Despite being less than two years old, independent brand RZE has quickly established a strong identity as a producer of some of the toughest titanium tool watches around. By utilizing a proprietary anti-scratch coating called ULTRAHex that provides about eight times the scratch resistance of stainless steel, the brand is able to crank out featherweight watches that stay looking new for years. And after building a strong portfolio with the Resolute field watch, the Endeavour diver, and the Valour chronograph, RZE has released its first-ever pilot’s watch in the Fortitude.
As we’d expect from RZE, the Fortitude is quite unlike any other 41mm pilot’s watch on the market. It was designed for pilots, by pilots — brand founder Travis Tan is a commercial airline pilot by trade — and as such, it’s built to work in true flight conditions. That means the aforementioned ULTRAHex-coated titanium case is five times more anti-magnetic than the ISO 764 magnetic-resistant watch standard. It means the combination of prominent hands and indices, a sand-textured sandwich dial with Grade A Super-LumiNova lume, and a sapphire crystal with AR undercoating makes the watch easily legible in all conditions. And it means you’re getting bold, aviation-inspired styling in the form of a turbine-like bezel and an oversized “HexCrown” that features an interior red line so you know if the watch’s 100m water resistance is in peril — a feature inspired by an aircraft’s “Remove Before Flight” tags that need to be removed prior to takeoff.
Powered by a Seiko SII NH35A automatic movement and sold on a three-link ULTRAHex-coated titanium bracelet, the watch also features a mix of satin finishing to improve the way the case catches the light — a first for the brand, which has mainly dabbled in more utilitarian bead-blasted finishing until now. The Fortitude is available from RZE now in four colorways for the discounted price of $499, but act fast — once the calendar switches over to 2022, the Fortitude’s price will rise up to $599.