The Fortis Stratoliner S-41 packs space-age looks and an important new movementBorna Bošnjak
It’s always an exciting time when a company introduces a brand new model and a brand new movement at the same time, and it’s no different when it comes to the Fortis Stratoliner S-41. The WERK 17 movement, a collaborative effort between Fortis and La Joux-Perret, was space-tested before the release of the Stratoliner, which we covered in this brief overview. You can also check out our first hands-on look at the Stratoliner here.
Set sail for the stratosphere
The Stratoliner adopts a space-age look with both its dial design and case construction. The 41mm case has long, strut-like lugs stretching out to 50.4mm, while the case measures in at 14.9mm in height. Despite the fairly compact diameter, it’s a large watch, exceeding the extremities of my 6.1-inch wrist. The flat case profile further lends itself to the utilitarian look, as does the dial.
Curiously, it’s free of hour markers, yet it retains excellent legibility due to the bold contrast between the black printing and pastel-coloured highlights. The rough, asphalt-like texture helps with reducing glare a shiny dial would give off, while making it more visually appealing than a flat, matte colour.
The lume is minimal, but tastefully applied. The lack of hour markers means that the syringe-fencepost handset combo is solely responsible for telling the time after dark, while the other blue accents on the watch work in conjunction with chronograph indication, along with a fully lumed chrono seconds hand.
The three-link block style bracelet is built like a tank, and it matches the supremely solid feel of the rest of the watch. In hand, 230 grams of stainless steel Stratoliner help to prove my point, with the only slight nag being the operation of the otherwise helpful quick adjust hidden in the clasp.
Powered by friendship
The other novelty of the Stratoliner’s release is the WERK 17 movement. La Joux-Perret, which builds the movements in collaboration with Fortis, has a long lineage of modifying Valjoux/ETA 7750 chronograph movement bases to operate with a column wheel, rather than the more common cam operation. The WERK 17, a version of LJP’s L100 movement is a natural progression of this. With a 60-hour power reserve and spacefaring accolades, it’s a solid choice, and one with the potential to become the new industry standard.
The Stratoliner is another part of a refreshing take on the fairly iterative Fortis catalogue. Along with the likes of the Marinemaster, Fortis is employing the use of more respected movement manufacturers that will help solidify their already excellent build quality, making them a more compelling proposition, albeit at rising prices.
Fortis Stratoliner S-41 Cool Gray pricing and availability:
The Fortis Stratoliner S-41 Cool Gray is available now from the Time+Tide shop. Price: A$6,845