In 1998, Fortis produced the worlds 1st self-winding watch with not only a chronograph, but also a mechanical alarm. The extremely complicated movement was inspired by space specialists at the Star City Space Training Centre in Moscow. These complications were required by cosmonauts as they would prove to be extremely useful in space missions. As I'm sure you could imagine, a stop watch and a gentle reminder could prove useful in everyday life, let alone space travel.
FORTIS703.20.92-1 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr
FORTIS703.20.92-2 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr
The development of this movement has tremendously progressed over the years. Taking the 380 part movement with duration for space travel, improving it by adding COSC certification, and now today, adding even more complication!
FORTIS703.20.92-3 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr
This year, Fortis has introduced the 1st Chronograph Alarm with GMT and Dual Power Reserve. On top of all that, it is COSC certified for the finest accuracy. To accomplish COSC certification with so much complication is extremely difficult. There are over 500 parts in this movement. That's more than you will find in most Patek Grand Complications! Needless to say... there is a lot of time & dedication in building these pieces.
FORTIS703.20.92-4 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr
FORTIS703.20.92-5 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr
For all the different features this watch has to offer, the dial is surprisingly very legible. The GMT time is located at 12 o'clock and is adjusted by a separate crown at 10 o'clock. The chronograph is operated and read like most, by the pushers at 2 and 4 o'clock, with the hour counter display just above 6 and the minutes counter just below 12. The chronograph second hand is central and the continuously running second display is just inside 9. There's also an AM/PM indicator just between 1 and 2, with the date at 3 and the alarm "ON/OFF" indicator just beside it. As if this isn't enough, there are two power reserve displays. One located between 5 and 6 for the actual time keeping movement and another between 7 and 8 to display the power for the separate barrel that drives the alarm.
FORTIS703.20.92-8 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr
The watch is very easy to function. The crown at the 1st position will manually wind the watch (which winds the movement mainspring 1st, then the alarm spring). On the 2nd click out, turning the crown counter-clockwise will adjust the date while turning it clockwise sets the alarm hand. The alarm can be turned on or off by pushing the pusher at 8 o'clock and is indicated "ON" when the box next to the date turns blue. If it is off, the box is white. The 3rd click out is setting the time.
FORTIS703.20.92-6 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr
The caliber that runs this piece has been labeled the F2012, a Fortis proprietary. It consists of 39 jewels, beats at 28,800bph and has a premium Incabloc shock absorber.
FORTIS703.20.92-7 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr
While it is a mouthful to explain how the watch operates, I hope it helps to understand the true attention to detail and convenience. The piece is incredibly functional and easy to operate, especially considering the level of complication. Many complicated pieces can be incredibly difficult to set, which is one of the many reasons I admire this watch so much.
FORTIS703.20.92-9 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr
FORTIS703.20.92-10 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr
The 2 piece cases finish is very high quality. While most are used to seeing a bead blasted or matte finish from Fortis, the new F-43 comes in an incredible high polish. I've had the opportunity to handle many amazing timepieces, and this finish definitely stood out. While a pictures is worth 1,000 words, it is far more impressive in person. The watch is 43mm wide and is about 16mm thick. It has to be thick, for such a complicated movement, but surprisingly wears very well. It may not be the best under the cuff, but wears very comfortable and looks great on the wrist.
FORTIS703.20.92-11 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr
I'm a big fan of the blue and white color combination. The blue steel numerals and blue strap really compliment the opaline/silver color of the dial. It is slightly metallic and has a recessed circular pattern to it. The detail is incredible. The dual coated Anti-Relective Sapphire Crystal also adds a nice blue tint in high light.
FORTIS703.20.92-12 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr
I really enjoy the alarm complication. I've included a video to show how it works/sounds. The buzzing of the alarm is followed by a quick performance of the chronograph, to show how smooth it operates.
The Fortis Alarm Chronograph GMT is retailing at $20,850 and will be limited to only 100 pieces world wide.
FORTIS703.20.92-13 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr
Here at Arizona Fine Time, we were fortunate enough to receive number 100 out of 100. A truly collectible number.
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As always, please let me know if there's ever any help I can be.