Fortis is at it again. You might remember that since a few years now we follow this Grenchen brand’s activity on Fratello Watches. Just this year we have already looked at two of their new releases. Michael had a Classic Cosmonaut Chronograph to play with, while I took the Aeromaster Steel Chronograph for a test drive. Both were really cool watches. Let’s jump back a bit in time though. It’s the end of March, we are at Basel having coffee with Andreas from Fortis. He tells us that the brand has something interesting coming this year. He shows us the design of a pretty handsome watch. No prototype yet, just the renderings. It looks promising. Fast forward to today (early November), I have the very watch on my wrist; the Fortis Dornier GMT.
If you are an aviation fan I’m sure you know Dornier. For the rest of you, here’s the short story: Dornier is (was) an aircraft manufacturer located in the south of Germany, in a small town called Friedrichshafen by Lake Constance. The town might ring the bell as the birthplace of the Zeppelin. Dornier was founded in 1922 by Claude Dornier, a French-German engineer and businessman. Dornier became one of the most significant aircraft builders of its time. They were also involved with projects to design and build automobiles, missiles, and even a spacecraft. Though the original company went out of business in 2002, the Dorniers had a spin-off company called Dornier Seaplane that is still run by members of the family. With a rich aviation history like Fortis, it is just a great match. But will the Fortis Dornier GMT live up to our expectations?
GMTs are hot these days. Not that they were ever out of fashion, but it seems that more companies either come out with a GMT or refresh their already existing GMT watches. Just think of the new Chopard GMT One we reported about recently, or the second model of our friend Oak & Oscar. As Fortis explains this watch is a combination of their four lines; the case is coming from their new Cosmonautis collection. The hands are obvious features of their pilot watches from the Aviatis line. The blue on the GMT bezel represents water (Aquatis collection) and the two logos on the dial are the earth (Terrestis watches). A nice idea and execution. Even though the watch could’ve been a bit subtler as far as colors, I find it easy to wear and a perfect fit for the wrist.
As mentioned, the case of the Fortis Dornier GMT is the same as the Fortis Cosmonautis’ 42mm stainless steel with brushed lug tops and polished sides. You have the same screw-down pushers and large polished guarded crown (no screw-down here) with the new Fortis logo. The size is extremely comfortable, the perfect fit for someone with a larger wrist like myself. The bezel is matte black ceramic with blue 24-hour GMT indices.
The display case back lets you admire the rotor of the Valjoux 7754 movement with nothing but Dornier’s logo in the middle. It’s a screw-in case back only containing the reference number (402.35.174) the name of the watch and the water resistance (10bar/100m). The Fortis Dornier GMT has very well balanced case with the right amount of polished and brushed surfaces. It’s not too heavy on the strap or too thick, sticking out under your jacket sleeve.
The dials of the 7754 watches can be a bit cluttered at times. Fortis modified the movement and got rid of the continuous seconds counter. That was a great move. Tranquility and balance characterizes the Fortis Dornier GMT. Tranquility that is based on the matte dark dial with a touch of blue and a bit more of the Super-LumiNova green. Balance delivered by the two sub registers at 12 and 6 while the logos are at 3 and 9 o’clock. The Fortis logo at 3 o’clock is white while the name of the watch “Dornier GMT” underneath is dark blue. This is the same blue you see the Dornier logo on the other side at 9 o’clock and on the chronograph hand as well as the numbers on the ceramic bezel.
Other than 3-6-9-12 all the numbers are visible on the dial; all are Super-LumiNova green. The large flieger hands have the same luminescent cover. The airplane-shaped GMT hand’s tip is white. If the green Super-LumiNova would be white, this would’ve been a perfect dial in my opinion. The triangle at 12 and the flieger hands do not turn the appearance of the watch outdated as some would think. Those vintage elements paired up with the large modern numbers and the ceramic bezel form a great contrast. Easy to see and read the time or use the chronograph function. And speaking of function; have you noticed the date hidden in the 12-hour sub dial at 6 o’clock? Pretty neat.
The Fortis Dornier GMT comes with an exclusive large box with the Dornier logo on top of it. If you open up the box you find the watch on the black performance leather strap. This is Fortis’ great leather strap that feels more of a synthetic material than leather. Trust me, it is not synthetic and comes from the world famous Austrian watch strap maker, Hirsch. It has the matching blue frame stitching. The box also contains two other strap of the same kind but in a different color. Both of them are blue one with white and one with black stitching. This blue, at least to my eyes, however is somewhat lighter than the blue on the watch.
All three straps come on a brushed steel pin buckle. I love the black strap, I really do. I think that fits the Fortis Dornier GMT perfectly. Not too sure if I’d put the blue strap on, and I miss a nato strap to be honest. Under the straps and the watch there are the warranty and manual papers. In-between them you can find a little strap changing tool. So you get the Fortis Dornier GMT, 2 extra straps a strap changing tool in a fine presentation box.
The Fortis Dornier GMT is priced at CHF 4850.- Swiss Francs (roughly €4475,-). For this you will receive a great looking watch with a Valjoux 7754 two-register chronograph, GMT and date, cool screw-down pushers and water resistance to 100m. Whether it’s a good package or not you have to decide. However, if you are looking for something different than your usual suspects, I’d say it’s worth visiting the Fortis dealer and checking this watch out. Keep in mind that even though this is not a limited edition Fortis produces rather small number of watches compared to other large watch houses. Chances are slim that you see many Fortis Dornier GMT in the wild.
For all the latest models from Fortis as well as further information, please visit their site.
Balázs joined Fratello Watches in 2014 and he has been a fan of watches as long as he can remember. His passion for watches really took off in 2007 when he purchased his first fine Swiss timepiece. From 2007 up... read more