A watch designed by a Swedish photographer? Meet the Fortis B-47 Big Black

In this the 100th anniversary year of Fortis, we have covered the chilled out white commemorative Frisson. Now it is time for its palette flipside, the B-47 Big Black. Like the Frisson, this is not a watch that is intended for broad appeal, but that’s where the similarities come to the usual shuddering halt.

Fortis has a history for unexpected designs for their timepieces. Whilst you’re hard pressed trying to see anything on the Frisson, there’s not much that you can’t see on the Big Black. It takes the idea of a skeletonised watch, which is more regularly seen in dress watches, and makes it sporty and bold.

One of the biggest problems with ‘all black’ watches, which had their heyday a couple of years ago but are nonetheless still buzzing along happily in the background as a trend, is legibility. There have been a lot of all black watches that haven’t been legible, which somewhat defeats the purpose of a watch.

At 47mm it is big, but in 2012 it is not considered an exceptionally large watch. We’ve covered a 47mm Panerai, a 53.3mm x 47mm Devon Tread and even a 55mm Laco for example, though admittedly the latter two are on the upper end of the spectrum.

The B-47’s case is PVD coated stainless steel with an in-your-face uni-directional rotating rubber coated bezel with a serrated edge. The rubber means that it’s easy to turn, but it is also aids shock resistance and helps protect the watch if you are prone to dings and the like.

An anti-reflective sapphire crystal shows a transparent matte black tinted dial that is dominated by a view of an ETA 2836-2 automatic day/ date movement (which Fortis call their F-2016), with incabloc shock absorber.

There is a semi-opaque dial over the day/ date discs, which are used as a rotating dial. As the day or date changes, you will see the wheels move in opposite directions. The SuperLumiNova hour and minute hands are outlined in white and skeletonised so as to not cover up too much of the dial, and the centre seconds hand is also tipped in white SuperLuminova.

If you look closely you can see triangles at 3 and 9 o’clock that indicate the direction of the crown for quick adjustment.

The Big Black has a screw-down crown and 200m water resistance and comes on a rubber strap with an easy to operate butterfly deployant clasp.

Designed by Swedish photographer Thomas Monka and inspired by space exploration (well it is night time at the moment, so it does look rather black up there), the B-47 Big Black received a Good Design Award in 2011, and a red dot honourable mention in 2012.

As I mentioned at the outset, this is most definitely not a watch for everyone. Some may find the visible text on the discs too busy, but it’s surprisingly legible at a glance. It’s a bold watch, and you are likely to either love it or hate it. In the spirit of the anniversary year, the B-47 Big Black is in a limited edition of 2,012 pieces and shouldn’t be too difficult to get from your local Fortis authorised dealer.



Categories: Fortis, Hands-on, Limited Editions, Watch Profile, watches

1 reply

  1. kinda funky… but not the most legible watch is it??

    Like

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