Back in April, we covered the first-ever space-tested watch movement, WERK 17, by Fortis in collaboration with the Swedish Space Corporation. The watches traveled through the stratosphere and back again, withstanding the harsh conditions of space. The results were impressive, to say the least, with 11 of the 13 watches tested still intact and rebounding back to their condition prior to being sent up. For the past 60 years, it would seem like the Swiss watchmaker was destined for the feat, especially considering its focus and enthusiasm on the final frontier ever since it gave the fledgling NASA program the Spacematic AR just a year after the first Apollo mission.
Now, the WERK 17 caliber has been implemented in a new line of production watches from Fortis called the Stratoliner, a 41mm chronograph with a case and bezel made from recycled stainless steel and a see-through “Spaceship Window” caseback made from smoked sapphire crystal. The self-winding column-wheel chronograph movement — which, we remind you, has been battle-tested in outer space — has a power reserve of 60 hours.
Inspired by the Virgin Galactic civilian space flights, the dial utilizes the beautiful Super-LumiNova X1 glow in accordance with the different phases of the trip. The mated climb, which lasts anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes, is represented by a luminescent glow on the hours’ subdial at the 6 o’clock position. The second phase, the boost, lasts about 90 seconds, as indicated by the hemicycle coating on the right side of the dial. And lastly, the zero-G stage, which lasts about 15 minutes, is indicated by another hemicycle coating on the minutes’ register at the 12 o’clock position. The hour, minute, and chronograph seconds hands are also given the attractive blue lume.
As Fortis sees it, the logical next step is to send the watches into the exosphere and beyond. For now, the Stratoliner will be available in four different dial colors: white, light gray, dark gray, and midnight blue, each sold with either a stainless steel block bracelet or a black leather aviator strap. All variations (save for the midnight blue, which will be sold only in stores this July) are available on Fortis’ website now, starting at $4,800.