The 2014 Fortis Blue Horizon features an appealing color scheme with its bronze-toned dial (the brand prefers to call it “Metallic Brown”) that is nicely matched by a cognac-brown leather strap. The blue accents on the dial may look a bit ahem controversial, yet I must admit that this is one of the dressiest “pilot’s chronographs” that the Swiss brand has ever produced. Just try not to forget to get yourself a complementary set of good brown shoes.
Although Fortis chronographs are widely known for their somewhat cluttered layout with lots of information flows fighting desperately for your attention, the Swiss watchmaker also has several B42 chronos that look not just cool, but also extremely classy in their superb legibility and manufacturer’s attention to details. While not breaking any new ground in terms of industrial design, their main elements are nicely (and tastefully, too) balanced, so the gadgets look even more refined and expensive than they actually are.
This new Fortis Blue Horizon Chronograph, for example, features a nice combination of skeletonized hands with finely sculpted Arabic numerals and applied hour markers that look in contrast over the extremely stylish bronze-toned dial. The blue elements here are, as you probably have already guessed, are painted with bright Superluminova substance.
By the way, the strange mix of brown and blue may look outrageous for some, however, the combination of colors has been successfully used not only for interiors of expensive cars (think Range Rover), but is also popular among good designers.
Okay, maybe the new member of the family does not look as gorgeous as the good old B42 with cream dial, but it certainly looks different from the current bunch. Gone are the pilot-style hour and minute hands: there is now a pair of much sexier skeletonized indicators instead that are similar to those installed on the 2012 Hamilton Khaki Aviation Pilot.
As another sign of class, the usual painted Arabic numerals and hour markers are replaced with applied ones that not only look more expensive giving the dial a certain depth but is also more contrast increasing the overall legibility.
The stainless steel case of the new beast is identical to those coming with the rest of the B-42 collection. There is the usual oversized setting crown, long chronograph push-pieces, thick bezel, and, of course, the signature massive lugs. The lugs accept a 20-millimeter strap (the watch comes with a base cognac brown leather strap that looks expensive with its steel deployant clasp, but you can also get the timepiece with an optional rubber strap or a stainless steel bracelet).
Oh, and the mechanism that powers the gadget is the same ETA Valjoux 7750 natural-born self-winding chronograph caliber. Staying in production longer than the classic VW Beetle (well, maybe not much longer, but long enough), this robust, reliable movement offers a good combination of acceptable accuracy and superb reliability. Just take good care of the tiny engine and it will serve you, your son, as well as your son’s son.
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 4/5
Fortis Blue Horizon Automatic Chronograph specification
Price: $3000 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, caliber ETA Valjoux 7750, modified, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 25
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 40 hours
Movement decoration: Oscillating weight adorned with “Cotes de Geneve” pattern
Case: Stainless steel
Size: 42.00 mm
Lug width: 20.00 mm
Dial: Metallic Brown
Numerals: Arabic, black
Hour markers: Black, with blue luminous substance
Hands: Black, with blue luminous substance, open-worked
Water resistance: 200 meters
Strap: Cognac brown leather strap with steel deployant clasp / Rubber strap / Solid stainless steel bracelet
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective