11/09/2023
 4 minutes

Fortis and Fratello team up to introduce the Fortis Flieger F-43 Bicompax Fratello Capsule Edition

By Jorg Weppelink
FortisxFratello-2-1

Swiss brand Fortis and Dutch watch magazine Fratello have teamed up to release the Fortis Flieger F-43 Bicompax Fratello Capsule Edition. It’s the first watch in the Fratello × Fortis Capsule Collection, which will eventually hold more collaborative releases. The new modern pilot’s chronograph is a great daily wearer with its umber brown dial and orange accents. The color scheme perfectly suits the modern case and dial design, and with a matching brown hybrid strap, the overall result is a stylish statement piece.

Fortis: A Brand for Pilots and Astronauts

Fortis, based in the Swiss town of Grenchen, is known for creating outstanding astronaut’s and pilot’s watches. The brand’s most famous model is the B-42 Official Cosmonaut’s Chronograph – a favorite among watch fans who are interested in space travel. The original Fortis “Official Cosmonauts Chronograph” was standard issue for the cosmonauts of Russian space agency Roscosmos in 1994. Between 1994 and 2003, cosmonauts wore the watch during numerous Mir and ISS missions. The original model was followed by the B-42, which quickly became a fan favorite.

After roughly two decades on the market, the B-42 was replaced by the new Novonaut collection. The successor boasts an updated aesthetic that is characteristic of the entire Fortis collection. The design signature can best be described as modern, capable, and focused on combining form and function. The brand has four main product lines: the Novonaut for space-worthy chronographs, the Marinemaster for dive watches, the Stratoliner for stratosphere-inspired modern chronographs, and lastly, the Flieger for pilot’s watches.

Fortis Flieger F-43 Bicompax Fratello Capsule Edition

The new Fortis Flieger F-43 Bicompax Fratello Capsule Edition is part of the latter line of watches. This modern pilot’s watch comes with a 43-mm brushed and recycled stainless steel case that measures 15 mm thick with a lug-to-lug of 55 mm and a lug width of 21 mm. As such, it’s a large timepiece that is not particularly well-suited to people with smaller wrists. Having said that, Fortis timepieces are designed to be sturdy daily wearers that can be used in a range of practical situations without fail. Thus, this new pilot’s chronograph is unapologetic in its approach. Despite its large size, there are plenty of intricate details that balance the heft. The watch comes with a thin, rotating, 12-hour coin-edge bezel with 24 clicks, allowing the wearer to track the time in a second time zone. The numerals on the 12-hour scale are also very refined, standing out when you need them, but not disrupting the overall balance.

The 43 mm brushed stainless steel case give the pilot's watch its modern look.
The 43-mm brushed stainless steel case gives the pilot’s watch its modern look.

Beautiful Umber Brown Dial

The biggest eye-catcher on the watch is without a doubt the umber brown dial with two black registers at 3 and 9 o’clock and a black ring with a white printed minute track surrounding it. Additionally, there is a date window at 6 o’clock. If you look closely, you will see that the dial has a vertically brushed finish. As a result, it almost looks as if the dial has a wooden texture – a very nice detail that we definitely don’t see very often. The black and brown tones are contrasted by a series of orange accents, but this is no ordinary orange. The fluor orange color was developed by Swiss firm Berlac and has since become a signature Fortis color.

Standout Orange Details

The central chronograph hand stands out in orange, as does the Bicompax inscription. The date window and chronograph counter likewise feature orange borders. Another fun detail is the orange number “13” on the date wheel, which you can’t see in the pictures. There is good reason behind its color, too: Fortis owner Jupp Philipp signed the official paperwork to buy the brand on the 13th. So, on the 13th of every month, the Fortis fluor orange date reveals itself. All in all, there are plenty of orange details to make this quite a special dial.

Have a closer look at the umber brown dial with all its details.
Take a closer look at the umber brown dial with all its details.

Another fluor orange element is the “Synchroline” between 11 and 1 o’clock. This line makes it easier for pilots flying in a squadron to synchronize their timepieces mid-flight. While it may be something that most buyers will never have to do, it makes for another great orange detail. Overall, this dial perfectly merges style and functionality, resulting in a watch that is a fantastic daily wearer.

The Fortis UW-51 Performance Caliber

Fortis equips the 43-mm watch with its UW-51 Performance caliber. This automatic chronograph movement is based on the trusted Sellita SW510 and provides a solid workhorse with a 48-hour power reserve. It is a reliable power train for this special collaborative effort.

This is just the first release of the first release of the Fortis × Fratello Capsule Collection.
The first release in the Fortis × Fratello Capsule Collection

Stylish First Release in the Fortis × Fratello Capsule Collection

The look of the Fratello × Fortis Flieger is rounded out with a hybrid strap made of black FKM topped with a brown textile upper. This makes for a comfortable strap that perfectly balances the weight of the watch on the wrist. It’s sturdy enough to carry the weight, and yet flexible enough to fit nicely around your wrist. The strap and dial thus transform the pilot’s chronograph from a functional tool watch into a stylish statement piece featuring colors we don’t see every day.

Sturdy: the hybrid strap made of black FKM with brown textile on top.
The sturdy hybrid strap is made of black FKM with a brown textile upper.

The Fortis Flieger F-43 Bicompax Fratello Capsule Edition is a standout release in more ways than one. The modern chronograph comes with a spectacular dial and matching strap to create something truly unique. It’s a great first release in the Fortis × Fratello Capsule Collection that will undoubtedly be home to many more impressive watches. Unlike many of today’s collaborative efforts, this special release is not a limited edition. Although produced in limited runs, it will be permanently available in the Fratello shop for €2,980 (approx. $3,200) excluding VAT starting October 25th at 4:00 PM CEST.


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About the Author

Jorg Weppelink

Hi, I'm Jorg, and I've been writing articles for Chrono24 since 2016. However, my relationship with Chrono24 goes back a bit longer, as my love for watches began …

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