Frederique Constant Worldtimer Review: A Serious World Time Watch for the Money

Fredrique Constant Worldtimer Review Featured

When it comes to luxury watches, people tend to stick with the usual suspects like Rolex and Omega. However, if you are such a collector, you are missing out on some of the best high-quality luxury watches out there. This is exactly why I have decided to write this Frederique Constant Worldtimer review.

Personally, I really like the Frederique Constant brand because they are quite great at offering high-quality timepieces with in-house movements at fairly reasonable prices. Many luxury brands still demand absurd prices for their watches while using classic ETA movements.

For me, the brand name alone just won’t cut it.

Frederique Constant is a brand close to my heart since they have brought unique watches to the table for reasonable. Is this the case with the Frederique Constant Worldtimer?

Let’s take a closer look!

Frederique Constant Worldtimer Review: At a Glance

As you can see, the Frederique Constant Worldtimer is a true worldtimer, it’s not just a GMT watch with cities ring. Before we get into the nitty-gritty details, let us first take a look at the key specs and features of the watch:

Model:

Frederique Constant Classic Worldtimer Manufacture

Reference no.

FC-718NWM4H6

Movement:

FC-718 Automatic movement. 26 jewels, 28’800 alt/h with Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Date, Worldtimer

Power reserve:

42 hours

Case material:

Stainless steel

Case diameter:

42 mm

Crown:

2-O-Rings crown

Crystal:

Convex Sapphire
Water-resistance: Water-resistant to 5 ATM

Height:

12.1 mm

Dial:

Navy, world map, applied white luminous indexes.

Strap:

Alligator Strap

First Impression

 

Today, we’ll be taking a closer look at the Frederique Constant Classic Worldtimer Manufacture, reference FC-718NWM4H6.

As I held the watch in my hands, my eyes are immediately drawn to the worldtimer dial. I am too fond of dials that are way too busy but it seems Frederique Constant knows how to pull it off well. If you like your information with an in your face approach, this watch might just be for you.

With that said, Frederique Constant did a great job with this stunning dial. It certainly sports a very unique look and it’s how you pull off a dressier traveler’s watch. Despite the sheer complexity of the dial, I can see traditional watchmaking design elements such as the elegant alpha hands and the beautiful sunburst finish.

But surely, this watch would be difficult to use, right? Despite its busy profile, the Frederique Constant Worldtimer features one of the easiest world time complication I’ve used.

The predominant navy blue works rather well with the multi-layered approach of the design. While it does feed you information that you probably don’t need each and every time, pulling out the info that you need becomes a non-issue once you get used to the watch.

Also, I’ve been getting compliments and “where did you buy that” questions while wearing the watch.

The Worldtimer Dial

Fredrique Constant Worldtimer Review Dial

The Worldtimer dial is easily the star of this timepiece.

The dial’s centerpiece is the gray anthracite world map with illuminated applied hour markers. The innermost ring is the bi-color 24-hour ring, the white refers to the traditional day hours and blue for the traditional dark hours.

The outermost ring is the city-ring which can be operated via the crown. The different cities correspond to each major time zones. The city ring is aligned with the 24-hour ring and is used to display the corresponding time.

Fredrique Constant Worldtimer Review Dial_2

Now, this may seem to be confusing but the watch is actually quite simple to use. Basically, you simply have to set the city that represents your home timezone to the 12 o’clock position. This is done by rotating the crown counterclockwise at the first stop. Once the ring is set to your home time in the city ring, you can then look at any other time zone to know the time. The rest of the work is left to the movement.

It’s a really elegant solution without complicating things so much.

As for the actual design of the dial, it is fairly stylish with an upmarket look. While there’s a lot going on in the dial, it’s wonderfully legible including the names of the cities.

If there’s one thing I’m not sure of is the large date sub-dial at 6 o’clock. On one hand, I appreciate that they made the date dial large enough for legibility but it annoyingly obscures five of the twenty time zones and a considerable part of the world map. A simple date window or even an “oversized” date window is a much better solution.

Regardless of the date dial, the Frederique Constant Worldtimer’s dial is a resounding success.

Construction and Wearability

Fredrique Constant Worldtimer Review Bracelet

The Worldtimer is 42 mm in diameter and 12.1 mm in thickness. The three-piece case is made with polished stainless steel and the case back is sapphire. The 42 mm might seem a bit too large for many people but it’s actually the perfect size for this watch.

The complexity of the dial alone warrants a larger diameter, any less would negatively impact the Worldtimer’s legibility. Even with the larger diameter, the Frederique Constant Worldtimer doesn’t feel like a 42 mm watch. This can be attributed to the designer’s decision to include a domed case. As a result, the watch looks and feels smaller than it is.

Comfort is also a non-issue which is a way of saying that it wears comfortably. It never felt too heavy and sits nicely on the wrist. The curve of the lugs is rather smooth unlike in other watches that are sharp. I don’t know about you but I don’t like the feel of lugs poking against my skin.

The Worldtimer comes with a navy alligator strap with off-white stitching. Along with the polished case, the inclusion of the alligator strap adds up to a rather sharp-looking timepiece. Imagine yourself wearing a dressier travel watch as you jaunt from one country to the next.

The watch oozes with traditional elegance but with a contemporary twist as well.

The other brown dial version (ref: FC-718WM4H6B) comes with a light brown leather strap with white stitches.

Timekeeping

You can’t have a Frederique Constant Worldtimer review without talking about its in-house movement. The entire Worldtimer collection is powered by the in-house FC-718 caliber movement. Other watchmakers could have thrown in a standard GMT movement and called it a day.

However, that’s not the case with Frederique Constant’s world time watch.

The FC-718 Manufacture automatic caliber features 26 jewels and a 42-hour power reserve. World times generally need at least one additional pusher for advancing things but not so much here. With the FC-718 movement, everything is done via the crown and that’s a design decision that I can get behind.

Frederique Constant not only made an in-house movement but they also made it in a way that everything can be adjusted via the crown – no additional pushers or buttons here. This makes the watch a breeze to operate despite looking complicated in the surface.

Fredrique Constant Worldtimer Review Movement

The movement is a thing of beauty as well and thanks to the transparent crystal case back, viewing the movement is made possible. The movement is designed to be clean and simple from the ground up. Timekeeping works great and I have yet to encounter any issues.

For this price point, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a timepiece with a stunning in-house movement.

Pricing

Fredrique Constant Worldtimer Review Dial_3

Watch folks are a tough crowd and they will turn up their noses just with the price alone. This is quite a shame since many collectors would probably shy away from Frederique Constant Worldtimer just because of the accessible price.

True enough, the Frederique Constant Worldtimer is offered at a rather unexpected price. With a high-quality, polished design and an in-house movement, many of you are probably asking: “what’s the catch?”

Honestly, there is none!

What we have here is a full-featured World Time watch that delivers in quality and features. There are also some smart design decisions here which make the watch a cinch to use. Even if you are not familiar with using world time models, the Worldtimer is a good model to get you started.

Seriously, one of the most attractive aspects of the watch is its price point. This package offers great value for the dollar.

Should You Get the Frederique Constant Worldtimer?

Fredrique Constant Worldtimer Review Featured

This Frederique Constant Worldtimer review won’t be complete without our final verdict.

So should you bother looking in the direction of the Frederique Constant Worldtimer? Absolutely!

If you are looking for this style of world timer, the Frederique Constant Worldtimer offers a value unlike anything you’ve seen before. While the complex dial makes it seem like a tough piece to use, operating the watch is actually very intuitive. Everything is done via the crown so you don’t have fiddle around with pushers or buttons for setting the watch.

The Frederique Constant Classic Worldtimer Manufacture is highly recommended for buyers who are looking to get into the realm of world time watches. It’s also a great option for jet setters who prefer a classier and dressier watch than the sportier GMTs on the market. Overall, it’s a unique timepiece that offers excellent versatility.

On the other hand, this watch is not for you if you like your dials plain and simple. There’s really a lot going on with the watch and there’s a bit of a learning curve to it. The date dial obscuring many of the dial elements can also be a deal-breaker for many collectors.

The Frederique Constant Classic Worldtimer looks great, inside and out. Plus, it’s versatile and very easy to use with a low entry barrier in terms of price.

Rolex Explorer 2 Review: A True Utilitarian Rolex Timepiece

When you are looking for a watch that you can wear under the toughest conditions, you are probably not looking for a Rolex. However, if you are in the market for one of the toughest luxury watches available, today’s Rolex Explorer 2 review is for you.

After all, it’s a timepiece that’s designed for cave divers and spelunkers. Although not many of you will be using this watch for exploring dark caves, it’s still a watch that’s rich in history.

Among the Rolex collection, the Rolex Explorer II has always been some sort of oddity. It’s not as popular as the Submariner or Datejust but it’s still going strong even after 45 years of production.

With that said, let’s take an in-depth look at the Explorer II ref. 216570 a.k.a. the Polar.

Rolex Explorer 2 Review: At a Glance

The Rolex Explorer II is a relatively quirky offering that added plenty of character to the Swiss luxury brand’s stable. Before we go to a detailed Rolex Explorer II review, let’s first check out its key specs and features.

Model:

Rolex Explorer II

Reference no.

216570

Model case:

Oyster, 42 mm, Oystersteel

Oyster architecture:

Monobloc middle case, screw-down case back and winding crown

Material:

Oystersteel

Bezel:

Fixed, 24-hour graduated

Winding crown:

Screw-down, Twinlock double waterproofness system

Crystal:

Scratch-resistant sapphire, Cyclops lens over the date
Water-resistance: Waterproof to 100 metres / 330 feet

Movement:

Perpetual, mechanical, self-winding

Caliber:

3187, Manufacture Rolex

Precision:

-2/+2 sec/day, after casing

Functions:

Centre hour, minute and seconds hands. 24-hour display. Second time zone with independent rapid-setting of the hour hand. Instantaneous date. Stop-seconds for precise time setting

Oscillator:

Paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring

Winding:

Bidirectional self-winding via Perpetual rotor

Power reserve:

48 hours

Bracelet:

Oyster, flat three-piece links

Clasp:

Folding Oysterlock safety clasp with Easylink 5 mm comfort extension link

Dial:

White, Highly legible Chromalight display with long-lasting blue luminescence

Certification:

Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing)

First Impression

Take note that the 216570 White Dial is the new and improved version of the Rolex Explorer II 16570. There are actually two dial versions of the 216570: white and black (pictured below). While I am a big fan of black dials, I went with the white dial since it somehow looks better than the black version.

My first impression is that the watch maintains most of the essence of classic Rolex timepieces but has been reworked to appeal to contemporary collectors. Perhaps the most obvious change is the 42mm case diameter. In comparison, the original Rolex Explorer 214270 was only 39mm.

It’s one of the largest models in the Rolex catalog.

Purists and traditionalists will surely prefer the smaller 39mm but as an outdoor tool watch, the size increase is more than welcome.

The white maxi dial is another standout with its boldness and superior legibility – perhaps it’s boldest among other Rolex sports watches. The glossy white dial has markers with black surrounds. It is an instantly striking dial with somehow more of the signature Rolex attention to detail.

The construction looks to be on-point and while I’m not too keen on wearing it to explore cave systems, it feels like it would serve me well even if I choose to. It looks and feels like a true tool watch and noticeably less luxurious.

The Polar White Dial

The Polar white dial is a masterclass in contrast. The Chromalight markers and hands sit perfectly against the white background, and the bright orange 24-hour GMT hand adds a perfect contrast to everything that’s going on.

In case you don’t know, the 24-hour hand enables the user to keep the time for two different time zones. In addition, it will also let you know if it’s day or night, very useful when you are down in a cave.

Rolex Explorer 2 Review Chromalight
Rolex Explorer II Chromalight

As mentioned, the Rolex Explorer II features top-notch legibility. After all, it’s a watch designed for very low-light environments or at night. Based on my tests, the proprietary Chromalight coating does a great job of providing long-lasting readability.

Plus, it looks amazing when the blue luminescent coating is activated.

The black surround around the oversized markers and stubby hands is another great detail that completes the overall look of the Explorer II. I have always been a fan of the Cyclops lens so it’s a nice cherry on top as far as the dial goes.

The Rolex Explorer 2 is bigger and bolder which is what you want for a heavy-duty tool watch.

The Robust Case

The Rolex Explorer II was first released back in 1971, and since then it has gone through numerous makeovers over the four decades. It was designed for extreme resistance and this is mainly due to its robust case.

Of course, there’s the 904L stainless steel that makes the case which measures 42mm in diameter and a thickness of 13mm. While I don’t have the largest wrist, the 42mm diameter is more preferable to me than the 39mm of the previous Explorer.

For reference, the Yacht-Master II is 43mm and the Sea-Dweller Deepsea is 44mm.

Just like with the previous generations of Explorer, the watch is fitted with Rolex’s signature twinlock screw-down crown. This adds a fair bit of waterproofness to the watch and should be able to handle a few splashes. Just make sure you don’t wear the Explorer II for diving.

In classic Rolex style, the watch features sapphire crystal on the front and a solid case back on the back. The 24-hour bezel is made with fixed stainless steel with a satin brush finish. However, the bezel is more prone to scratches. I would have loved it more if it instead had ceramic inserts like on the Rolex Submariner.

However, the brushed finish of the bezel does look great.

The Oystersteel Bracelet

The Explorer II uses the signature Oyster bracelet made in 904L steel with three links. Looking closely, you’ll see that the center links of the bracelet lack polish. This is, of course, a conscious design choice for a more “tool-like” look. However, the sides are polished which adds an interesting twist to the bracelet’s aesthetic.

As you might expect, the bracelet’s construction feels very solid and it comes with the Folding Oysterlock safety clasp with Easylink system. This enables the user to extend or shorten the last link by 5mm increments which is useful for achieving a great fit.

While the Glidelock fine-adjustment extension found on watches like the Submariner is the superior system, the Easylink is useful for adjusting the short and long positions. This allows you to easily adjust the bracelet in case of weather changes.

Timekeeping

Rolex Explorer 2 Review 3187 Movement
Explorer II’s 3187 Caliber Movement

Of course, you can’t have a Rolex Explorer 2 review without talking about the movement. With that said, the Explorer 2 is powered by the automatic in-house calibre 3187.

The movement features a paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring with a 48-hour power reserve. For the price, I was expecting a better power reserve than 48 hours. Having to reset the watch after two days of not wearing it does get old pretty quick.

The blue Parachrom hairspring provides the much-needed resistance against magnetic fields. Plus, it adds a good deal of durability to the watch which is crucial for the type of environments the model is designed for. Even with extreme temperature changes, the Explorer II will remain ticking accurately.

The 3187 won’t blow anyone’s mind when it comes to aesthetic but that’s no big deal since you’re getting a robust solid steel caseback anyway.

Like with all Rolex Perpetual movements, the 3187 is a certified Swiss chronometer with -2/+2 sec/day precision performed after casing.

Pricing

The Explorer II 216570 Polar is about on the same price range as the Rolex Submariner. However, if you can get a pre-owned Explorer II, expect to pay a little more than a no-date Submariner and a little less than a date Submariner.

It’s no entry-level watch like the Rolex Air-King but it’s certainly an affordable option if you’re looking to get into the Rolex rabbit hole. Due to its not-so-massive popularity, you won’t find an Explorer II that sells for over the retail price. Basically, you can just walk up to a Rolex shop right now and later come out with the watch on hand.

This isn’t the case for other popular Rolex models like the aforementioned Submariner where the cost is driven up by demand.

As far as resale value goes, this luxury steel watch offers a rock-solid resale value. However, it’s not exactly a fly-off-the-shelves sale when compared to other popular Rolex models.

Should You Get the Rolex Explorer II?

To wrap up this Rolex Explorer 2 review, we put in the verdict if this watch is worth the investment or not.

The Explorer II is a somewhat a forgotten model that’s lost in the sea of Submariners, Day-Dates, and Daytonas. This is quite a shame especially when it’s one of the few unashamedly utilitarian Rolex timepieces.

I love the big and bold display with a throwback design to the vintage Explorer. However, Rolex made some excellent updates that make it more appealing for fans of contemporary timepieces. It looks great, especially with the Polar white dial and offers legibility for days. In terms of comfort, the watch sits comfortably on my wrist so I have no complaints.

It’s also perhaps the toughest and most robust Rolex watch that I’ve owned. More than anything, it’s a tool watch and a great one at that.

The Rolex Explorer II is not the kind of watch that I would recommend for first-time Rolex buyers but it sure is an imposing addition to any luxury watch collection.

Breitling Superocean 44 Special Review

Breitling Superocean 44 Special Review

Breitling is a brand known for some of the best pilot watches in the industry.

However, the Grenchen-based Swiss luxury watchmaker has made a splash with their own line of dive timepieces. Breitling’s dive watch lineup is called Superocean which is basically a collection of professional-grade divers’ timepieces which was first introduced in 1957.

Today, we’re going to take an in-depth look at the Breitling Superocean 44 Special which is touted to have extreme water resistance and more.

Is this Swiss luxury dive watch worth looking into? Let’s find out.

Breitling Superocean 44 Special Review: At a Glance

The Superocean 44 Special is the second Breitling model that features a ceramic bezel. Before we proceed with the Breitling Superocean 44 Special review, let’s first check out the watch’s key specs and features:

Model:

Breitling Superocean 44 Special

Movement:

Breitling 17 Caliber, Self-winding mechanical, 25 jewels

Crystal:

Cambered sapphire, glareproofed both sides

Vibration:

28,800 v.p.h

Calendar:

Dial aperture

Case material

Steel/ceramic, black steel/ceramic

Bezel:

Unidirectional, ratcheted

Crown:

Screw-locked, two gaskets
Case diameter: 44 mm

Thickness:

14.20 mm

Weight (without strap):

116.10 g

Dials:

Volcano black, Mariner blue

Water resistance:

1,000 m (3,300 ft)

Power reserve:

38 hours

Lug:

22/20 mm

Bracelet material:

Rubber, steel

First Impression

The Breitling Superocean 44 Special collection is available in two different models, the “Mariner” blue and “Volcano” black ceramic bezel. I’ve had the pleasure of using both and I really can’t decide which colorway is my favorite.

Breitling refers to the Superocean 44 Special as its new “ocean pilot.” I assume this is because the brand is looking to combine the durability of a dive watch with the legibility of an aviation timepiece.

I’ve been comparing the 44 Special with the Superocean and Superocean II series and there are some clear differences. Breitling did a great job marrying their classic aviation aesthetic with traditional diving watch elements. If you are familiar with Breitling’s Avenger series, you’ll that it shares the same design DNA as Superocean 44 Special.

Like its namesake, the watch is housed on a 44mm steel case with a beautiful satin finish top and polished sides and crown. The case is secured with a twin-gasket screw-locked crown which provides the watch with incredible water resistance (more on that later).

At 44mm, this is certainly not a small watch. In fact, it’s a fairly bulky sports watch but far from being too heavy. It has a great weighty feel to it which is expected from such a heavy-duty watch.

The ceramic bezel completes the overall look of the timepiece as a sporty dive watch.

Let’s Talk About That Bezel

Breitling Superocean 44 Special Bezel

I can’t write this Breitling Superocean 44 Special review without highlighting its bezel.

As mentioned, the watch features a ceramic bezel which is crafted from a single block. In comparison, other manufacturers use a ceramic insert within the bezel. I find it interesting that Breitling used a single block ceramic construction which is certainly a nod to the company’s luxury brand origins.

For the uninitiated, ceramic is a good component for bezels since it’s more resistant to scratches. However, ceramic is also quite brittle which means that I won’t be wearing the watch when out camping or playing sports.

Aesthetically, the ceramic bezel gives off a rich, glossy sheen that’s more evident whenever light strikes the bezel. The polished ceramic bezel harmonizes with the rest of the dial due to its high-contrast theme.

The unidirectional bezel is designed to be easy to grip and operate which is handy for divers who are wearing gloves. However, the bezel can be a bit stiff to turn. The ratcheting action feels great and tactile which can’t be said with most dive watches I’ve worn as of late.

The Dial, is It a Hit or Miss?

Perhaps the most controversial design element of the Breitling Superocean 44 Special is the dial. When it was released, the Superocean Special received mixed reactions from enthusiasts. Many people online were not thrilled with Breitling’s decision to marry the pilot and dive genres.

However, nothing has drawn more flak than the dial. As you can see, the Arabic numerals on the 24-hour ring (at 3 o’clock) are obscured by the date window. To be quite honest, this particular design “flaw” was not obvious to me until it was pointed out by people online.

Personally, this didn’t bother me a bit. I think this type of imperfection adds a great deal of personality to the watch. Needless to say, I love it since it gives me the impression that actual humans made this watch and not just a machine.

Looking past the so-called gaffe, the dial looks beautiful with its bold and large luminescent hour markers. It’s topped off with a triangle marker at 12 o’clock. Legibility is not an issue here and it’s further enhanced by the extra-large hour and minute hands. I’m not a diver myself but anyone who’s underwater will have no trouble reading the watch at a glance.

The beautiful dial is protected by a curved sapphire crystal with an anti-glare treatment.

Water Resistance and Timekeeping

Breitling included enough bells and whistles to make the Superocean 44 Special an authentic professional diving watch. With a water resistance of a depth of 1,000 m (3,300 ft), it’s certainly one of the most hardworking dive watches I’ve used. In terms of waterproof level, there’s a lot to love here even if you’re a professional diver.

B17 Movement

The Superocean 44 is powered by the automatic Breitling Caliber 17 – it’s one of the few calibers that still utilizes a base with outsourced movement. With that said, it’s really hard to go wrong with the tested and proven ETA 2824-2.

As you might expect from a luxury Swiss watch, the caliber is COSC-certified as a chronometer. The power reserve is at 38 hours, a high frequency of 28,800 vph, and 25 jewels. Precision and reliability are on-point.

Wearing the Superocean 44

Overall, I’ve had a delightful time wearing the Superocean 44.

While it’s a 44mm model, for some reason the watch didn’t wear too large. The dark color theme has played a hand in minimizing the overall volume of the watch, visually speaking. The addition of the bright markers really helps in pulling away your eyes from the size of the watch.

As expected, the Superocean 44 nailed the legibility aspect and it can compete with some of the best pilot watches when it comes to ease of reading.

Breitling Ocean Racer Strap

The Volcano version comes with Breitling’s Ocean Racer or Diver Pro strap. On the other hand, the Mariner model comes with the traditional rugged steel bracelet. Mine came with the Ocean Racer strap and to be honest, it might be one of the most favorite strap designs ever.

Basically, the Ocean Racer is like the lovechild of classic rubber dive strap and a racing-inspired strap. The addition of holes is a nice touch as it adds ruggedness to the overall look. However, I must say that the Superocean 44 looks more like a military watch that’s more at home in an aircraft carrier than in thousands of feet under the sea.

Pricing

The Ocean Racer II strap and Driver Pro III models are offered in the same price. The Steel Mariner Blue model is more expensive by about $500. The most expensive variation is the Black steel – Volcano Black which features the Diver Pro III strap with a pushbutton folding clasp.

Although the Superocean 44 is a new addition to the Superocean line, it’s very much similar with the previous models from this selection. For instance, the Superocean 44 looks to be just the updated of the previous Superocean II 44 model.

For a luxury dive watch, I think that it’s a bit too expensive. However, it’s a fairly versatile high-end sports watch and a great utility for diving. It’s also in the same price range as the previous models, so the pricing was rather expected.

So is it a good upgrade if you already have the previous Superocean models? In my opinion, there’s not much going on to warrant an upgrade. Don’t get me wrong, the Superocean 44 Special hits all the right notes for a good dive watch. However, it didn’t really do anything special to vault itself higher than the previous models.

Should You Get the Breitling Superocean 44 Special?

The Breitling Superocean 44 Special is a dive watch that I had the pleasure of wearing. It sneakily found itself in my daily sports watch rotation. Breitling succeeded in making a timepiece that combines their signature aviation DNA with dive watch design elements.

The result is a gorgeous dive watch that’s altogether modern and masculine. Legibility is also off the charts, thanks to some thoughtful design decisions by the manufacturer.

However, this won’t be a Breitling Superocean 44 Special review without its problems. Perhaps the biggest drawback of the watch is the price. I know that it’s a Swiss watch and it’s a luxury brand but I think that the price is a little bit inflated.

There’s also the issue with the dial’s design flaw.

For the obsessive-compulsive collector, the clipped Arabic numerals is a deal breaker. The use of the single block ceramic is an interesting choice but it’s also a point of contention for the enthusiasts. Personally, I love the use of ceramic in this watch but I’m bummed that I can’t wear it for rougher activities. This is a watch that you can’t afford to drop or knock.

If you’re in the market for a fairly distinguished dive watch or you’re a big fan of the Superocean series, the Breitling Superocean 44 Special is worth the look.

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.