Fortis Builds A Perfect Timepiece For Space TravelersBy Bhanu Chopra
The newest caliber from Fortis, the WERK 17, was designed from the ground up to be space ready. From the self-winding chronograph with a column wheel architecture to the thoughtfully designed traversing bridge, each component was engineered for the height of accuracy and precision in any environment. With a power reserve of 60 hours and a water resistance of 200 meters, this movement was built to perform under the harsh conditions of space.
Together with the Swedish Space Corporation, Fortis tested, adjusted and improved the new manufacture WERK 17 caliber by sending it into the stratosphere.
The Swedish Space Corporation, or SSC, was founded in 1972 and took ownership of the Esrange Space Center in Kiruna, Sweden. Today, they provide satellite ground network services, spacecraft operations and engineering services, as well as data services to global corporations.
The Space Banter — a lighthearted chat with Stefan Krämer from Swedish Space Forum, Rob Nudds from Fratello and Andreas from the Fortis-Team at the Esrange Space Center in Kiruna.
Fortis partnered with the SSC to test the WERK 17 in the stratosphere — it was the first movement ever to do so! They strapped 13 encased movements to a specially constructed gondola driven by a stratospheric balloon and launched it into the stratosphere from the Esrange Space Center. The movements were monitored by specially designed sensors and cameras while subjected to harsh conditions, including 250kph winds, extreme temperatures, radiation and microgravity, before landing in the forest landscape of Finland after 1.5 hours. They proved their mettle with high marks during this unprecedented testing phase.
The Stratoliner Trio
The Stratoliner S-41 Collection features three different models with dials that reflect the beauty and mystery of space. Each 41mm stainless-steel case is paired with either a stainless steel Block Bracelet or a black leather Aviator Strap. The arrangement on the dial includes three chrono subdials and a day/date aperture, as well as nicely balanced central hands with “especially developed” Superluminova X1. The sapphire is treated on both sides with the Space-AR anti-reflective coating for superb legibility even in the harshest conditions.
The powder blue markings on the dial pay homage to Virgin Galactic’s stratospheric flight and reflect the different phases of the flight, such as the climb phase (up to 1.5 hours), the boost phase (up to 90 seconds), and the time in zero gravity (up to 15 minutes).
The White Dust version has a space-dust-inspired white dial in a minimalist style that highlights the powder blue details. The Cool Gray dial adds a light-gray background that gives a soft contrast with the white subdials. The Cosmic Gray goes for a bolder finish with a dark-gray dial and black subdials.
The caseback features a smoked sapphire that gives a glimpse of the column wheel in the Fortis spaceship window and is engraved with the quote “Der Himmel ist nicht das Ende der Welt”, which translates to “Sky is no limit.”
Look out for special editions such as the “Blue Japan” edition that is in the works for the second half of 2022.
Space Travelers’ Best Friend
The world is changing rapidly as more private citizens and companies ramp up their assets and opportunities around space and space travel. We are approaching the reality of vacations in space, albeit reserved initially for the luckiest few. Fortis is ready to equip any adventurer on their journey beyond the atmosphere and into the new frontier of outer space. For those of us who are tethered to Earth, the new Stratoliner S-41 Collection offers three attractive chronographs that few other brands will be able to match for some time.
Movement: Self-winding WERK 17 column wheel chronograph movement; 60 hours of power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph, day and date
Case: 41 mm; recycled stainless steel and rubber; water resistant to 200m
Strap: Stainless-steel Block Bracelet with Slide Clasp, or olive-leaf-tanned black leather Aviator Strap with folding clasp
Price: USD4,800 on strap, USD5,150 on bracelet