Introducing The Fortis Flieger F-41 Automatic and the F-39 Automatic, Including A Japan-Only Special Edition
Foxtrot four-one and Foxtrot tree-niner, you are cleared to land.
The recently introduced F-43 Bicompax marked a new direction for Fortis under the leadership of Jupp Philipp, who took over the company in 2018. Now, the Flieger F-41, F-39, and F-39-J models are being added to the Fortis Flieger family. F stands for flieger, and the -41 and -39 designations correspond with case size. The -J suffix in the F-39-J denotes a special edition that’s limited to 50 pieces and sold only in Japan. I’m not sure it’s entirely intentional, but there’s an obvious parallel between the nomenclature of the new flieger watches and the USAF’s Tri-Service aircraft designation system. Other forces follow different naming conventions; have a look at Britain’s here.
The F-41 Automatic
So this means we have two entirely new case sizes in the growing family of Fortis Fliegers. Now, we have a 43mm (Bicompax), 41mm (Automatic), and what will surely be a crowd-pleasing 39mm (Automatic) example.
The F-39 Automatic
This new trio of time-only watches visually follows the design language introduced with the F-43 Bicompax. The Synchroline and Brixtrack technologies are still present as well. Familiar flieger design cues, like the triangle flanked by dots at 12 o’clock and a bold seconds track, are also present in these three new models. The standard F-43 Automatic and F-39 Automatic employ the Berlac Fluor Orange motif of the B-43 Bicompax, but the F-39-J models departs from this motif; instead, it uses a dark blue sunray-finished dial with sword-shaped black framed hour and minute hands in white. The second hand is both white and red – the colors of Japan’s national flag, colloquially known as Hinomaru, and that of the Japanese Ground and Maritime Self-Defense Force.
The F-39-J Japan limited edition of 50 examples
Our community is size-obsessed, and rightfully so. Clothing that fits poorly can be uncomfortable, and the same is true with a watch. It’s important to buy the right size for you. Earlier this year, I likened finding the right-sized watch to grabbing the right size wrench for undoing a bolt. If watches are tools, then we need the right tool for the job.
Fortis knows this.
And in the same way a flight plan is supposed to be filed prior to take off to help mitigate any risk, Fortis has introduced an entire range of case sizes in quick succession to preemptively satisfy the enthusiast demand for a range of sizes. If you’re not into the Flieger series for visual reasons, that’s one thing, but it’s harder to say the watch is too big or small with such a selection available.
Fortis has historically supplied the Russian Space Program in the same way Omega has supplied NASA with timepieces. The Official Cosmonauts Chronograph, which was introduced in 1994 and flew on numerous missions, was 38mm. Spiritually, the F-39 shares a great deal, dimension-wise, with that watch. The upsized B-42 replaced the Official Cosmonauts Chronograph in 2003. The new ownership of Fortis, and the company’s willingness to try out new sizing and design ideas, bodes well for the Fortis-ROSCOSMOS relationship to become even more meaningful and interesting.
It’s also important to note that while chronographs are typically associated with pilot’s watches, the original B-Uhr, short for Beobachtungs-uhren watch, was a time-only design. The B-Uhr design is where “flieger watches” come from, but of course, it’s come to define any pilot’s watch associated with Germany. Or, in modern times, a multi-sized, Swiss-made pilot’s watch that references mid-century German design is also a “flieger.” And a very exciting one at that.
If you fancy the design of the B-43, then you’ll most likely enjoy the design of these new releases, and now, you’ll be able to find the model that fits you the best size-wise. What this release also does, however, is drive home the idea that Fortis means business in terms of re-igniting the brand and engaging watch enthusiasts on one of the fronts that means so much to us: case size. Additionally, I find the Japan-only edition particularly interesting. Other companies in the same function-forward category as Fortis also produce a number of Japan-only editions, and that goes for Omega as well, with the Speedmaster. The F-39-J sets a precedent that I’m excited to see the trajectory of.
We started with the F-43 this past August and went to the F-41 and F-39 today. Does that mean the B-series is up for expansion next? The newest B-42 Official Cosmonauts Chronograph was launched this past May. From the positive reaction to the B-43 and the timely introduction of these F-41 and F-39 watches, it looks like Fortis is lining up for take-off with enthusiasts.
Model: F-41, F-39, F-39-J
Reference Number: F.422.0008(F-41 on bracelet) F.422.0009 (F-41 on aviator strap) F.422.0005 (F-39 on bracelet) F.422.0006 (F-39 on aviator strap) F.422.0007 (Japan-only F-39 limited edition)
Diameter: 39mm (F-39 and F-30-J), 41mm (F-41)
Case Material: Stainless Steel
Dial Color: Black
Indexes: Proprietary “Brixtrack”
Water Resistance: 200m
Strap/Bracelet: All three models are available with the statement block bracelet and fine adjustment slide clasp in stainless steel as well as with the black Aviator Strap, hand made from sustainable resources in Germany.
Caliber: Fortis UW-30 (used in all three models introduced)
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Power Reserve: 38 hours
Jewels: 26 jewels
Pricing & Availability
Price: 2,300 CHF (F-41 and F-39 on bracelet) 1,850 CHF (F-41 and F-39 on aviator strap). Japan pricing only available in Japan.
Availability: Authorized dealers
Limited Edition: Japan-only edition limited to 50 examples.