Vivified Air: Fortis Livens Up Their Flieger Collection with New Dial Colors

Human flight has long been an inspiration and a momentous force within Fortis’ history. Dating back to as early as 1929, Lady Grace Drummond-Hay completed the world’s first circumnavigation in a Zeppelin LZ127 – on her wrist, a Fortis Harwood. In 1995, Fortis was also a part of a record-breaking flight that took aeronautical photographer, Alexandre Paringaux, to an altitude of 30,045m, reaching speeds as high as Mach 3.13 in a Mig-25 PU. Around that time, Fortis had also released their first-ever Flieger, aptly named the Sky-watch.

Fortis Flieger F-43 Bicompax Petrol

Inspired by the functional designs of the B-Uhr harkening back to WWII, the Sky-watch had all the tell-tale features of a traditionally designed pilot’s watch – can’t miss Arabic hour numerals, triangular 12 o’clock marker, and sword hands. Up until today, particularly the use of a black dial, splash of orange accents, and sickly green markers and hands, that design has largely remained unchanged. Recently, Fortis has injected some color into their entire Flieger collection with an array of different dial colors giving their pilot’s watch a new-found contemporary energy.

Fortis Flieger F-39 Petrol

First up in the Fortis fleet, we have the Flieger F-39 and F-41 sporting three new dial colors: Black, Petrol, and Liberty Blue. The difference that immediately stands are the markers and hands that no longer have the faded luminova shade. Instead, they’ve been whited out, but still remain legible against the tri-color of new dial colors. The new set-up brings the Flieger F-39 and F-41 into modern day. With its vertical brush finished dial and accompanying brushed hands, the watch as whole no longer feels vintage, and with the new dial color options, the Flieger F-39 and F-41 offer an attractive case for an everyday watch that’s capable of tracking a second timezone.

Fortis Flieger F-41 Liberty Blue

The Fortis Flieger F-39 and F-41 houses a steel bezel that completes its revolution around the dial in 24 clicks. Tracking a second time zone can be done in a cinch without having to finagle with the crown. Both models are constructed out of a recycled stainless steel and for a pilot’s watch, provide a robust water resistance rating at 20 atm. Bolstering the watch’s waterproofing is a screw down crown that uses a triple gasket system. The Flieger F-39 and F-41 also keep Fortis’ signature Brixtrack and Synchroline features. The Brixtrack features a set of illuminated SuperLuminova X1 bricks along the minute track which provide a three-dimensional quality to the markers and thus, improving the legibility in low-light situations. The Synchroline, a distinct solid bar extending to each of the hour markers adjacent to twelve o’clock, applies more to pilots, as it allows those flying in formation to remain in time-lockstep. For those of us that have both feet firmly on the ground for most of the time, the Synchronline, according to Fortis, assists with keeping accurate time during adjustment. Could you just push the crown in as your reference for accurate time (, laptop clock, another watch, etc.) crosses 12 o’clock? Sure. But the Synchroline provides some visual uniqueness and keeps the aviation spirit alive within their Flieger.

Fortis Flieger F-39 Liberty Blue

The next watch in the Fortis fleet that gets some additional dial colors is the Flieger F-43 Bicompax. Like the Flieger F-39 and F-41, it is made out of recycled stainless steel, has a 24 click 12-hour steel bezel, 200 meters of water resistance, vertically brushed dial and the aforementioned Brixtrack/Synchroline features. The same three new dial colors apply; Black, Petrol, and Liberty Blue. The Fortis Flieger F-43 sports a chronograph feature powered by the UW-51 Performance. The UW-51 is an automatic and antimagnetic movement built with a particular rotor that is regulated to chronometer standards and has 48 hours of power reserve.

Fortis Flieger F-43 Bicompax Liberty Blue

Finally, the last watch to get a new dial update is the Fortis F-43 Triple-GMT. The titanium dial presents the main feature of the watch which displays an inner orange ring, short GMT hand and a black 24 hour scale that displays a second time zone. The accompanying rotating 12-hour bezel allows the user to track a third time zone, although it could get a little tricky with the 12 hour display (even with the convenient 24 clicks) as opposed to a 24 hour display. The F-43 Triple-GMT runs on the COSC-certified WERK 13 automatic movement. The WERK 13 exhibits a 70 hour power reserve, the highest reserve within the Fortis Flieger collection, and the ever-appealing jumping hour hand, making the Fortis Flieger F-43 a “true” GMT. Out of the bunch, I’ve taken a liking to this specific model. The orange accents against the brown-gray tones of titanium compliment each other, and the black hour numerals, and especially the black surrounds around the hands balance out the dial, keeping it from looking too polished. Does the independently adjustable hour hand also help with my leaning? Absolutely.

Fortis Flieger F-43 Triple-GMT On Block Titanium Bracelet

The Black Flieger F-39 and F-41 retails for $2,200 on a leather strap and $2,700 on the block stainless steel bracelet. For an additional $100, the Petrol and Liberty Blue Flieger F-39 and F-41 models retail for $2,300 on leather and $2,800 on the steel bracelet. The Flieger F-43 Bicompax follows the same theme, with the Black dial variation retailing at $3,650 on a leather strap and $4,100 on the bracelet. Its color counterparts retail for $3,750 on a leather strap and $4,200 on steel. Finally, the Flieger F-43 Triple-GMT retails for $4,400 on a strap and $4,850 on a block titanium bracelet. Fortis

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Thomas is a budding writer and an avid photographer by way of San Diego, California. From his local surf break to mountain peaks and occasionally traveling to destinations off the beaten path, he is always searching for his next adventure, with a watch on wrist, and a camera in hand. Thomas is a watch enthusiast through and through; having a strong passion for their breadth of design, historical connection, and the stories that lie within each timepiece.