The chronograph and the alarm are highly practical functions that can be used on a daily basis. However, these are complex mechanisms to design and manufacture. And when it comes to seeing them together, very few mechanical watches combine both functions. This is a good reason to take a close look at the Fortis Official Cosmonauts Titanium Alarm Chronograph, because, as indicated by its name, it does combine these two features.
Fortis is best-known for crafting rugged, functional watches and for its long-lasting connection with aviation and space exploration. In particular, Fortis watches became part of the standard equipment for Cosmonauts, cooperating with Roscosmos, the Russian Space Agency. Numerous heavy-duty watches have been produced in the frame of this cooperation, including the version we are reviewing today, which offers a rare combination of chronograph and mechanical alarm.
The Fortis Official Cosmonauts Titanium Alarm Chronograph comes in an instrumental, matte-finished and imposing 42mm case that exudes robustness and quality. It is fitted with a unidirectional rotating bezel allowing to read elapsed time over 60 minutes. The solid screw-down caseback is engraved with the emblem of the Russian Space Agency. Water-resistance is rated 20 ATM / 200m. The individual limited-edition number is engraved on a plate screwed on the side of the case.
With its numerous indications, the eye-catching matte black dial feels highly technical. Yet, it remains perfectly legible thanks to high-contrast white and orange markings. The hands and dials are treated with luminous material for readability in all conditions. The square window next to the date at 3 o’clock allows checking if the alarm is on (orange) or off (black). The pusher at 8 o’clock is used to activate/deactivate the alarm function. The date/alarm windows are flanked by two arrows to indicate which direction the crown must be turned to set the date or the alarm (arrow-shaped hand).
The Calibre F-2001 Alarm Chronograph
The Fortis Official Cosmonauts Titanium Alarm Chronograph is powered by the F-2001 calibre. If there are few alarm movements around, a mechanical chronograph movement with a built-in alarm is even rarer. The F-2001 movement was a world’s first and it was developed together with Zurich-based independent watchmaker Paul Gerber. It went into serial production in 1996. Based on the tried-and-tested Valjoux 7750, this automatic calibre is chronometer-certified by COSC. 30mm in diameter and 7.90mm thick, it operates at 28,800 vibrations per hour and stores 46 hours of power reserve when fully wound. The alarm’s extra-large hammer is powered by a second barrel; it emits a 27-second long rattling sound after full winding. Interestingly, the alarm vibrates when it runs as this was requested by the cosmonauts. As there is no sound in outer space, they needed to feel the vibration to warn them when the oxygen level was about to get low.
The watch is fitted with a screw-fixed three-link titanium bracelet with a safety folding buckle and a fold-out extension.
This Official Cosmonauts Titanium Alarm Chronograph is a heavy-duty but handsome chronograph. On the wrist, it makes an impression. This hefty tool watch won’t slip under a cuff but it wears well thanks to the ergonomic lugs. And thanks to the use of ultra-light titanium, it is light and comfortable. Most of all, this utilitarian chronograph is intended for rough use. With its robust and technical character, it feels solid as a rock. And after all, we live vicariously with these Cosmonaut chronographs…
Price and availability
The Fortis Official Cosmonauts Titanium Alarm Chronograph was a limited edition of 300 pieces and is no longer available.
However, there are other alarm chronographs available at Fortis, such as the Aeromaster (as of CHF 7,450) or the MarineMaster (as of CHF 6,840), both equipped with the same movement. Last but not least, in view of the current COVID-19 situation, FORTIS offers for a limited time only a 20% coupon on its website (for all watches) by using the code STAYSAFE. For more information, please visit www.fortis-swiss.com.