Fortis Watch Review: Fortis Aviatis Pilot Classic Chronograph

Fortis Pilot Classic Chronograph

When it comes to Swiss watches, Fortis is a brand that’s not likely on everyone’s radar. Founded in 1912, Fortis is a Swiss watch manufacturer that’s been around for a while but it’s a brand that’s nowhere as popular as Rolex and Omega.

However, that doesn’t mean that Fortis watches don’t deserve the attention. Fortis earlier collections have really made a mark in the market, most notably the Fortis Cosmonaut and B42 lines.

For today’s Fortis watch review, we’ll take an in-depth look at the Fortis Aviatis Pilot Classic Chronograph. Does this Fortis watch have done enough to separate itself from the competition? Let’s find out.

Fortis Watch Review: Aviatis at a Glance

The best pilot watch is about having bold, easy-to-read displays and high-quality construction. From the looks of it, Fortis is on the right track with the Fortis Aviatis Pilot Classic Chronograph.

Before we get into the meat of this Fortis watch review, let’s first check out the key specs and features of the Aviatis Pilot Classic.

Model:

Fortis Aviatis Pilot Classic Chronograph

Movement:

Swiss automatic movement ETA 2892 with Dubois Depraz 2020 module, 47 jewels

Glass material:

Sapphire Crystal

Case material

Stainless steel bicolor brushed and polished with mineral glass caseback

Case diameter:

41 mm

Water resistance:

5 ATM/BAR

Dial:

White numerals and indices coated with Superluminova, green afterglow

Hands:

Hour and minute hand coated with Superluminova, green afterglow, Blue small second hand

Power reserve:

42 hours

Function:

Chronograph, hour, minute, small second, 12-h and 30-min-counter

Fortis Aviatis Pilot Classic Chronograph Review

First Impression

Fortis Pilot Classic Chronograph

The Aviatis Pilot Classic Chronograph is part of the Pilot Classic collection of 40mm and 41mm models. If you have been keeping tabs with Fortis, you’ll be quite familiar with the Pilot Classic Date. Just last year, Fortis released the Cockpit Classic Second which features a design based on the earlier models of Fortis.

Anyway, the Aviatis Pilot Classic Chronograph has a design that simple but effective, just the way I like it when it comes to pilot watches. It comes with a thin case that gives off an impression of elegance. The watch really you that feeling that it’s small in looks but big in stature.

At first glance, the dial looks a bit quite busy but with further inspection, I realize that it offers a thoughtful design. Like the best pilot watches in the market, the dial features large luminous numbers that are easy to read.

The 41mm case with a 13.59mm thickness is just right and comes with both polished and brushed sections. While this may scream uncomfortable to many people, the watch actually sits comfortably on the wrist. However, the watch may feel too big for a user with a smaller wrist.

The overall design of the Aviatis Pilot Classic Chronograph is unmistakably vintage which I am very fond of.

Screw-Back Design

Fortis Watch Review Back

I am always thrilled to see the screw-back of watches as it does a good job of telling a story. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case with Aviatis Pilot Classic’s screw-back.

Most notably, the display back is not pressed in or screwed in. Instead, it’s just one solid steel and held together with 8 screws that are attached to the back of the watch. If you are expecting to learn much information about the watch, you’ll probably end up disappointed.

At the back, there’s really not much going on back there. You’ll find the usual information like the reference, model name, serial numbers, and water resistance. It does have a see-through window that allows you to check out the ETA/Dubois-Depraz chronograph movement. For what it’s worth, I must say that the movement is well-designed.

The crown and pushers are very well-polished and certainly completes the look of the back. The rotor displays the Fortis name and logo in blue.

Overall, nothing too flashy back here but it gets the job done.

Dial Hands

Fortis Pilot Classic Chronograph Face

Considering that the Aviatis Classic is a chronograph, it’s fair to expect that the dial will be quite busy. However, Fortis did a good job when it comes to the placement of the dial elements.

The standout elements are definitely the large luminous numerals and the vintage-style Flieger hands. All the numerals are visible except for the 12, 3, 6, and 9. Instead, the 4 numerals are replaced with Flieger triangles, the largest of which on the 12 o’clock. Not sure if I’m a fan of this design decision but it does allow Fortis to include the subdials without cramping the space.

Another thing that you’ll notice is that the seconds dial has blue hands which is an inspired design choice. The rest of the hands of the chronograph are all in white. At the 12 o’clock portion, you’ll see the “Fortis Chronograph Automatic” underneath the largest Flieger triangle.

The overall design of the dial is quite similar to the case. It features a compelling balance of the vintage and modern. I was looking for some sort of depth within the dial but unfortunately, I failed. Perhaps the addition of stepped or recessed sub dials would have done the trick. As it is, it looks a bit too flat for my taste.

Timekeeping Features and Movement

I’ve been doing my homework about this Fortis watch review and found out that their chronographs usually utilize the iconic ETA-7750 caliber which made me initially excited.

Unfortunately, it’s not applicable with the Fortis Aviatis Pilot Classic Chronograph. Instead, Fortis used the Swiss automatic movement ETA 2892 with Dubois Depraz 2020 module. For the uninitiated, this movement features the ETA base 2892 which is a time only caliber.

The Swiss made, automatic chronograph movement is listed as a 47 jewel and it’s mainly due to the movement of the module. The movement comes with hacking seconds and a respectable 43 hours of power reserve.

Fortis’ decision to place the module on top of the caliber makes for a rather dense movement. This explains why the thickness of the case is almost 14mm which might be too thick for some people.

Nevertheless, I’ve experienced little to no problems while wearing the Aviatis Classic. Operating the pushers is a breeze although the bottom pusher seems to be tougher.

Straps

Fortis Pilot Classic Chronograph Strap

One of the best things about the Fortis Aviatis Pilot Classic Chronograph is that it comes in three different types of straps. The watch can be worn with a black leather strap for dressier functions, and a NATO or performance leather for more rugged purposes.

The black leather strap is about what you can expect from a standard leather strap. It’s a soft and plain leather strap with a good amount of padding. In terms of comfort, there’s nothing to complain about the black leather strap as I’ve experienced no significant comfort issues.

Between the three straps, by far my favorite is the black performance leather strap. It feels more like a synthetic material than leather. However, we’re happy to report that it’s indeed leather and it’s actually made by Hirsch, a world-renowned Austrian strap maker.

The strap has matching white stitching that gives it a high-quality look. The performance strap is also water resistant and I can see myself wearing it for outdoor activities. The NATO strap looks like your standard NATO but I’ve not worn it yet.

All the three straps are fitted with a brushed steel pin buckle. When it comes to straps and such, I’m a firm advocate of less is more which is what exactly Fortis has done here.

Comfort and Fit

Fortis Watch Review On Wrist

The Fortis Aviatis Pilot Classic Chronograph sits comfortably on my wrist. Despite the size and thickness of the case, the watch surprisingly doesn’t feel that weighty. Using both the black and performance leather straps, it never felt that the watch has weighed me down.

There are times that I would feel the crown but it’s never a big deal at all. Despite the fairly sizable pushers, they’re never in the way at all. The thickness does make the watch more prone to kicks and bangs.

Fortis did a tremendous job of making a large-dialed watch for legibility while keeping the dimensions to acceptably comfortable dimensions.

Pricing

As far as luxury Swiss watches go, Fortis is a brand that offers quality timepieces for a lesser price. With the Fortis Aviatis Pilot Classic Chronograph, Fortis is offering a lot of watch for your money.

If you are looking to have your mind blown away with top-of-the-line craftsmanship and sophisticated timekeeping features, this watch is not for you. However, for a price that won’t break the bank, the Aviatis Pilot Classic is a solid option in terms of construction, reliability, and features.

It’s a very basic watch that meets the primary requirements for a good aviation timepiece.

Should You Get the Fortis Aviatis Pilot Classic Chronograph?

This wraps up our Fortis watch review. So, should you buy the Fortis Aviatis Pilot Classic Chronograph? If you are looking for a good quality aviation Swiss watch with no frills, it’s hard not to recommend the Aviatis Classic. After all, it’s a well-balanced package offered at a competitive price.

With a number of strap options, it’s a fairly versatile watch that can be worn on many occasions. The black leather strap can be worn with a suit while the NATO or performance straps can be used for sportier activities. Despite its versatility, it never loses its identity as a pilot watch.

This is a good watch the gets you sold to the Fortis brand.

Best Pilot Watch: Superior Watches for Your Aviation Needs

Best Pilot Watch

More than a century ago, Brazilian pilot Alberto Santos-Dumont, known for his significant contribution to aircraft design, worked with Louis Cartier to design a watch specifically for aviation purposes.

The watch features an easy-to-read design with large dial, bold numbers, and a clean design. This marks the debut of the very first pilot watch.

Ever since, pilot watches have evolved and are known for their refined, sleek, and stylish aesthetic. However, the best pilot watch won’t just complete the snazziest of outfits, it’s still tough and feature-rich, making it practical for aviation.

If you are looking to add an aviation watch to your daily accessories or formal wear, be sure to check out our list of the best pilot watch.

Best Pilot Watch

Key Features

Our Rating

Breitling Chronospace Evo Night Mission

Scratch resistant sapphire crystal glareproofed, Matte black titanium case, Unidirectional rotating bezel, superquartz chronometer movement, Black Diver Pro III rubber strap, Fast Time Zone Adjustment System

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

AVI-8 AV-4011 Hawker Hurricane

Stainless Steel With Tachymeter Bezel, Japanese quartz movement, Water resistant to 50m, 42mm Case Diameter

★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Citizen JY0010-50E Eco-Drive Skyhawk A-T

Titanium band, 99-minute countdown timer, Rotating slide-rule bezel, Perpetual calendar, Mineral dial window, Atomic Timekeeping

★ ★ ★ ★

Hamilton ‘Khaki Aviation’ Swiss Automatic

Luminous hands, 42 mm stainless steel case, Anti-reflective sapphire dial window, Swiss automatic movement, Water resistant to 100 m

★ ★ ★ ★

Garmin D2 Pilot Watch

Direct-to and Nearest buttons, Altimeter with adjustable baro setting and compass, Displays multiple time zones, Inflight task reminders, High-sensitivity WAAS GPS receiver

★ ★ ★ ★

IWC Pilot’s Top Gun Automatic Chronograph

Black ceramic case, Black fabric bracelet, Black dial with luminous hands, 68-hour power reserve

★ ★ ★ ★

Best Pilot Watch

1. Breitling Chronospace Evo Night Mission

Breitling has a strong and proud history of aviation. The Breitling Chronospace Evo Night Mission is another fine addition to Breitling’s brilliant aviation line. If you want the best pilot watch and budget is not an issue, this is THE watch for you.

Truly Masculine and Eye-Catching

One of the best details that I love about the Evo Night Mission is the superb combination of black and blue on the dial. This gives the watch a striking masculine look that’s perfect even for the dressiest of outfits. It truly looks the part as an instrument for professionals.

In terms of toughness, the watch features a sapphire crystal glass, a screw-locked crown, and a unidirectional bezel. The watch’s size is just right with the comfortable 43mm and it’s complemented with SuperQuartz movement that features a split-seconds function and an extra central hand for measuring intermediate times.

Another noteworthy timekeeping feature of the Evo Night Mission is the fast time zone adjustment system which ensures reliable precision of both the minutes and seconds display. Like all of Breitling’s movements, the movement is certified by the Swiss testing agency COSC.

Expect nothing less than stellar performance from this high-end pilot watch.

2. AVI-8 AV-4011 Hawker Hurricane

AVI-8 is a brand that has always piqued my interest. With the AVI-8 AV-4011 Hawker Hurricane, I sure have a positive first impression of the brand. The AV-4011 Hawker Hurricane is a solid watch for those who are in the market for a budget aviation timepiece.

Excellent Pilot Watch at an Inexpensive Price Point

The AVI-8 AV-4011 Hawker Hurricane is a terrific aviation watch for those who are in a budget. The watch boasts a bold, clean design, good durability, and at a price that won’t break the bank.

The watch’s design breaks away from the usual aviation watch but instead goes for all-out on the fighter plane aesthetic. Looking at the watch feels like you’re inside a fighter plane’s cockpit. While the face looks quite busy, the design is actually well thought out.

The strap looks and feels great. I’ve opted for the black/brown strap and it feels soft and comfortable to wear. However, the strap is a bit on the thicker side which might be a problem for folks who prefer a thinner and more discrete strap.

The watch features a Japanese quartz chronograph movement. It was not specified which specific movement is used but I did some digging around and found that it might be a Miyota or TMI.

The build quality is better than what you can expect from a budget model. Overall, the AVI-8 AV-4011 Hawker Hurricane is a hit.

3. Citizen JY0010-50E Eco-Drive Skyhawk A-T

We’ve mentioned that the best pilot watch features a bold but simple design. The Citizen JY0010-50E Eco-Drive Skyhawk A-T watch goes against the grain by offering an intricate design and perfect accuracy.

Feature-Rich and Superior Accuracy

The Eco-Drive technology is definitely one of the main draws of the JY0010-50E Eco-Drive Skyhawk A-T. This solar charging technology is a patented feature by Citizen and it has only improved over time. You can pretty much forget about replacing the batteries.

The watch also features atomic timekeeping which means that you only need to configure the watch once and never have to worry about accuracy. The HF Radio time sync seems to be working as advertised. However, it can be a little tricky when you want to sync the watch from a room. TIP: the watch syncs better at night, so leave it by the window and the watch should be synced in the morning.

The watch comes in a titanium case which provides the much-needed toughness. The materials used really does give the impression that you are handling a high-quality product. However, I wished they used sapphire instead of mineral crystal for face protection. I imagine this was done to keep the price down. The overcrowded dial might also not be for everyone.

All in all, the Citizen JY0010 Skyhawk is a great tool for aviators and comes at a great price.

4. Hamilton ‘Khaki Aviation’ Swiss Automatic

Hamilton is known for its designs that are safe and borderline classic. With that said, the Hamilton Khaki Aviation Swiss Automatic is a good example of Hamilton’s design philosophy, and it’s the best pilot watch that you can get.

Classic, Yet Not Dated

The Khaki Aviation is a sleek aviation-style watch that boasts a classic design but it’s somehow nowhere near dated. The watch features a gorgeous face with impressive attention to detail. The numerals are bold and crisply printed. The oversized lumed dials and indices really do wrap up the bold look of the watch.

It’s just a clean and uncomplicated design that pops.

The case is entirely brushed which can throw some people off. Many watch manufacturers polish some areas of the watch to give it more depth and contrast. With that said, the brushing quality is good along with the signed crown.

Even at 42mm, the watch wears large. One of my main complaints about the watch is the bracelet which can get a little unwieldy. The clasp has three micro adjustments and the bracelet itself has half-links. You can easily get a comfortable fit using the watch’s adjustment system but the bracelet tends to rattle with lateral movements.

Overall, this is a very attractive Swiss watch with a classic aviation style.

5. Garmin D2 Pilot Watch

Garmin does more than just car GPS devices and outdoor watches. The Garmin D2 Pilot Watch makes perfect sense for the functionally-minded aviator.

High in the Sky Features

The Garmin D2 is the best pilot watch to consider if you’re looking for smart features. Garmin is known for their feature-rich devices and the Garmin D2 Pilot Watch is no exception.

For starters, it comes with the adjustable altimeter and barometer. As you might expect, the watch also features a compass, making the D2 a legitimate ABC watch. On top of that, the D2 is equipped with a high-sensitivity WAAS GPS receiver. Seriously, it’s one of the better GPS watches I’ve used.

The D2 also can connect to a worldwide airport database, time zones, and Zulu references. The altitude and flight plans work as advertised and both very accurate as well.

Other bells and whistles include the ability to set inflight task reminders with vibrating alerts and profiles for many different activities. That’s right, the D2 works as an activity tracker as well. It doesn’t hurt that it looks great as well.

For the money, you’ll be hard-pressed to find an aviation GPS watch with as many features as the D2.

6. IWC Pilot’s Top Gun Automatic Chronograph

Last but not least, we wrap up this list of the best pilot watch with a premium pick. The IWC Pilot’s Top Gun Automatic Chronograph will have the hearts of watch connoisseurs racing.

Top Gun Inspired

As you might have guessed, the IWC Pilot’s Top Gun Automatic Chronograph is inspired by the movie Top Gun. It’s easy to see with the watch’s stealthy, dark aesthetic that resembles a fighter jet.

However, it’s more than just a homage to the cult-classic aviation movie.

IWC is known for its premium quality timepieces, and this watch is no exception. If you are familiar with IWC’s pilot watches, you’ll see some similarities with the Top Gun. In general, I’m not big into black cases but I’d be happy to make an exception for this model, especially when it comes in a ceramic case. Ceramic cases have a certain allure to them that just can’t be matched with any other coating.

Looking at the dial, the watch features a straightforward aesthetic which is how many people like it. It’s just simple, clean, and very legible. However, no one can argue that this elegant beast is a thing of beauty.

It’s a premium masterpiece that warrants the price.

Conquer the Air

That wraps up our list of the best pilot watch that you can buy. Hopefully, this guide has helped you buy the right timepiece for your aviation needs.