Fortis Flieger F-43 Bicompax Chronograph – So familiar and yet fundamentally new

By Montredo in Reviews
August 18, 2020
Fortis Flieger F-43 Bicompax Chronograph – So familiar and yet fundamentally new

Maximum readability, confidently large case, prominent pushers and a grippy crown: The new Fortis F-43 Bicompax Flieger is not only a handy tool for pilots in the cockpit, but also makes for a great eye-catcher on the wrist.

As the first watch to be completely redesigned from scratch since Jupp Philipp took office in 2018, the watch is brimming with surprises – both of technical and visual nature. Say goodbye to vanilla black and white pilot watches and hello to Fortis’ new take on them.

Flying high

It is widely known that Fortis watches are not afraid of heights. As early as the 1960s, the first models were sent to zero gravity conditions on the wrists of US astronauts, before Fortis was appointed official supplier to the Russian ROSCOSMOS cosmonauts in 1994.

But it doesn’t have to be all that high, because Fortis can also look back on many years of expertise in the field of pilot’s watches. First launched in 1987, the brand not only started to develop a new profession, but also created a trend: The color combination of gray stainless steel, green lume and orange accents not only looks great, but also results in ideal readability. A fact that has since convinced many imitators.

A liaison of C5 Flieger Grün and Berlac Flour Orange

Fortis Flieger F-43 Bicompax Chronograph

The surprises mentioned at the beginning are primarily to be found on the dial. This is where Fortis really put its mind to, maximizing the readability and functionality of the watch.

The first glance inevitably wanders to the two orange colored lines, to be found right next to the triangle with two points at 12 o’clock, which is so characteristic for former German Beobachtungsuhren (pilot’s observation watches). This is the SYNCHROLINE, which was developed by Fortis especially for the needs of formation pilots. As the name suggests, the lines are used for the sake synchronization, so that several watches can be set to the same time within this +/-5 seconds range.

The second novelty is the BRIXTRACK, a term that describes the brushed and separately applied minute track including the luminous “brix”. If you look more closely, you can see that the 5-minute indexes are applied, while the fine white minute lines are printed in between. The result is not only a visual depth, but according to Fortis also an improved readability in difficult lighting conditions.

Fortis Flieger F-43 Bicompax Chronograph
The luminous Brix up close.

43mm brushed stainless steel

As a tool-y aviation chronograph, the watch deliberately dispenses with polished surfaces. Inside the completely matt brushed 43mm case, Fortis relies on the specially developed UW-51 calibre inside, an automatic calibre mounted on 27 jewels with a 48-hour power reserve and bi-compax arrangement of the subdials. While the running seconds of the F-43 Bicompax are registered at 9 o’clock, the bright central hand indicates the elapsing seconds of the chronograph. These in turn are translated into the advancing 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock.

Talking of bright: Like all the watch’s important auxiliary functions, the date window at 6 o’clock is framed in Berlac Flour Orange to be immediately noticeable.

Fortis Flieger F-43 Bicompax Chronograph
At home on every wrist thanks to the comfortable strap and the clasp’s quick slide adjustment.

The watch is available either on a metal “block bracelet”, a three-part stainless steel bracelet with quick slide adjustment (Ref. 843.10.11 M), or on a black, German-made leather strap (Ref. 843.10.11 L). In addition, the case is water-resistant to 200m, providing the Fortis F-43 Bicompax with a great deal of everyday usability.

At a glance:

  • Reference: 843.10.11 L (leather), 843.10.11 M (stainless steel)
  • Case diameter: 43 mm
  • Winding: Automatic
  • Caliber: UW-51
  • Power reserve: 48h
  • Strap: leather or steel
  • Lug width: 21 mm
  • Glass: Sapphire
  • Bezel: 12h GMT bezel (24 clicks)
  • Water resistance: 200 m / 600 ft / 20 atm
  • Features: SYNCHROLINE, BRIXTRACK, Bicompax chronograph
  • RRP: 3,300€ (leather), 3,800€ (stainless steel)
Fortis Flieger F-43 Bicompax Chronograph

The beginning of a new era?

If this was the debut of Jupp Philipp, we can’t wait to see what the future holds for Fortis. The F-43 Bicompax Chronograph is a visually very pleasing and technically sophisticated chronograph, featuring clever details that have never been there before (and which are actually useful).

Despite the many new features, the watch is still a Fortis watch par excellence and remains true to itself – true to the motto “evolution not revolution”. Especially with the green and orange colour scheme, also friends of older Fortis watches should have something to get a kick from.

Fortis Flieger F-43 Bicompax at Montredo

As an authorized dealer, you can of course find all Fortis watches directly in our Fortis boutique.

Previous comments (3)

  1. That is one hell of a good looking watch!
    (What’s lug to lug though?)

    August 18, 2020
  2. […] Exactly one month ago, Fortis spectacularly re-launched its Flieger (German for aviator) collection, whose origins date back to 1987. As the first completely redesigned watch collection since Jupp Philipp took office in 2018, expectations were accordingly high, but it’s safe to say that the F-43 Bicompax Chronograph nipped any doubts in the bud. (If you would like to find out what makes this watch so special, you can find our review here.) […]

    September 14, 2020
  3. […] short recap: On August 13 this year, Fortis presented the F-43 Bicompax, followed by the F-39/F-41 Automatic on September 13. Today, on October 13th, Fortis has its grand […]

    October 13, 2020