Fortis is not a brand that gets much press here in the States. But for those in the know, Fortis is a horological staple in the spheres of aviation and space travel This year at Basel, Fortis presented a more grounded side with their new Terrestis collection, a line of classically-styled timepieces with influences pulled from Fortis’ archives dating back to the 30s and 40s. The collection is unusual in terms of what we’ve come to expect from the brand, but a welcome change because the watches are, simply put, stunning.
Terrestis Tycoon Chronograph
Fortis describes the Terrestis line as the company’s reintroduction to Earth. The anchor of the Terrestis line is the Tycoon Chronograph, a beautiful and understated dress chrono that is truly one of the standouts of Fortis’ new trajectory. It comes in a 41mm stainless steel case with a domed sapphire crystal up top. The dial, available in both silver and anthracite, utilizes a classic tri-compax layout powered by a modular movement, the Dubois-Depraz caliber 2020.
While the anthracite dial is certainly handsome, it’s the silver dialed variant that is the true standout. It features applied Arabic numerals at 12, 3, 6, and 9, and a setting of elegant feuille hands for basic time keeping–all in beautiful rose gold. The hands connected to the chronograph function are blued, resulting in a stunning contrast to the warmer tones of the dial.
The Terrestis Tycoon Chronograph is expected to come in at approximately $3,700.
Terrestis Tycoon Date, Hedonist, and Orchestra
The Terrestis collection also has some great 3-handed styles in its lineup. There’s the Tycoon Date, the 3-handed brother of the Tycoon chronograph with a date complication at 6. There is also a beautiful automatic timekeeper with a sub-seconds dial at 6 in the form of the Terrestis Hedonist. And finally, my favorite is the Terrestis Orchestra, the most classic looking timepiece in the collection. It features a domed crystal and dial, 40mm case and a set of stunning drop shaped lugs, a feature you just don’t see on most modern watches. The Orchestra comes in at about $2,300.
Fortis Aviatis Daybreaker
Though the Terrestis collection was Fortis’ main focus this year, I would be remiss not to mention the Daybreaker. The Daybreak is the star of the Aviatis line, and Fortis rightfully describes the watch as their magnum opus. Consisting of more than 500 micromechanical components, the Daybreaker represents a fantastic feat of engineering for Fortis–it’s the world’s first and only automatic alarm chronograph with a GMT function. In terms of complications, there’s a lot to discuss. In addition to the chronograph, alarm, and GMT functions, there are also two power reserves, a day/date function, and an AM/PM indicator. It’s quite a bit of information to put on a dial, but it works surprisingly well. The movement is also a certified chronometer, a welcome addition on top of everything else already packed into the piece.
There are two styles for the Daybreaker–the Stealth, a toned down black and white dial with a tachymeter, and the Recon, a cream-colored fluted dial with a high-polished case. The Daybreaker is a limited edition of 100 pieces, and unsurprisingly, it’s also quite pricey. Though more of a novelty at $15,100, the Daybreaker is nevertheless a very cool watch.
For more Fortis Watches, check out Page & Cooper