Introducing The Fortis Flieger F-43 Bicompax Chronograph

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Fortis is no amateur when it comes to designing a watch meant for flight. They have a rich history of providing purpose-built watches that can withstand the rigors of heavy use, whether you’re on or off the planet. Fortis’ Cosmonaut range is known for being the official timepiece supplier for the ROSKOSMOS (the Russian Space Agency), giving them some serious credibility in the realm of flight-ready watches. Today, Fortis is proud to announce the newest model in their line of pilot’s watches — the Flieger F-43 Bicompax. It is a two register chronograph that’s a thoroughly modern and bold take on the classic flieger aesthetic. 

The Flieger on wrist

Measuring in at 43mm wide, the two-register chronograph is housed in an angular stainless steel case with a dramatically sloped 12-hour bezel (2 clicks per hour) up top. On the side of the watch, there’s a large signed crown, flanked on either side by a chronograph pusher. Zooming in a bit, you’ll notice these stout pushers are textured on the face to ensure a non-slip grip. The case has a brushed finish throughout and maintains an angular and modern design. Things really start getting interesting when you take a closer look at the dial and bezel.

It’s clear that Fortis wanted to add some visual depth to this watch, and they did so in an elegant and modern way. Running around the outside of the dial, the steel 12-hour bezel is dramatically sloped inwards. In place of a traditional chapter ring, there’s what Fortis calls their Brixtrack – a brushed ring with individual bricks of lume that are optimized for high legibility in low light conditions. Moving inward, the glossy black base of the dial features two chronograph registers. Each of the sub dials is set slightly into the dial and feature a circular ridged pattern. It may sound like there’s a lot going on, but all of the elements balance each other out well. There’s just enough color thanks to the Berlac Fluor Orange highlights and use of pale green lume throughout. 

The deep set dial.

When it comes to displaying the time, Fortis employs two sword-style hands for the hours and minutes, with a thin Berlac Fluor Orange-treated hand for the seconds. Berlac is a company who develops special lacquers that are formulated for delicate, yet durable applications. It makes sense that Fortis would look to a company with nearly 100 years of experience mastering their materials and application to add some color to the watch. They’re responsible for all of the orange highlights on the F-43, including the +/- 5 second Synchroline that’s located between 11 and 1 on the dial. Even if you’re not using the line for its intended purpose of syncing up with other pilots in your squadron, it adds a nice pop of color that I really enjoy.

Inside the F-43 is the Fortis UW-51 (Valjoux 7750 based) automatic chronograph movement. It has a 48-hour power reserve and has 27 jewels throughout the movement. The chronograph movement features a 60 second central seconds counter, a running seconds dial at 9, and a 30 minute counter at 3. For convenience, there’s a quick set date function that’s visible through the window at 6. 

The distinctive date window

Between the bold, modern design and bright orange accents throughout, the new F-43 from Fortis is a handsome watch. Those looking for a modern flieger from a brand with legitimate history in the field of aviation and space will enjoy their new take on the style. You can pick up your very own F-43  on either a metal bracelet for CHF 3,600 (~$3,950) or leather strap for CHF 3,150 (~$3,450). Deliveries begin this September. Learn more right here.

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