In mid-2020, we sat down with the new owner of Fortis, Jupp Philipp, who explained to us his intentions for the years to come. And the road map was clear; creating a brand new collection of watches that were typical of the brand, robust tool watches with no compromise on quality and function. The result was presented a few months later, with a completely redesigned Flieger collection, comprising Automatic 3-hand, Chronograph or GMT watches. Now established as Fortis’ cornerstone lineup, it is time for the Flieger collection to evolve. And we have an array of new editions, with colourful dials, making the 2023 Fortis Flieger Collection.
For many years, Fortis has been known for crafting robust, instrument watches with aviation and space exploration in mind. In particular, the brand has been famous for its chronograph alarm watch, part of the standard equipment of cosmonauts. But with the new ownership, things have changed and the entire collection has been revamped, without losing the main objective of the brand. It all started with the new Flieger lineup, presented gradually over the course of 2020, with 3 different iterations – a robust 43mm chronograph, time-and-date watches in 39mm and 41mm cases, and a higher-end GMT model with Kenissi movement.
The new Fortis Flieger collection was a strong departure from the past in terms of design. No vintage inspiration but instead a strong design with modernity, functionality and legibility in mind. The brand even advertised its collection with the motto “This is not a pilot’s watch.” Instead, the brand wanted its collection to combine the robustness of an all-rounder and pilot’s elements, bringing its vision of the ultimate tool. This was demonstrated with the use of a contemporary case shape, solid steel elements all around, an impressive water-resistance of 200m (far more than many pilot’s watches) and well-considered details on the dial to improve legibility and functionality in all possible conditions. Robust, first and foremost.
Originally, all three sub-ranges in the Flieger collection were presented in stainless steel (except the GMT, made of titanium) with brushed black dial and orange accents. The classic models, which are still part of the brand’s portfolio and must be considered cornerstone watches, were later joined by some slight evolutions, such as the Midnight Blue editions of the Flieger F-39 and F-41 Automatic.
For 2023, all three versions of the Fortis Flieger are undergoing an update with three new dial colours for the time-and-date automatic models and the chronograph, as well as a cool monochromatic edition of the GMT watch.
The 2023 Flieger F-39 and F-41
Available in two relatively compact cases, of either 39mm or 41mm, the time-and-date models are the entry-level options to the collection. Technically speaking, no evolutions are to be expected. The case retains the same specifications, with a solid brushed recycled steel construction, a bidirectional 12-hour concave bezel, a screw-down crown, a very effective anti-reflective crystal and a 200m water-resistance. Inside is the calibre Fortis UW-30, based on a Sellita SW200 with 4Hz frequency and 38h power reserve. All watches are available either on an aviator leather strap (from sustainable production) or a block bracelet in steel with quick-adjustable slide clasp.
The update concern the dials, which retain all their cool and practical features. All markers are largely luminous using a concept named BRIXTRACK (illuminated bricks that are applied on the dial), and the sword-shaped hours and minutes hands are largely coated in SLN – but the latter are now rhodium-plated, and not blackened anymore. The Synchroline printed between 55 to 05 seconds is still present and allows pilots to synchronize when flying in squadron formation. We now have three new colours, all with vertically brushed surface, in black (without the orange accents), in petrol green or in liberty blue.
Now available from the brand, the Fortis Flieger F-39 and F-41 Automatic ranges from EUR 2,150 to EUR 2,600 depending on the type of bracelet and the colour of the dial.
Quick facts: 39mm or 41mm – recycled steel case and bezel, brushed, sapphire crystal, screwed crown and caseback, 200m water-resistant – brushed dial in black, petrol or blue with luminous elements – calibre Fortis UW-30, based on a Sellita SW200, automatic – leather strap or block bracelet – as of EUR 2,150
The 2023 Flieger F-43 Bicompax
In the same vein as above, the two-register pilot’s chronograph, named Flieger F-43 Bicompax, undergoes identical evolutions. The technical base remains identical, with a 43mm diameter, 200m water-resistance and a bidirectional 12-hour bezel. The watch is powered by the calibre UW-51, based on the Sellita SW-510 and thus using a Valjoux architecture. It beats at 4Hz and boasts 48h of power reserve. This large and robust chronograph is available on leather straps or block bracelet.
The dials, which feature the same BRIXTRACK markers and an identical Synchroline on top, are characterized by their oversized counters at 3 and 9 o’clock, and a date at 6 o’clock. Vertically brushed, they are now available in black with white markers, as well as two coloured options, petrol green and liberty blue. The collection starts from EUR 3,550 up to EUR 4,000, depending on the choice of strap/bracelet and dial colour.
Quick facts: 43mm – recycled steel case and bezel, brushed, sapphire crystal, screwed crown and caseback, 200m water-resistant – brushed dial in black, petrol or blue with luminous elements – calibre Fortis UW-51, based on Sellita SW-510, automatic chronograph – leather strap or block bracelet – as of EUR 3,550
The 2023 Flieger F-43 Triple-GMT Titanium Dial
Last but not least, Fortis launches a new edition of its flagship model, the Flieger F-43 Triple-GMT. While visually and technically identical to the two other models mentioned above, the main difference was the presence of a higher-end movement, produced by Kenissi, boasting 70h of power reserve and certified chronometer by the COSC. This true traveller’s GMT movement allows, in conjunction with the 12-hour GMT unidirectional bezel, to track three different timezones. And while being large, with a 43mm case, this edition of the Fortis Flieger is also the only one to be made of grade 2 titanium, making it lighter than the rest of the collection.
First introduced with a black dial and orange accents, this classic model is now joined by a new iteration with a tone-on-tone titanium dial. Here, the orange accents and the blackened hands are kept and the watch features a black date disc for contrast. It can be worn either on an indigo-coloured leather strap or a titanium block bracelet with fine adjustment on the clasp. This new titanium-toned version is available from EUR 4,150 on leather strap and EUR 4,600 on titanium bracelet.
Quick facts: 43mm – titanium case and bezel, brushed, sapphire crystal, screwed crown and caseback, 200m water-resistant – brushed titanium-toned dial with orange accents and luminous elements – calibre Werk 13 (base Kenissi), automatic with 70h power reserve, traveller’s GMT, chronometer COSC – leather strap or block bracelet – as of EUR 4,150
For more details, please visit www.fortis-swiss.com.