Swiss brand Fortis has been under a drastic restructuring in recent years, with almost all collections being discontinued. There was, of course, an ambitious plan behind this bold move, a complete overhaul of the brand that materialized with the introduction of a brand new Flieger collection in 2020. Fortis being Fortis, this typology of watches was much anticipated and the result took the shape of a rugged, ultra-utilitarian trio of Flieger watches; the F-43 Bicompax, the F-39 and F-41 Automatic and the F-43 Triple GMT. With an impressive list of specifications that make them some of the toughest watches in the category, it is no surprise that it has attracted armed forces and pro-pilots. And this includes the PC-7 Team, the aerobatics team of the Swiss Air Force.
The PC-7 Team is known as the group of highly trained pilots of the Swiss Air Force performing aerobatics displays. Introduced in 1982, it has since its establishment flown the Pilatus PC-7 Turbo Trainer, which explains the name of the team. And, unsurprisingly, these rapid, ultra-manoeuvrable planes come with a red and white livery. Like all good pilots, the members of the PC-7 Team somehow need a dedicated watch, a backup instrument to be worn on the wrist. Their choice went again for Fortis (it isn’t the first time the two are teaming up) and their ultra-focused Flieger collection, specifically the higher-end, traveller’s oriented model, the F-43 Triple-GMT.
The specs of the watch are all in the name… Flieger, obviously being the vocation of this watch. F-43, a reference to the sizeable case. Triple-GMT, because it will be able to track no fewer than three different time zones. This PC-7 Team Limited Edition is basically a visual evolution, sharing otherwise the same specs as the original model of 2020. The case is ultra-robust in construction, being actually tougher than most dedicated pilot’s watches. Made of grade 2 titanium, it is a watch made for action, not particularly for elegance. The case is boxy, rugged and all about doing a job. Featuring a sapphire crystal on both sides, it features a screwed crown and caseback and comes with solid 200m water-resistance.
What changes in the context of this Swiss-oriented LE is a dark grey DLC coating, for a stealthier look. The dial is framed by a bidirectional rotating bezel, with a 12-hour GMT scale – note that the 12 and 4 are respectively shaped like a plane and a wine glass… Weird, but there’s a reason since the PC-7 pilots are required to stop drinking alcohol at least 8 hours before each flight. The rest of the case is otherwise classic, with sizeable dimensions – 43mm in diameter and 15.6mm in height.
The dial sticks to what we’ve come to know in the standard production model of the Fortis Flieger F-43 Triple-GMT, with a black base, vertically brushed in the centre and equipped with large block-shaped Brixtrack markers and a generous amount of luminescent material. The orange accents are still Berlac Fluor and the Synchroline, printed in luminescent fluor orange between 55 to 05 seconds, is meant for pilots to synchronize when flying in squadron – and it couldn’t make more sense in the context of an aerobatic flight. The central 24-hour GMT hand circles the dial once a day, its fluor orange tip pointing to the corresponding hour, leaving no confusion as to whether it’s AM or PM – and yes, this is a true traveller’s GMT watch.
Under the hood, with a partially smoked crystal decorated with the logo of the PC-7 Team, is the calibre WERK 13, a movement made by Kenissi. A solid movement with an architecture shared with Tudor, it comes fully equipped with jumping local hour hand, COSC chronometer certification and 70-hour power reserve. In addition to its exclusive open back, this limited edition of the F-43 Triple GMT comes with two specific straps, a green-toned hybrid rubber and textile strap, and a red hook strap with logos.
Limited to 100 pieces, the Fortis Flieger F-43 Triple-GMT PC-7 Team Limited Edition is now available from the brand’s website and priced at CHF 4,800 (incl. taxes), EUR 5,300 (incl. taxes) or USD 4,900 (excl. taxes). For more details, please visit www.fortis-swiss.com.