Released just a couple of months ago, the new Fortis Terrestis Hedonist automatic wrist watch delivers a winning combination of elegant styling, and robust movement offered at a fairly affordable price. This is basically the watch for a person who always thought about adding a Fortis to his collection, but wasn’t quite ready to get himself an aviator’s watch because of their massive cases, cluttered dials and, often, just way too many colors for them to be worn with business attire. Now, let’s be honest, you finally have no excuses to backpedal on this purchase, have you?
Earlier this year, the Swiss watchmaking brand has released Fortis Terrestis: a whole new collection of dress watches covering the whole range of needs of a modern European gentleman starting with relatively simple three-handers (including 19FORTIS , a version with a central seconds hand) and going all the way to Fortis Tycoon: a family of gorgeous, yet more or less affordable chronographs featuring a simple ETA movement with DD2020 add-on module by Dubois Depraz.
However unexpected seems this move for a brand, which is now mostly associated with pilot’s and cosmonaut’s watches, it really has its merit. You see, back in the days, the brand used to make very nice dressy timekeepers that looked nice and even (at least, when it came to their gorgeous Stratoliner model) futuristic.
It is also a pleasure to know that, among many “tributes” and “homages” that were released and re-released by majors during the recent years, this new timekeeper seems to be completely original: with the Terrestis line, Fortis clearly doesn’t try to beat the dead horse, but moves forward instead offering a nice blend of elegance and sportiness. Yes, there are certain design elements that whisper ‘derivative’, but all in all it is a very nice model at a very attractive price that honestly gets five out of five stars in our ‘Value for Money’ rating.
Case & Strap
Besides its elegant face, the compact stainless steel case is the main selling point of this new timepiece.
While its diameter of 40 millimeters is more or less standard for a modern dress watch, it is its thickness that makes the strongest impression. Although the Terrestis Hedonist is powered by an automatic movement, it is less than 7.4 millimeters from top to bottom! Combine this with its set of relatively short, nicely curved lugs and you get yourself a time measuring device that not only looks refined, but also feels very comfortable on a normal wrist.
Of course, I would still recommend you to try one on your own hand before buying it because, like any watch, it may not be equally comfortable on any wrist: there will certainly be a number of customers who would feel awkward wearing this thing.
Nicely proportioned to the body, the setting crown is easy to use, although persons with longer nails (like, say, musicians playing acoustic guitars) may find it not very convenient due to its relatively short length.
As for the strap, the watch will be supplied with a choice of normal brown or black leather, but there will also be one on a lot more comfortable band crafted from more expensive Barenia leather.
According to official specs, the wristwatch is powered by an ETA 2895-2 self-winding caliber. Being a version of the well-known ETA 2892 work-horse movement, it has the original central seconds hand replaced with a small seconds indicator, which is placed at 6 hours.
Compared to old-school mechanisms that offer the same function, the complication has been simplified in order to cut costs that can sometimes result in the seconds hand “stuttering” from time to time. Although that doesn’t affect the movement’s accuracy in any way, it can be really annoying. By the way, below is very fine example of a “stuttering” seconds hand (the watch is powered by Miyota 8215 caliber)
As usual, the movement comes without serious modifications with the list of ahem improvements limited to an oscillating weight that now features the brand’s logo. This really a pity since the mechanism is clearly visible through the transparent case back cover and, frankly, I would prefer to look at something more inspiring than a run-off-the-mill mechanism ticking behind the cover.
At this time, the new Fortis Terrestis Hedonist is available only with two dials. There is a silver opaline one with something that looks like gold-plated hands, and a lot dressier combination of anthracite background with rhodium-plated (or so it looks) hands and numerals.
Both color schemes are contrast enough for the watch to be easily read in most lighting scenario. As it is often the case when it comes to similarly styled timepieces, the dial lacks even a single drop of Superluminova which makes this watch unusable in darkness. Although it is not a serious problem since you can always use one of many portable electronic devices that an average man carries in his pockets and briefcases, I can imagine many situations when the lack of lume could be really irritating.
Besides this (minor, to be frank) shortcoming, the dial makes a very good impression thanks to its successfully chosen typeface, elegant leaf-shaped hands and a small date aperture, which is nicely integrated into the small seconds sub-dial at 6 o’clock. I can’t even imagine what I would have changed to make the timekeeper even more attractive. Well, I would probably make the six Arabic numerals a little bit less bold, but that’s probably all.
Pricing & Availability
The watch can already be found in numerous online stores with prices ranging from approximately $2000 to $2200 USD. Considering its specs and the level of refinement that it offers, the price is not simply adequate, but is actually generous: you will probably have to go a long way trying to find something of similar value.
WWR preliminary verdict
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 5/5
Fortis Terrestis Hedonist Automatic watch specification
Price: $2495 (MSRP, ref. 901.20.11 L01)
Movement: Automatic, Caliber ETA 2895-2, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 27
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 42 hours
Movement decoration: Branded oscillating weight
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date
Case material: Stainless steel
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 40.00 mm
Case height: 7.35 mm
Lug width: No data
Dial: Silver Opaline / Anthracite
Numerals: Arabic, raised
Hour markers: Applied
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Black or brown leather strap with steel buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Transparent