Fortis is best-known for crafting rugged, functional watches and for its long-lasting connection with aviation and space exploration. The brand was founded in 1912 in Grenchen and since 1987, the brand’s Flieger collection has been a reference for pilot watches. A few months ago, Fortis was acquired by Jupp Philipp who shared his plans to revive the brand with us. His roadmap is to focus on the essentials, by crafting no-nonsense tool watches without compromising quality and a motto “there is no function without design and there is no design without function“. The brand now kicks-off its new Flieger collection with a chronograph. Meet the Fortis Flieger F-43 Bicompax.
If the nod to the brand’s tradition is obvious, the new Fortis Flieger is far from being a mere reproduction of past models. This Flieger F-43 Bicompax is a modern creation, a clean, effective design with several original features.
The first thing to catch your eye is its dial. As you would expect from a pilot chronograph, the focus on legibility is obvious. The bi-compax layout is based on two textured registers with small seconds at 9 o’clock and a 30-minute chronograph at 3 o’clock. The date is displayed at 6 o’clock. This black opaline dial stands out with its rail track that Fortis dubbed BRIXTRACK®. Contrast is enhanced by illuminated bricks that are applied on the circular brushed dial. These are paired with sword-shaped hour and minute hands. These are black-framed and filled with X1 Super-LumiNova and an orange luminescent stop-seconds hand.
Another original feature is the ‘Synchroline’, also in fluor orange, printed between 55 to 05 seconds. Its goal is to allow pilots to synchronize when flying in squadron formation; with this +/-5 second range, each pilot can adjust to his teammates when setting the watch or starting the chronograph. The triangular index at 12 o’clock with two dots allows a pilot to immediately figure out the 12 o’clock indication in relation to the upright orientation of the dial and hence to read the time at a glance, both during daytime and night-time.
Measuring 43mm in diameter, the round stainless steel case exudes a robust feel. It features elongated angular lugs. With its 24 clicks (allowing to read time zones offset by 30 minutes) and a coined edge to ensure grip, the original 12-hour GMT bezel is precise and functional. The chronograph pushers are engraved with a non-slip pattern. Thanks to the screw-in caseback and crown, the watch is water-resistant to 200m.
Under the solid caseback ticks the Fortis Calibre UW-51 (based on the precise and trustworthy Sellita SW-510), which beats at 4Hz and boasts 48 hours of power reserve when fully wound. A stop-seconds mechanism allows for precise time setting.
The Fortis Flieger F-43 Bicompax is fitted with a three-link stainless steel bracelet, featuring a safety folding buckle and a practical fold-out extension. Its flexibility ensures good comfort, it feels solid and the screwed lugs offer additional security on the wrist. There is also a leather strap version with a pin buckle available.
The new Fortis Flieger F-43 Bicompax feels true to the brand’s tradition but stands out with a modern, original character. This highly functional chronograph looks cool and exudes quality. It feels solid as a rock and highly utilitarian. Although you should not expect to slip it discreetly under your cuff, it still comes with great civilian appeal. Price is set at EUR 3,800 on steel bracelet and EUR 3,350 on leather strap.
For more information, please visit www.fortis-swiss.com.