Founded in 1912 by Walter Vogt in Grenchen, Fortis is known for manufacturing rugged, functional watches with a forte for pilot watches. Notching up the altitude factor, Fortis also specialises in Cosmonaut watches and has been cooperating with Roscosmos, the Russian space agency and other organisations for years. Today, we take a look at one of the brand’s latest creations, the Fortis Aeromaster Mission Timer Chronograph – and if it’s good enough for Russian Space missions, it should be reliable enough on Earth.
One of the latest models in the brand’s expansive pilot’s watch collection, the Aeromaster Mission Timer we are reviewing today owes its name to its 60-minute timing bezel allowing to read elapsed time on a mission. This black-on-black chronograph exudes quality whilst maintaining a robust, technical feel. The all-black treatment gives this otherwise rather old-school stopwatch a more modern and sportier look.
The black PVD-coated steel case is 42mm in diameter and 15mm in height. My first impression when handling the watch was that it was a tad chunky, but it actually wears well and looks really good on the wrist. In particular, the strap is perfectly integrated into the case, ensuring a snug fit. The pushers and crown are not screw-down but the 200m water-resistance is guaranteed by double gaskets.
The 120-click count-up bezel operates smoothly. To use it, you need to set the luminescent zero marker next to the minute hand. Functioning just like a dive watch, it is easy to consult elapsed time. The high-quality sapphire crystal features an anti-reflective coating on both sides and is practically invisible.
The Mission Timer is powered by an accurate and reliable workhorse, the Valjoux 7750, with its signature 6-9-12 layout. Offering 48 hours of power reserve, it features a day-date indication and hacking seconds. On the dial, all indications are legible at a glance thanks to luminescent hands, raised numerals and hour markers. The latter are fit in cut-outs in the flange creating a nice sense of depth. The upward facing triangle and two dots to quickly determine the twelve o’clock position are a traditional pilot watch feature. The crosshair small seconds is a cool touch.
The Fortis Aeromaster Mission Timer chronograph we had for this hands-on article is worn on a “performance leather” strap with a pin buckle. The strap options include regular leather, NATO, rubber and a folding clasp. Price is set at CHF 3,300 for the present model.
Last, the Aeromaster also includes a three-hander version of this watch, powered by an automatic ETA 2836-2 and retailing for CHF 1,690. For more information, visit www.fortis-swiss.com.