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Tudor Pelagos LHD review
There comes a time for people who enjoy watches for the hunt to end and I am hoping that the time has come for me. I have had this hope many times in the past, but after 4 months the Tudor Pelagos LHD has not left my wrist.
I have bought and sold far too many watches, some which have been returned or sold after a couple of days, and it has been a futile search for perfection. I believe this could be a trait among many of us and those of you who have read this site for a long time may recognise the sensation in the early days of PDAs and smartphones.
The new HTC clamshell model with a bigger keyboard, the iPhone 3G, the latest Nokia with programmable ring tones and all the way back to the very latest portable marvel from Psion. When you find something exceptionally useful it is hard to not want it to be even more useful, and ultimately as perfect as it can be.
Obviously when it comes to technology you cannot have perfection because improvements come along all of the time, but that does not stop the desire to want better features that can enhance your life, and so we happily spend +£1,000 on a phone because of all it can do. That would not so long ago have sounded like a ridiculous amount of money, but now that your phone is your camera, navigator, music player etc etc, it feels more normal than it should do.
None of the above logic can be applied to a watch and especially a mechanical watch which uses technology from many decades ago. A technology that is not competitive with a quartz watch for timekeeping and certainly not a smartwatch or phone. It has no advantage whatsoever apart from three areas which make people like me hunt for the 'perfect for me' experience.
A good quality mechanical watch will last for decades, a lifetime, if it is looked after and yet it can still be worn normally for a variety of activities. With this longevity comes an emotion that is impossible to ignore, it becomes a part of you and your every day.
Simply move and a mechanical watch will have power. No batteries, no connection to anything anywhere apart from your wrist. It is completely standalone.
It can say something about you. In a world of Apple Watches, a quirky mechanical timepiece offers a small glimpse of the personality that is wearing it. As I write that I realise that the sentiment is absolute nonsense, but to a person who cares little for fashion or branding, a decent mechanical watch is a subtle statement that may only be noticeable to themselves. It matters not, however, because if you find a watch that suits you perfectly, you can simply enjoy it day after day forever more.
It is refreshing to own an object that needs no outside influence to work and to provide a service that is very important. We all need to know the time and even though our laptops, phones, tablets, TVs and so many other devices tell us where we are in the day, nothing beats the utility of simply lifting your wrist and having a quick check.
I tried the LHD on in a shop and was amazed at how it looked and felt on my wrist. This may sound silly, but after so many previous watches this one stood out unexpectedly and I continued to think about it for the rest of the day. My wife spent some time persuading me to buy it, but I could not justify the cost and was adamant that I would not buy it.
I bought it later that day and I have never looked back.
Precisely 6 months later it is on my wrist all day, every day and I never think about the size of it apart from on very hot days when it becomes more noticeable. The titanium is a warm feeling metal which almost feels like it has a clear plastic covering over it and after wearing a watch made of it for so long now I can't imagine the feel, weight and look of shiny stainless steel which in comparison seems garish.
It is highly practical. The spring-loaded bracelet clasp ensures that it is never tight when your wrist swells up, the clarity of the time is exceptional and there are even ceramic ball bearings in the buckle enclosure. There is no part of this watch that has been made without an emphasis on longevity and exceptional quality / toughness.
One of the standout parts of the LHD is the consistency of the design and the way the muted dial works with the cream markers and hands with just a splash of red in the centre, a red which often fails to materialise in photos for some reason. There is literally no shine anywhere on the watch and even the bezel is matte ceramic which is an unusual addition, but one which suits the rest of the watch.
In a world where Rolex is turning its classic tool watches into jewellery that are focussed on simply making the wearer stand out and where so many other brands are moving from tool to fashion the LHD stands out for its complete focus on being a tool watch. 500 metres of water resistance is far too much for 99.9% of people, the lume is exceptional through the night, the timekeeping is excellent (+2 seconds per day) and the build quality is simply fantastic. Every moving part from the bezel click and alignment to the absolute trueness of the lug enclosure for the bracelet is as good as I have seen anywhere, and when added to the simplistic yet obvious design it feels like a watch that you will want to wear each day.
It is hard to explain why a watch is so good and most of us are left comparing a model to the competition, but I would argue that the LHD easily matches the Rolex Submariner in terms of build quality and finishing, and that it destroys the Omega Speedmaster in almost every important way apart from the fact that the Speedmaster went to the moon. We know it went to the moon Omega! We know by know and we also know that a Speedmaster bought today for almost double the price it was a handful of years ago is simply not worth anywhere near what it costs.
For two thirds the cost of a Speedmaster and half the price of a Submariner, the Tudor Pelagos LHD is a surprisingly good value and near perfect proposition, if you have the wrist for it.