The FORTIS brand has been intriguing to me for some time. The particular model covered in this review has been a model that I have wanted to acquire for quite some time. I finally had a prime opportunity to do so and I couldn’t be more satisfied or impressed. Before I get into the watch, I just wanted to mention the heritage of the FORTIS name based on the information supplied HERE. The Swiss company was founded in 1912. The company also lays claim to being the world’s first manufacturer of an automatic wristwatch in the year 1926, called the Harwood. The company has existed through the years, apparently without any disruption, producing quality timepieces to this day. One of the biggest accomplishments of the FORTIS brand, beginning in 2004, was becoming the official supplier of wristwatches for the Russian Space program.
So what model has me so satisfied and impressed? Well the watch covered in this review is an older model, which I believe would be considered part of the Maritime collection, the B-42 Diver. Some of the basic specifications of the model are: 316L Stainless Steel Case, 42mm diameter, 20mm lug width, Sapphire Crystal and an ETA 2836-2 Automatic Movement. The model has an manufacturer suggested retail price somewhere between $2300-$2500 USD based on some of the websites I have viewed. Of course, the B-42 can be found on sale for significantly less if you really keep an eye out for a good sale typically ranging from $1100 – $1500 USD.
First, let’s take a look at the packaging. I’m more of a fan of functional packaging but so many companies still use the clam shell style jewelry boxes and in this case, it is no exception. The black case is quite protective of its contents, but beyond protection, not functional and will likely just end up in the closet along with the rest of your watch boxes of a similar style. I really hope the higher end brands, including Fortis, research using more functional packaging such as travel rolls or even a 2 watch zip case. Both of these options are fantastic for people on the go who want to take multiple watches on a trip and keep them protected.
Next, let’s go over the case a bit. The case is composed of 316L stainless steel with a brushed finish throughout which is really well done. The case measuring from the underside has a diameter of 42mm, however, when factoring in the crown and bezel, which stick out slightly over the edge of the case, the diameter measurement jumps up to a quite substantial 47mm. The case has a relatively slim profile at 13mm but combining the other measurements mentioned, as well as, the 53mm lug tip to lug tip measurement, and a weight of right around 200 grams, the B-42 is going to supply more than adequate wrist presence. The owner will know they are wearing this watch and so will others.
The non-crown side of the case is fairly unremarkable, but you will notice the great brushed finishing, as well as, the drilled out lug holes but no screw heads. On the other side of the case you will notice screw heads at the lug holes. I do not plan on ever messing with the lugs and the bracelet on this model as this bracelet is one of my all time favorites and will never leave the watch. I assume the bracelet is attached using a screw and barrel system similar to what we will discuss later in regards to the links. Also, on the opposite side of the case, is an oversized crown positioned at the 3 o’clock position. The crown is signed with the FORTIS logo, but to my surprise, was a push/pull crown rather than screw down. Being a dive watch with 200 meters water resistance, I was truly expecting a screw down crown but after further research it seems even the newer B-42 models also have push/pull crowns. The gasket system utilized must be extremely adequate as I can say I have never heard of a water resistance failure for this model or any of the B-42 dive watches. The crown is very firm and easy to engage with no play or wiggle at either setting position. The first position changes the day and date complications while the most outer setting adjusts the time.
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