The new Fortis B42 Black Mars 500 model is the German-based “Swiss watch” brand’s another attempt to monetize its long-standing partnership with the Russian Roscosmos Federal Space Agency that dates back to 1994.
As some of you must already know, some years ago the Russian government had set a very ambitious (with regard to its current and, um, projected state of the economy) goal to put a man on Mars in 2030s. Together with the European Space Agency, the Russian Federal Space Agency is working on a new space ship that will be able to bring a crew of astronauts to the Red Planet and back in a matter of less than 18 months.
It is currently estimated that the whole mission will take about 520 days, where more than four weeks will be spent on the surface of Mars in a compact landing module.
To understand how almost 74 weeks in a very confined environment will affect both physical and mental health of future crew members, ESA and the Russian Institute of Biomedical Problems have prepared the Mars 500 experiment that will officially commence in a matter of weeks. Six volunteers will spend a total of 520 days in a steel tube 20 meters long and only 3 meters in diameter (this is like two standard petroleum rail tanks put together.)
Just as usual, the volunteers will be equipped with a great deal of gear, not excluding a set of Official Cosmonauts automatic watches.
As I have already noted, the German watchmaker has decided to monetize the event and is going to bring to the market a special edition Fortis B-42 Black Mars 500 model.
Technically, this is the same Fortis B42 Black & Black Limited Edition (Ref. 647.28.81 K) wrist watch that was presented last year.
It is equipped with the same ETA 2836-2 self-winding caliber built on 25 jewels and featuring a simple calendar function with current date and day of week indicators located at 3 o’clock. We have already seen the movement in the recent Hamilton Khaki Pilot automatic watch as well as in the last year’s TAG Heuer Aquaracer 500M Calibre 5 diving watch.
Its generous 42 mm case is, too, made of black PVD-coated high-grade titanium and features an AR-treated sapphire crystal as well as a transparent display case back.
What is different, is the color scheme, which is almost identical to that of Mars itself. The deep blackness of its dial and case is accented with luminescent orange for the hands and Arabic numerals. The black leather strap is also stitched with contrasting orange.
Although on the promotional photos the Fortis B42 Black Mars 500 looks rather bleak and not very interesting, it really kicks some butts in real life making you really want one.
The good news is that Fortis is going to limit the watch’s production at reasonable 2012 models, so most of us won’t have any trouble at all as to getting of these toys on our wrists. The price of the timepiece is still unknown, but there is a good chance that it will be around €1200, which is more than affordable even in times like this.
Fortis B42 Black Mars 500 Limited Edition men’s automatic watch specification
Price range: €2600 (MSRP)
Movement: ETA 2836-2, automatic, 28,800 vph, Swiss Made
Complications: Date, day of week
Power reserve: 42 hours
Case material: Titanium, black, PVD-coated
Bezel material: Titanium, black, PVD-coated
Case shape: Round
Transparent case back: Yes
Case size: 42.00 mm
Case height: No data
Strap: Black leather strap with orange stitching
Crystal: Sapphire, AR-coated
Water resistance: 200 meters