Deep thinking with Tudor ambassador Morgan Bourc’his

Brummell catches up with Tudor’s freediving world-champion ambassador Morgan Bourc’his on adventure and marine conservation

Watches & Jewellery 13 Mar 2024

brand ambassador and freediving world champion Morgan Bourc’his.

Syncing a watchmaker of world-renowned diving timepieces with a freediving world champion is a no-brainer, but Morgan Bourc’his is hardly your everyday brand ambassador. Firstly, the French athlete has been a Tudor ambassador for 10 years, plus, as a self-proclaimed ‘introspective explorer’, there’s something uniquely cerebral about him. ‘Freediving is a journey of self discovery rather than a journey where you discover new territories,’ says Bourc’his. ‘I’m on an inner journey, an introspection. Alone with myself.’

Mental stamina makes or breaks top athletes today – and Bourc’his’s has driven him to reach mind-boggling depths of 109m (the Statue of Liberty, by way of comparison, is 93m high). He talks about a kind of free fall, where gravity sinks in. ‘Seconds and metres go by,’ he says. ‘The time passes and you start to experience time at a different pace, in slow motion.’

Since the birth of his daughter two years ago, Bourc’his has redirected his efforts towards marine conservation. Sharks and whales are his focus, inspired by a 2015 expedition with Tudor to the Norwegian fjords. One day, he was swimming among a school of herring when the fish suddenly became frenzied. Whales, Bourc’his knew, feed from below, swimming upwards with their large mouths wide open to consume their prey.

Brand ambassador and freediving world champion Morgan Bourc’his
Brand ambassador and freediving world champion Morgan Bourc’his

‘At that moment, I was at the top of this bait ball and knew I had to swim away, but it was difficult,’ he says. ‘The herring were also swimming, but staying together. Then these two humpback whales came from the bottom, their huge mouths completely open. You can’t move. You can’t do anything. They are too big. I’m thinking: “I can just wait, and see what happens.”’

Miraculously, the whales quickly turned on their sides – one to the left, one to the right, with Bourc’his and his cameraman left in the middle, just 10m between the two animals. ‘You see this train passing beside you, two at the same time, for maybe 15, 20 seconds,’ he says. ‘That moment will forever be ingrained in my mind. The animals were huge – the size is something that completely shocks you. But there was also the kindness. They knew we were there. And they changed their path. They had the ability to move quickly, to avoid us. It was so impressive and so intense.’

The Tudor Pelagos with ceramic matt blue disc on a blue rubber strap, £4,320
The Tudor Pelagos with ceramic matt blue disc on a blue rubber strap, £4,320

Bourc’his wore his blue-dialled Tudor Pelagos diving watch for the expedition. Despite owning a spate of Tudor divers – several Black Bay models in red, a GMT and chronograph, alongside a black Pelagos – he has an emotional bond with this one in particular. The Norwegian trip was a game changer for him, says Bourc’his.

‘If, today, I had to choose between another world champion title and another meeting with a whale or a great white shark, I would choose the second option for sure,’ he says.

Since the 1950s, Tudor has supplied diving watches to navies around the world. In our high-tech times, however, perhaps what resonates more than a reliable mechanical instrument is Bourc’his himself – emboldened with his Tudor Pelagos that can reach depths of 200m – coming face-to-face with two huge whales, reminding us how minuscule humans are in this precious world.

It’s all part of a journey, after all, for Bourc’his as well as Tudor diving watches, which are both in a league of their own.