A few years back, Fortis was firmly on my radar. Somewhere along the way, I lost touch with the brand. But now, thanks to new ownership and an exciting return to form, the brand is back in my sights.

Fortis suggested we test drive some of its recently introduced models. To me, it was like a re-introduction to the brand. Last week, RJ took on the Amadee-18. Today, I’ll take the limited-edition Fortis Aeromaster PC-7 Team Edition Day-Date out for a spin.

Fortis Aeromaster PC-7 Team Day-Date

I’m not eager to admit this, but what I remember as being the “real” Fortis is the Official Cosmonauts Chronograph introduced in the mid-nineties of the last century. At that time, Fortis celebrated its newly acquired cooperation with the Russian federal ROSCOSMOS space agency. It was a chronograph — on request supplied as a cosmonaut set — with unmistakably professional aspirations. Powered by the illustrious Lemania 5100 caliber, this was a serious watch. Of course, in reality, there was more to Fortis than only this Cosmonauts Chronograph. Its Pilot series, for instance, was popular as well.

A decade after the introduction of the Cosmonauts Chronograph much had changed for Fortis. The Lemania 5100 ceased production in 2002. Because of that, the original Official Cosmonauts Chronograph wasn’t equipped with it anymore.

In my opinion, Fortis became more of a fashion brand rather than the purely professional outfit it had been before. Many of Fortis’s models became larger and larger. Stranger still, I noticed various colors and even art appearing in their watches. At least those are the observations I remember and are probably the reason Fortis slowly faded from my frame of interest.

Fortis in space

The truth is, of course, that Fortis always remained a partner of various space agencies, supplying astronauts with watches for many different missions. There are many pictures out there to prove that. One way or the other, that just didn’t reach me. But I’m not here to talk about history. If that’s what you want, check out the Fortis 100th Anniversary Book, published in 2012.

It might be that the recent change of ownership caused a refreshing flow. The fact is that, since we saw Jupp Philipp — you should read Rob’s interview with him — taking over the helm, the brand has presented some pretty severe watches. Straight, no-nonsense, high-quality watches, suitable for professional use.

Swiss Airforce PC-7 Team

So here it is on my wrist, one of these recently introduced models, the Aeromaster PC-7 Day-Date. Dedicated to the 30th anniversary of, and used and worn by the Swiss Airforce PC-7 Team.

In daily life, pilots in the PC-7 Team protect Swiss airspace on Boeing F/A 18 Hornet fighter jets. While the focus here is clearly on speed, the PC-7 Team is about formation flying, meaning precision, dynamics, and elegance — perfectly matching the critical elements of the similarly named Fortis watch.

The PC-7 Team Day-Date has a very clean and clear appearance. It is extremely easy to read, even though the PC-7 Team’s logo is taking up a lot of space on the dial. I’m sure that the double-sided AR-027 anti-reflective treated sapphire crystal is one of the reasons the dial appears so clear. However, the dark blue color of the dial contrasts strongly with the white hands and index markers help also. The red seconds-hand makes a nice touch and attracts the right attention.

…talking about red

Talking about red — and I couldn’t find anything about this in the PC-7 Day-Date ‘s documentation — there’s something else that attracted my attention. When I set the time and date to start wearing the watch, I noticed two things. One, the day indication is bi-lingual; German and English. And second, on the date-disc, the 7 is printed in red. I’m sure, a secret nod to the PC-7 Team. You’ll be able to see the red 7 on the pictures above where the watch is on my wrist. On all other pictures, the date appears in regular black.

Limited to 300 pieces

Production of the Fortis Aeromaster PC-7 Team Edition Day-Date is limited to only 300 pieces. The Day-Date model has a large brother, the Aeromaster PC-7 Team Edition Chronograph, from which 300 pieces are produced as well. Most probably we’ll review that chronograph version later. For a relatively small brand like Fortis, 300 is, in my opinion, an adequate number. In general, I wouldn’t buy a watch only because it’s limited. In this case, the watch itself brings reason enough, I wouldn’t care too much about the limitation.

I’m wearing a press sample piece. This one is not one of the 300 pieces and therefore has no number on it. Regular models will see their unique number as xxx|300 on a dedicated little plate at the side of the watchcase. The case back prominently shows the PC-7 Team logo again, plus an indication of the years “1989-2019” and “Swiss Air Force PC-7 Team”. The reference number of the watch is found here as well, just like the name of the series, “Limited Aeromaster Edition”.

The Aeromaster PC-7 Team Edition Day-Date includes a very solid stainless steel bracelet, a strong leather-lined Cordura strap, strap changing tools, a sturdy travel pouch, and a PC-7 Team patch. I’ll discuss the stainless steel bracelet in the Aeromaster PC-7 Team Edition Chronograph review to come but I can already tell you that it’s one of the most sturdy and heavy bracelets I’ve ever seen.

What else did I notice?

I really think these new models get Fortis back on track, they’ve got this substantial feeling again. But did I probably notice oddities as well? Yes, I did.

Looking at the picture above and consider the diameter of the watch — with its 42 mm it isn’t specifically small — and then look at the crown. It’s rather large. The PC-7 Day-Date is an automatic watch so the crown is just needed to set the time and day/date, and probably only wind it slightly before wearing it. I mean, for a hand winding watch I could imagine such a big crown, but here it seems a bit oversized. For a robust watch like the PC-7 Day-Date, it isn’t very disturbing though, and probably even adequate.

Another thing about the crown is that it’s not of the screw-down type; Fortis named it a “quick pull crown”. But still, the watch is rated 200 meters waterproof, quite an achievement for a non-screw-down crown construction.

Then, as mentioned, an extremely solid stainless steel bracelet plus an additional strong Cordura strap are both supplied with the watch. I wore this watch on the Cordura strap. It fits perfectly to the case, no gaps here. And as mentioned before, it’s strong. It’s that strong, and specifically that stiff, that in fact, it might be difficult to have it comfortably fit your wrist. Bending is hardly possible, and thus it’s a challenge to get the end of the strap through the first rider. I’m sure however that this will become much better by the time the strap is worn in, and by then it’ll prove to be an advantage rather than an inconvenience.

Conclusion and pricing

My conclusion can be short. With their newly introduced watches, Fortis is back on par with the quality it was known for in the past. The build of these watches, and certainly the feel and image of them, makes me happy and eager to see what’s coming next.

And what about the price? I’d say that’s pretty decent as well. €2,460 for a limited edition watch like this, complete with a heavy stainless steel bracelet plus a nicely made leather-lined Cordura strap is nothing to complain about. Learn more about Fortis here.


Watch specifications

Aeromaster PC-7 Team Edition Day-Date
Royal Blue
Case Material
Stainless steel, brushed
Case Dimensions
42 mm
Sapphire, with anti-reflective AR 027 coating on both sides
Case Back
Stainless steel with PC-7 Team embossing
UW-31C (based on ETA 2836) COSC certified
Water Resistance
200 meter
Solid stainless steel bracelet, plus leather-lined Cordura
Time, day, and date
2 year
Special Note(s)
Limited edition, 300 pieces. Set including tools, travel pouch, and PC-7 patch.