With its newest Fortis B42 Black & Black Limited Edition automatic watch, the Swiss watch maker jumps into the black-on-black craze band-wagon.
I don’t really care to know who started this trend, but it is really starting to get on my nerves. The very existence of such timekeepers implies that a great deal of watchmakers finally agreed that an analog watch is no longer a time measuring device, but is just an accessory, where usability is a matter of secondary importance.
However, giving the Swiss company its due, I must admit that the new Fortis B42 Black & Black Limited Edition is one of the rare cases when the “black-on-black” color scheme actually works.
In fact, I would even dare to say that this particular model is one of the best Fortis offerings I ever saw (there is also a geeky Fortis IQ Art Edition LE automatic watch, but that’s completely different story.)
While practically all “extreme” models of Fortis watches burn your eyes out with extreme combinations of black and orange or black and white or black and some other stingy color, this one offers minimalist layout without compromising the watch’s legibility.
As you can see on the photo, the watch sports a PVD-coated black (titanium) case, black rubber strap and black crown.
Its black dial features high-contrast layout with bright-white SuperLuminova applied to the outermost halves of hour and minute hands. There are also similarly sized dots of SL on the center second hand and at the 12 o’clock position of the unidirectional rotating bezel.
Arabic numerals and hour indices are painted with black paint, though, which slightly distracts from the watch’s legibility. To my opinion, this can’t be deemed a major problem simply because about 99 percent of people can tell time without actually seeing the hour markers.
What you can’t see on the picture, is the logos of the Russian FSA Roscosmos corporation and Cosmonauts Training Center Zvezdny Gorodok (Star City).
The watch is powered by the ETA 2836-2 automatic movement, which is both reliable and accurate. Too bad, they didn’t employ a COSC-certified version here.
According to the company, the Fortis B42 Black & Black Limited Edition (Ref. 647.28.81 K) will be limited to just 2012 pieces. Although the list price of $2575 USD makes this timekeeper a little bit too expensive for what it is, Gevril Group (the company behind the Fortis brand) is known to overprice their watches in order to later give you a bigger discount, so I expect the timepiece to get significantly cheaper fairly soon.*
*UPDATE ON PRICE: I have just checked Amazon.com and found one of these watches at a lot more interesting price of $1500 USD although some European retailers still offer these 647.28.81 K models at outrageous €2200. Well, go figure.
Fortis B42 Black & Black Limited Edition (Ref. 647.28.81 K) automatic watch specification:
Price range: $2575 (MSRP)
Movement: Caliber ETA 2836-2, automatic, Swiss Made
Cadence of balance: 28,800 vph
Complications: Date, day
Power reserve: 42 hours
Case material: Titanium, black PVD-coated, solid case back
Case size: 42.00 mm
Case height: 13.50 mm
Lugs: 19 mm
Water resistance: 200 meters
Strap: Black rubber strap on deployment clasp with push-button
Crystal: Sapphire, anti-reflective on both sides