Exclusive Introduction: The Fratello × Fortis Flieger F-43 Bicompax Umber Brown Capsule Edition
Yes, pilots need sturdy instruments on their wrists that are easy to read, even in the most difficult circumstances. But that doesn’t mean that their watches should be just functional. A watch that performs flawlessly in the cockpit should also shine elsewhere. That includes places where looks matter and style is appreciated. With that in mind, we started working on a pilot’s chronograph that would effortlessly combine functionality with style. The result is the Fratello × Fortis Flieger F-43 Bicompax Umber Brown Capsule Edition, an everyday pilot’s watch that is both incredibly instrumental and phenomenally handsome. This is the first watch in the Fortis × Fratello Capsule Collection. This watch — as well as the others to come — will be exclusively for sale in the Fratello Shop. The first model will be available starting October 25th at 4:00 PM CEST.
This watch is as good-looking as the guy who starred in that famous movie about young guys flying F-14 Tomcats and who played volleyball on a beach. If only I could remember the name of that movie… Never mind. The Fratello × Fortis Flieger F-43 Bicompax Umber Brown Capsule Edition (F4240010) is a seriously attractive creation that’s also a very capable performer. The build quality of the robust case is on point, and so is the spec list. Also, when you get to the bottom of that list, you will find a price that might positively surprise you. The first Fratello × Fortis Flieger watch to take off has a price of €2,980 before taxes.
Fortis Flieger F-43 Bicompax Umber Brown: Sophisticated hardware from the Fratello × Fortis Capsule Edition
When talks between Fortis and Fratello began, it soon became clear that both parties didn’t want to create “just” a limited-edition watch. Instead, the partnership should have a more permanent character. So it was decided to create the Fratello × Fortis Capsule Collection, special timepieces with a distinct design. Because we didn’t want to limit the uniquely designed collection itself, we limited the spot where the collection is available for sale. That’s why the first result of this partnership, the Fortis × Fratello Flieger F-43 Bicompax Umber Brown Capsule Edition, is only available in the Fratello Shop.
First, let’s talk specs
The Fratello × Fortis Flieger F-43 Bicompax Umber Brown Capsule Edition has a 43mm brushed and recycled stainless steel case. It measures 15mm thick and 55mm long with a 21mm lug spacing. The watch also features a sapphire crystal with an antireflective coating on both sides and a bidirectional 12-hour coin-edge bezel with 24 clicks. That’s a very neat, functional touch because it means you can use the watch to track another time zone. The case back is also in recycled stainless steel with so-called “Ultra-Engraving” and the distinct Fratello “f” logo in the center. This is a Fratello × Fortis Flieger, after all.
This special Fratello × Fortis Flieger comes on a hybrid strap made of black FKM with brown textile on top. Now, FKM is a family of fluorocarbon-based fluor elastomer materials defined by ASTM International standard D1418 and ISO standard 1629. This hybrid piece has the looks of a tough textile strap, but it wears just like a soft and comfortable rubber strap. It’s a win-win.
The tactile textile on top of the strap contributes to a luxury feel without taking anything away from the tool-watch vibes. And by the way, a sturdy, stainless steel Block Bracelet with a quick-adjustable Slide Clasp will be available separately.
The insides of the first Fratello × Fortis Flieger
Inside the 200m-water-resistant case beats a workhorse movement. It’s the caliber UW-51, which is an automatic Sellita SW510 caliber using a proven Valjoux architecture. We’re not taking any risk of potential “engine failure” by using this movement in a watch meant to withstand tough circumstances. The 4Hz caliber has a power reserve of 48 hours and uses a special unidirectional rotor to wind the mainspring. There’s also a Glucydur balance wheel to achieve great precision. The movement is operated by a screw-down crown with a triple-gasket system and circular chronograph pushers with an anti-slip pattern.
Not just any shade of brown; no, it’s umber brown
You’ll get some more functional information about the dial, but first, please take a look at the color we decided on for the Fratello × Fortis Flieger F-43 Bicompax Umber Brown Capsule Edition. Yes, it’s brown, but it’s not just any shade of brown. The first-ever brown Fortis Flieger has an umber dial. Umber is a dark shade of brown that’s part of the prehistoric palette of earth pigments. In its natural state, umber was mixed with primitive binders and used as paint to depict, for example, animals on cave walls. Umber might also remind you of chestnuts. It’s a very warm, natural, and luscious color that we’re very happy with. Take a closer look at the dial’s vertically brushed finish. Due to the umber hue, it almost mimics natural wood.
The decorative brown is balanced by the use of functional colors. These include black for the sub-dials and minute track as well as Fortis’s signature orange color for specific details. That’s not just any orange, by the way. Fortis uses a special shade of fluor orange developed by the Swiss firm Berlac. Apart from the hours and minutes, the Flieger F-43 Bicompax also displays running seconds at 9 o’clock and a 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock. The fluor-orange chronograph seconds hand takes pride of place in the center. And there are more orange elements. There’s the “Bicompax” name in orange, and both the date window and minute register have an orange border. What you don’t see is that the number “13” of the quick-set date wheel is orange too. That’s because Fortis’s ambitious owner Jupp Philipp signed the papers to buy the brand on the 13th.
The three-dimensional five-minute/hour markers and the distinct triangle on the raised black minute track are details that are most definitely both subtle and spectacular. And so are the large, lume-filled sword hands in brushed steel. This functional visual spectacle guarantees great readability. And so does the fluor “Synchroline” at between 11 and 1 o’clock. The line is intended to make it simpler for the pilots in a squadron to synchronize their watches mid-flight. You might never actually need to do that. But the bright line of color does perfectly complement the black and brown on the dial. As I wrote before, the first watch in the Fratello × Fortis Capsule Collection strikes the perfect balance between specs and looks.
Take off is next week
From October 25th at 4:00 PM CEST, we will have 25 pieces of the Fratello × Fortis Flieger F-43 Bicompax Umber Brown Capsule Edition available for purchase immediately. Twenty-five more pieces will be assembled within 1–2 weeks. Further batches of 50 watches will take around six months to build and ship. Given the qualities of the umber-brown Fratello × Fortis Flieger, it’s completely understandable if you want one of the first 25 watches. But you should also keep in mind that the watch is not a limited edition. The Fortis × Fratello Flieger F-43 Bicompax Umber Brown Capsule Edition will be available indefinitely in the Fratello Shop. Once again, the price will be €2,980 excluding local taxes.
What do you think of our first offering in the Fratello × Fortis Capsule Collection? We’d love to read your thoughts in the comments below.