Fortis has revealed a blingy version of its popular B-42 automatic “aviator”. The 2011 Fortis B-42 Stratoliner Chronograph Limited Edition (Ref. 665.13.19 L.01) is available in a medium-sized black PVD-coated stainless steel case and features lots of 18-karat solid(!) rose gold elements not only on its dial and case but even on the fixed bezel with the inevitable tachymeter scale.
There is indeed a lot of real 18-karat gold here.
The crown and chronograph push-pieces, the hour and minute hands, as well as the small second hand and chronograph central hand, are made of this noble material. Even the Arabic numerals and applied hour markers feature a certain amount of gold.
While helping to increase the overall contrast of the dial (the nighttime legibility is ensured by Superluminova luminous compound that generously applied to hands and hour markers), the elements are also supposed to make the Stratoliner more attractive to persons interested in this sort of blingy stuff.
Technically, it is the same B-42 with an ETA Valjoux 7750 natural-born chronograph movement beating inside the PVD-treated 42 mm body. The caliber is perfectly seen via a display case back covered with a sapphire crystal.
As with other members of the family, the medium-sized case sits well on most wrists, yet you still should try it before ordering one (I guess, you can always find a less expensive member of the B-42 collection) since its relatively long horns sometimes make the piece a bit uncomfortable to persons with narrower bones.
On a personal rant, I feel a terrible need to let off some steam that I have developed while preparing this brief review. I mean, if somebody at Fortis thought that their pilot’s watch would look even more appealing in gold, they were dead wrong.
It isn’t even the proverbial snob in me that is furious about turning an otherwise beautiful aviator into a piece of swag, it is the fact that someone in the Swiss-based company’s marketing department either doesn’t realize that buying this timepiece is the best way of demonstrating total lack of good taste and, maybe, even common sense (I mean, the Stratoliner is rather expensive with its price tag of almost $11k) or, well, thinks really bad about the brand’s followers. However, I must admit that although the watch is by no means beautiful, there could even be a certain appeal about the combination of gold and PVD black of the body and dial if the guy responsible for the design somehow restrained him- or herself at a certain point and decided that enough is enough.
Fortis B-42 Stratoliner Chronograph Limited Edition (Ref. 665.13.19 L.01) specification
Price: $10,700 (MSRP)
Movement: Caliber ETA Valjoux 7750, automatic, 28,800 vph, 25 jewels, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph, date, day of week
Power reserve: 42 hours
Case: Stainless steel, black PVD coated
Size: 42.00 mm
Lug width: 20.00 mm
Case height: 15.50 mm
Dial: Black, with rose gold accents
Hands: Gold-plated, open-worked, luminous
Water resistance: 200 meters
Strap: Black calfskin leather strap
Crystal: Sapphire, anti-reflective