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Hot on the heels of the release of their new F-43 Bicompax Chronograph, Fortis is back with the second release from their new Flieger collection, the F-41 and F-39. For folks who thought the F-43 was a tad on the large side, these new(er) watches might hold some appeal, coming in at more modest measurements but with similar flieger styling, sans chrono.
Stylistically, the F-41 and F-39 hew close to the aesthetic of the F-43, with simple gray dials accented with pops of green lume and orange accents. The Fortis “Synchroline,” an orange ring that spans from 11:00 to 1:00, is perhaps the most unique design element on the dial, and seems like it would be useful for a pilot in orienting him or herself in the cockpit. Or perhaps it’s just there to look cool (it does, in my opinion). The “Brixtrack” ring, another feature from the F-43, is present here as well. You’ll recall from coverage of that earlier watch, that Brixtrack is a brushed ring around the outside of the dial with individual lume plots at each minute marker. It’s designed to aid in legibility and gives the watch a tactical feel, while adding depth to the dial, which is not a quality that’s often associated with pilot’s watches.
My favorite thing about this release is the options that Fortis is allowing their customers. Having two watches of the same style in 39mm and 41mm cases is a really nice feature, and will ensure that these get onto the wrists of more people. The 39mm size is especially appealing, as aviation themed watches under 40mm with contemporary styling are a rare breed indeed. In addition to the gray dialed variants, Fortis is releasing the F-39-J, a Japanese only limited edition with a blue dial and stark white accents where the others see orange and green. This is a clean look with a very different impression than the standard variants, but is limited to just 50 examples.
Fortis is promoting these new watches under the tagline, “Simplicity is King,” and I think that’s a useful way to think about the F-41 and F-39. While the aesthetic is a little more exciting than the drabbest pilot’s watches thanks to Fortis’s use of color, these are tools to the core, with cases in a classic brushed finish and eminently useful 12 hour bezel, for the easy tracking of a second time zone without a mechanical complication, or the somewhat more math intensive timing of a particular event. However you decide to use these watches, the legibility focused and flieger inspired dial layout is the highlight. A full 200 meters of water resistance bolsters the F-39 and F-41’s tool watch bona fides.
All three of these watches are powered by Fortis’s UW-30 movement, which we suspect is a derivative of either the ETA 2824 or Sellita SW200, providing 38 hours of power reserve. Both the 39mm and 41mm versions carry a retail price of $1,780 on a strap, or $2,230 on a bracelet. Like the F-43 chronograph, this retail price feels high when compared to other watches with similar specs, but we’ll reserve judgment on value until we can get this watch in hand – Fortis certainly has a reputation for making a high quality product that doesn’t cut corners. Fortis
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