In recent months, Flieger watches have undoubtedly been in the spotlight at Fortis. With a completely redesigned collection of aviation watches, which we took a closer look at in our video review, the Grenchen-based brand did not only cause quite a stir, but also raised its own watchmaking bar quite a bit.
However, bear in mind that only a short time before, Fortis was also increasingly active in the field of astronaut watches – one of the company’s core competencies after all. With the AMANDEE-18 chronograph, Fortis presented an innovative watch for analog astronauts on their mission in the barren deserts of Oman.
For this year’s Mars simulation, which will take place in the Negev Desert in Israel, Fortis has once again upped the ante by creating a sturdy tool watch that will assist the astronauts on their mission.
A little bit of perspective: Fortis has been at the forefront of developing space wristwatches since the 1960s. The best example of this is the fact that Fortis has been the official cosmonaut outfitter for Russian Roskosmos expeditions into space since 1994.
Even though Mars exploration is currently still in its infancy (compared to that of the moon), astronauts regularly get a little closer to this goal through continuous Mars simulations.
After the 2018 Mars simulation called “AMADEE-18” led by the Austrian Space Forum (ÖWF), the next Mars analog mission was scheduled for October 2020. However, due to the difficult situation caused by the pandemic, the decision was made to have it take place one year later from 04 to 31 October 2021.
During this time, six analog astronauts (so real astronauts, just on Earth) will test new technologies for future missions, completely isolated from the outside world, for one month in Israel’s Ramon crater. On their wrist: the new Fortis AMADEE-20.
As a tool watch for astronauts, Fortis has made sure that really every single detail has a special function – true to the motto “as much as necessary, as little as possible”.
Just like the AMADEE-18, also this year’s mission watch comes in an impressive 44mm case. Compared to its predecessor, however, it is no longer made of stainless steel, but of ultra-light and sandblasted titanium. Considering that the simulation will take place in a “terrestrial Mars analog environment” that is characterized by sandy sediment structures and extreme temperature fluctuations, the lightweight, scratch- and corrosion-resistant and super robust material is certainly not the worst choice.
Another novelty is the new so-called Mission Control Bezel, describing a countdown bezel with a minute scale running backwards. The necessity for this feature in particular is an interesting one:
Due to the many millions of miles between Earth and Mars, communications between the two planets experience an average latency of about 10 minutes – sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less. In other words, a message sent from Earth to Mars will arrive there much later.
However, in order to be able to anticipate this delay as well as possible, Fortis has provided a quick remedy with the countdown bezel. The astronauts can thereby estimate conveniently and accurately when their messages will arrive at Mission Control.
But the countdown bezel is also a practical feature for us non-astronauts in everyday life on earth, as it helps us keep an eye on upcoming events that we might otherwise forget in the heat of the moment. Calling the in-laws in 10 minutes or taking the wine out of the fridge in 15 minutes? Sure thing!
When it comes to the choice of movement, Fortis relies yet again on the UW-50 caliber, which is certainly not a newcomer to the Official Cosmonauts Chronograph line. The 4 Hz movement with Tricompax layout (i.e. with three subdials) also ticks in the AMADEE-18 for instance, boasting a 48-hour power reserve.
In addition to the running seconds at 9 o’clock, particular attention should be paid to the 30-minute counter at 12 o’clock, or the “Grand Counter” in Fortis parlance. In order to increase function and readability, it has been given a sunburst finish, which not only visually sets it apart from the rest of the dial, but also makes it easier to measure the elapsed time during experiments. If you direct your gaze to the 3 o’clock position, you can see the movement’s day and date display.
As an officially authorized Fortis dealer, you can purchase the new Fortis AMADEE-20 directly in our shop.
This is a sponsored article by Montredo for Fortis.