High Flyer or History Buff, This Chrono Delivers
Flieger is the German word for pilot, or airman. In English, the word “flieger” is commonly associated with pilot watches; this is, in part, because Germans were among the first to design pilot-centric watches for the civil aviation sector in the 1930s, but also because many of the definitive look-and-feel characteristics of modern pilot watches can be attributed to German manufacture.
The Fortis Flieger Automatic Chronograph is a fine example of a modern airman’s watch. The two-part case is 40 mm in diameter and made from sandblasted stainless steel. The caseback is screw-down and stamped with the Fortis emblem. Scratch-resistant anti-reflective sapphire crystal covers the dial and allows for an ample view of the counters and hands thanks to the narrow bezel. A large knurled crown, stamped with the Fortis crown emblem, makes adjusting the watch effortless; the chronograph pushers are equally stout and straightforward to operate.
In its day, the primary significance of the arrowhead index and flanking dots at 12 o’clock on the dial was to provide upward orientation of the dial during night flight. For pilots, it still does, and for non-pilots, the ubiquitous index appears as an essential design element. The black dial features Arabic numerals and indices coated with Super-LumiNova phosphorescent paint for excellent illumination in the dark. Luminous paint also appears on the sword-shaped hour and minute hands, whose relative thickness width-wise makes it easy to read the time over top of the sub-dials.
Since function is the chief purpose of a pilot watch, the chronograph hands on the Fortis Flieger are all painted orange; this way the elapsed seconds, minutes and hours can be calculated with relative ease. The distinct positioning of the sub-dials suggests that this flieger contains a Valjoux 7750 movement, and indeed it does. The distinctive layout has the 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock, the 30-minute counter at 12 o’clock, and the continuous-seconds counter at 9 o’clock. Two apertures placed side by side at 3 o’clock display the day and date.
To accommodate the three-plate Valjoux 7750 movement, the case is 15 mm thick and water resistant to 330 feet. A complementary padded black leather strap with white stitching draws out the white-on-black contrast of the dial. The prong-style buckle is personalized with the Fortis emblem.
The Fortis Flieger Automatic Chronograph won the inaugural European Watch Award back in 2004. To acquire a Fortis pilot watch, contact an authorized Fortis dealer.
Fortis Mens 597.11.11.L01 Flieger Automatic Chronograph
List Price: $2,825 Country of Origin: Switzerland
- Valjoux 7750 Swiss automatic movement
- Chronograph, day and date functions
- Stainless steel case, diameter 40 mm, thickness 15 mm
- Screw down crown
- Black dial with luminous hands, numbers and markers
- Scratch-resistant anti-reflective sapphire crystal
- Black leather band, prong-style buckle clasp, personalized with the Fortis emblem, width 20 mm
- Water resistant to 330 feet
- 2-year warranty