In what has turned out to be something of a brand facelift, Fortis has announced a new dive watch line consisting of two watches to start, the Marinemaster M-40 and Marinemaster M-44. The naming convention here should feel familiar to anyone who was paying attention to Fortis’s flieger watch launches throughout last year (definitely check out Blake’s overview of the line right here if you missed it), with the numerals corresponding to the case diameter of each watch. Similar to the fliegers, Fortis seems committed to giving people options with their new dive watch, which is welcome indeed. The aesthetic would seem to borrow from the flieger watches as well, as these are fundamentally big, burly, sports watches with a stripped down, zero flash, tool watch vibe.
Although the name of the watch certainly conjures the ocean (and the larger watch is rated to 500 meters of water resistance) Fortis wants you to think of the Marinemaster as an “outdoor” watch, and not so much as a diver. They claim that the design was “inspired by nature,” and the promotional materials feature an anonymous mountain man hiking through the wilderness, brewing coffee, and marveling at the great outdoors, always clad, of course, in an orange-strapped Marinemaster. The point that Fortis is driving home here is one that we’ve been making at Worn & Wound for quite some time: dive watches are just great all purpose watches, even if you never get them wet.
The stainless steel case in either 40mm or 44mm sizing has the same cushion like shape, and seems to draw on 70s style cues. If you opt for the larger Marinemaster, you can have the dial in any color you want, as long as it’s gray. Going down a step to 40mm opens up additional color options, including green, white, and a shade of blue that veers surprisingly close to the iconic “Tiffany” shade. It’s beautiful, but not at all what you’re expecting on a rough and tumble diving/hiking/coffee brewing watch like this one. The dials have a distinct square pattern running through them, which provides a nice textured effect, and we’re very curious to check out in personl. The smaller watches are mounted to rubber straps that match the dial colors, and the 44mm version has the option of a bright orange rubber strap that matches that dial’s key accent on the minute track and minute hand. All of the watches are also available on a matching stainless steel bracelet, as well.
An interesting design quirk of the watch is the rotating bezel. On the larger watch, Fortis has enabled turning of the bezel in both directions, and implemented a locking mechanism via the crown at 10:00 (according to Fortis, this is their alternative to a helium escape valve). The M-40 is missing the bezel locking feature, but it does apparently have a grippy texture thanks to black stainless steel. This is another design characteristic we’re looking forward to checking out in person to see if it “works” as advertised. At the very least, it offers an interesting visual contrast.
The M-44 is powered by the Forits Werk-11 movement, made in partnership with Kenissi. This caliber is chronometer certified and holds a 70 hour power reserve. The smaller M-40 runs on the Fortis UW-30 movement, which is a rebadged Sellita and the same caliber found in the previously released flieger line. The M-40 watches are available now and sell for $2,850 on a strap and $3,200 on a bracelet. The M-44 is due in early 2022 with an expected retail price of $4,150. Fortis