With its newest B42 Black & Black Limited Edition, Fortis jumps into the black-on-black craze band-wagon.
I don’t care to know who started this trend, but it is starting to get on my nerves. The very existence of such timekeepers implies that plenty 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 B42 Black & Black is one of the rare cases when the “black-on-black” color scheme works.
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 IQ Art Edition, but that’s a completely different story.)
While practically all their “extreme” models 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 a minimalist layout without compromising the legibility.
The B42 Black & Black sports a PVD-coated black (titanium) case, black rubber strap, and black crown.
Its black dial features a high-contrast layout with bright-white SuperLuminova applied to the outermost halves of the 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 overall legibility. In 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 in the picture, is the logos of the Russian FSA Roscosmos corporation and Cosmonauts Training Center Zvezdny Gorodok (Star City).
The B42 is powered by the ETA 2836-2 automatic movement, which is both reliable and accurate. Too bad, they didn’t employ the 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 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 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 at a lot more interesting price of $1500 although some European retailers still offer these 647.28.81 K models at outrageous €2200. Well, go figure.
Fortis B42 Black & Black (Ref. 647.28.81 K) 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: Titanium, black PVD-coated, solid case back
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