Review of Fortis Cosmonaut Automatic

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Model # 610.10.11 M
 
Brand/Model:  Fortis Cosmonaut Automatic
Movement:  Swiss automatic
Material:  stainless steel case and bracelet
Complications:  day and date display
Price:  MSRP:  $1,475 USD (2009 pricing)


Plenty of photos follow the review.  Click on the pictures to enlarge.

 
Fortis is a unique Swiss brand that is currently celebrating its 100 year anniversary as a watch maker.  They have several claims to fame including producing the world’s first automatic chronograph alarm as well as a long heritage (since 1992) of supplying European/Russian space station cosmonauts with watches that have endured the rigors of space travel on the international space station.  There are reams of information regarding the space connection on the Fortis web site.
 
Many of the watches Fortis makes are fairly iconic in their designs, that is, relatively simple, clean and functional pieces that could be considered tool watches to most WISes.  They also make some arty models that deviate completely from their basic mission of reliable, good looking pieces, but don’t worry, no arty-farty Fortis watches will be reviewed here.
 
The subject of this review is the simple, functional and great looking Cosmonaut automatic, a watch that was still a current model in the Fortis lineup as recently as 2009.  This watch represents a strong value and almost everybody that sees it thinks it is a classic.
 
The Cosmonaut automatic starts with a stainless steel case that measures a rather demure 39mm, but don’t worry, it wears more like a 40mm watch.  The proportions on this one are nearly perfect.  With the signed, screwdown crown included, the Cosmonaut is 42.4mm across.  The case is fully brushed and plays the part of a tool watch quite well. 
The caseback screws down and displays an embossed logo depicting the emblems of the space authorities that Fortis is associated with.  Lug width is 20mm and case thickness is 12.2mm.  Crown guards protrude from the case to protect the rather smallish crown; it is a bit hard to wind this watch due to the smaller crown.  Not a super big deal, but duly noted, as I prefer a large crown.
 
The dial is a perfect matte black and due to the flat sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on both sides, it looks like there is no crystal on this watch, as the AR coating makes the crystal disappear in various light, making this watch super legible and super easy to read.  Yes! 
Whitish green hour arabics are screened onto the dial, with small lume dots on the outer edge of each arabic, small lume squares at the 3, 6, and 9 and a lume triangle at 12.  Between the hour arabics are white hash markers, with even smaller minute arabics at each five minute mark, you almost don’t realize they are there.  The hands are fully lumed in a light green, with the stick style seconds hand being orange.  The larger arabics are luminous and lume quality on everything on the dial is superb.
 
The dial bears the Fortis name and logo below the 12 and above the 6 resides small printing with ‘official cosmonauts’ and ‘automatic 200M’.  The day and date wheels are white on black and look great on the dial.  There is no divider between the day and date wheels, so the window is one rectangular space.  Wheel alignment is good and the day/date readout is fairly easy to read at a glance.  The day wheel is in both English and German.
 
As indicated on the dial and caseback, the Fortis Cosmonaut is factory rated for 200 meters (20 bar) of water resistance/pressure.
 
A brushed stainless steel 120-click unidirectional bezel frames the dial.  The bezel has full minute markers, with engraved arabics at each 10 minute mark and a flush inset lume triangle at the 12.  Bezel action is tight with just the slightest tad of backlash.
The Swiss automatic movement inside the Cosmonaut is the venerable ETA 2836-2 running at 28,800 vph with 25 jewels.  It has performed well in my testing.  Accuracy has been -7/24 hours with the standard power reserve of 41-1/2 hours.  The movement hacks, manually winds and runs fine, just what you expect from an ETA movement and a reliable tool watch.
 
The bracelet on the Cosmonaut continues with the overall tool theme of this watch.  A three-link oyster style design with solid links, non-solid end links and a signed double locking clasp with machined deployant works well.  A stamped steel diver extension folds out from the clasp.  There are four micro adjustments on the clasp.  The links are secured with screw pins and adjustment was quick and easy.  The bracelet measures 20mm at the lugs and tapers to 17.9mm at the clasp.
 
Presentation is a simple black padded box of faux leather, with a separate document holder inside, a presentation appropriate for this watch and price point.  No-nonsense, just like the watch.
 
Overall, the Fortis Cosmonaut is well worth seeking out, since it appears to have been discontinued.  There are enough of them in the marketplace that finding one shouldn’t be too hard.  This watch also comes in a blue dial, if that tickles your fancy better than the black dial.  The Cosmonaut is a great piece that fits the tool watch bill perfectly.
 
Pros:  near perfect dimensions, great lume, reliable Swiss engine, good fit and finish, super legible
 
Cons:  crown too small, entire watch might be a bit too small overall for some tool-watch aficionados
 
Verdict:  a superb watch from a nifty brand that has true Swiss heritage, the Fortis Cosmonaut automatic is a fine addition to any collection

 
Thanks for reading and enjoy the pictures.
 
Excelsior!
 
-Marc


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