while others conscript their most passionate and prominent fan into collaborating. Tudor isn’t going quite this far, but it’s clear the brand has its ear to the ground.