A Match Made in Flight: The Fortis B-42 and the Valjoux 7750
Before pilots had chronographs integrated into their wristwatches, they typically carried separate stopwatches for use in navigation. When the time-only wristwatch was eventually combined with a chronograph, pilots were able to satisfy both functions with one device.
Fortis fuses these two primary functions in its Fortis B-42 Pilot Professional Chronograph from the company’s aviation collections, and what better movement to salute this match made in flight than the famed Valjoux 7750, the veritable workhorse of mechanical chronographs, which like the pilot watch, is renowned for its function-over-form simplicity.
The Valjoux 7750 was introduced in 1974 and features prominently in contemporary chronographs. It differs from the traditional column-wheel chronograph in that it uses a different mechanism to control the switching functions, which include starting, stopping and resetting. The significant advantage of the 7750’s design is in efficiency, both in terms of ease of assembly and ease of maintenance.
Fortis customizes the winding rotor of this Valjoux 7750 with blue engravings including the Fortis logo; the words Since 1912 Swiss commemorate the company’s founding year, while World’s First Manufacturer of Automatic Wristwatches commemorates one of the company’s finest achievements. All of this can be viewed through the watch’s exhibition caseback.
To accommodate the movement’s three-plate construction (main plate, calendar plate and chronograph plate), the two-part stainless steel case is 42 mm in diameter by 16 mm thick. The sapphire crystal has an anti-reflective coating on both sides and the caseback is screw-down. The oversized, screw-down crown adds to the watch’s overall water resistance of 660 feet.
The distinctive chronograph counter layout of the Valjoux 7750 has the 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock, the 30-minute counter at 12, and the continuous-seconds counter at 9. The chronograph hands, meanwhile, are painted orange so that elapsed seconds, minutes and hours can be calculated with relative ease.
White numbers and indices provide excellent contrast against the matte, black dial. Plenty of Super-LumiNova coats the numerals, hour markers and hands. In addition to the traditional arrowhead index and flanking dots at 12 o’clock, two other arrows appear on either side of the day and date windows – one facing down and one facing up – to indicate which direction the wearer should turn the crown to make quick adjustments. The flange has a tachymeter scale for measuring speed in conjunction with the chronograph.
This Fortis B-42 Pilot Professional Chronograph features a padded cognac-brown leather strap with white stitching that brings the black, orange and white dial elements to the fore. The strap is fitted to the case and the prong-style buckle is personalized with the Fortis crown.
Fortis Mens 635.10.11 L.08 B-42 Pilot Professional Black Dial Chronograph Aviator Watch
List Price: $3,425
- Swiss automatic Valjoux 7750 movement
- Chronograph, day and date features
- Stainless steel case, diameter 42mm, thickness 16mm
- Screw down crown
- Black dial
- Scratch resistant anti-reflective sapphire crystal
- Brown leather band, width 19mm, buckle clasp
- Water resistant to 660 feet
- 2-year manufacturer’s warranty