Last week, the Swiss brand Fortis has presented a limited edition Fortis B42 Phantoms Phorever Flieger Chronograph watch that pays homage to the legendary McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II: a twin-engine combat aircraft that not only ensured US air superiority in Vietnam, but also fought in many other conflicts throughout the world, including numerous Arab-Israeli wars, the Iran-Iraq War and, of course, the Falklands War.
Although none of a couple of dozens of F-4F Phantom IIs that were ordered by German Air Force in early 1970s seen any real action, the planes were still used quite extensively by Luftwaffe with the last jet retired just a week ago on 29 June 2013. To commemorate the event, Fortis decided to issue 175 individually numbered Fortis B42 Phantoms Phorever Flieger Chronographs.
Predictably, the limited edition watch features the same cluttered (but still readable) design as other members of their Aviation Collection sporting a tri-compax dial layout with 30-minute and 12-hour chronograph totalizers placed at 12 and 6 o’clock respectively, a small seconds indicator located at 9 hours, and a pair of calendar apertures staying at 3 hours.
As busy as it is, I still love the design of its dial since it somehow reminds me a tail of a USAF fighter jet with all of its numerous decals and inscriptions that look like a total mess for a civilian, but in fact tell tons of info to initiates.
Besides a top view silhouette image of the jet at 9 hours, there is also the famous “Spook” logo that was used by F-4 pilots around the world.
Presented in a mid-sized 42 mm body, the watch is equipped with rather long lugs, which can be a problem for some, so you should probably try one on your own wrist before ordering it.
The pair of chronograph push-pieces, as well as the winding/setting crown is, too, deliberately oversized, which makes the watch easier to operate, although, if you, like me, prefer to wear the timekeeper close to wrist joint, the parts may be quite uncomfortable in certain situations.
As for the movement that powers this iteration of the B42 model, it is the same legendary ETA Valjoux 7750 caliber. So, besides the chronograph and at least 42 hours of power reserve, you also get a simple calendar display with days of week and date windows placed at 3 o’clock.
Can’t say anything about the timekeeper’s price at this very moment, but it will possibly be offered at $3000-$3500 USD.
WWR preliminary verdict:
Build quality: 4/5
Value for money: 4/5
Fortis B42 Phantoms Phorever Flieger Chronograph watch specification
Movement: Automatic, ETA Valjoux 7750, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 25
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 42 hours
Movement decoration: No data
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, day of week, chronograph
Case material: Stainless steel
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 42.00 mm
Case height: No data
Lug width: No data
Hour markers: Luminous
Hands: White, luminous
Water resistance: 200 meters
Strap: Black leather strap with white contrasting stitching
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Sapphire