The third and final installment of the series of models meant to re-introduce Fortis is finally here, and it’s positioned as the ultimate Flieger within the range. Now, the new Flieger F-43 Triple-GMT stands alongside the Flieger F-41 Automatic (launched with its downsized sibling, the F-39 Automatic), and the F-43 Bicompax, both of which were released earlier this year.
But the GMT function isn’t the only focal point of this new Fortis – the watch uses the caliber WERK 13. The caliber is made by Kenissi, an arm of Tudor (owned by Rolex, of course) focused on movement production. Currently, Kenissi supplies movements to the nascent brand Norqain, as well as Chanel, which owns a 20% stake in Kenissi.
The features that have come to define modern Fortis are present in the GMT model as well, like Brixtrack indices, which are made of a proprietary luminous compound and shaped like, you guessed it, a brick. The idea is that the entirety of the surface area is luminous for better legibility. The Synchroline indicator is also present, a +/-5 second indicator in Berlac Fluor Orange at 12 o’clock. It’s possible to track three time-zones: local time, GMT, and a third on the twelve-hour rotating bezel.
The F-43 Triple-GMT checks all the right boxes when it comes to a modern, purpose-focused pilot’s watch. It’s titanium (and so is the bracelet), it features double anti-reflective coating on the crystal, and it has a screw-down crown and a bi-directional 12-hour bezel. But this shouldn’t all come as a surprise. Fortis has been building watches for extreme applications for decades. In fact, in a recent conversation with Larry McGlynn, who runs the website Space Artifacts and co-hosts Discovery Channel’s Space Dealers, it was confirmed from the inside that Roscosmos had issued a Fortis watch to recent Soyuz crews. Larry recounts, “It was explained to me by Gennady Padulka (and two other cosmonauts still in the corps and who will remain nameless) that Roscosmos issues three watch types to a Soyuz crew. The Omega X-33 for inside the ISS, the Omega Speedmaster Pro for EVA work outside the ISS (The X-33 has not been tested for use outside the station), and a Fortis B-42 Cosmonaut.”
Fortis isn’t usually the first to be named when discussing watches used in space, but it really should be in the conversation. There’s a strong and authentic heritage in the brand’s DNA, and while the F-43 Triple-GMT is a pilot’s watch, there are visual cues that tie it together to important Fortis watches of the past, like the B-42 Cosmonaut. Specific design elements like the new Synchroline mingle with familiar bits that have always appeared on Fortis watches, like Arabic numerals, Berlac Fluor Orange accents, and a monochromatic dial that looks like it was lifted right off the flight deck. While I’ve not handled the models yet, on paper, the new Fortis range looks to have been re-launched with plenty of fidelity and fun.
Back in mid-August, we ran a piece on the launch of the F-42 Bicompax. The story establishes the context behind the re-introduction of Fortis in 2020. Jupp Philipp, the new owner, has a bold vision for the company, saying that he wants it to be compared to the likes of Tudor, Breitling, and IWC in the future. This new GMT figures to be a key part of the strategy of getting there.
The movement in the F-43 Triple-GMT is called the WERK 13, and it’s a true GMT movement in the sense that it features jumping hours, which allows the wearer to easily set the local time and cycle through the date indicator at any time. The caliber also has a 70-hour power reserve. Spec-wise, the watch stacks up against some of the heavy-hitting GMT models from the brands Mr. Philipp outlined when he shared his vision for the “new” Fortis.
The WERK 13 is the “cornerstone,” according to Fortis, of the relationship with Kenissi. If we look at the F-43 Triple-GMT as an example of what this relationship is capable of producing, Fortis becomes an exciting brand that may finally get the “street cred” it deserves among folks who typically only look at the larger brands.
Model: F-43 Triple-GMT
Reference Number: F.426.000
Case Material: Titanium
Dial Color: Black
Indexes: Brixtrack luminous indices
Water Resistance: 200m
Strap/Bracelet: Titanium bracelet with quick-adjustable slide-clasp
Caliber: WERK 13
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, GMT, date
Power Reserve: 70 hours
Chronometer Certified: COSC certified
Additional Details: Jumping hours and retrograde date setting.
Pricing & Availability
Price: $ 4,150
Availability: Watchbuys in the US.
For more, click here.