On Spec: The RZE Fortitude Collection

How would you like a pilot’s watch designed by a pilot? Well, look no further than the RZE Fortitude. Just dropped today, the new Fortitude collection is the fourth release, in a successful run of titanium toolwatches, from the brand. As it so happens, brand founder, Travis Tan, has also spent his fair share of time in the skies as a professional airline pilot. The Fortitude is his spin on the iconic aviation timepiece.

RZE Fortitude Collection Microbrand Watch Review Pilot Watch
RZE Fortitude Pilot Watch © RZE

Like all RZE watches, the Fortitude lives up to its name. Its titanium case has been coated with the brand’s go-to UltraHex™ technology, which renders the metal more resistant to scratches. It is shock resistant and anti-magnetic (a must for pilots) and capped in an AR-coated flat sapphire crystal. The watch is, in fact, 5 times more impervious to magnetic fields than required by ISO 764 standards.

RZE Fortitude Collection Microbrand Watch Review Pilot Watch
RZE Fortitude Cruiser White © RZE

The case is a comfortable 41mm in diameter, and styled after the turbine blades of a jet airliner–most noticeable in the stationary bezel. Its oversized crown is reminiscent of WWII Fleigers and it employs a unique “HexCrown” system. The presence of a red line helps to confirm that, indeed, the screw-down mechanism is fully engaged and offering maximum water resistance. In the case of the Fortitude, this is 100m–laudable for a pilot’s watch.

With legibility at the forefront of this design, the Fortitude exploits broad hands and well-defined, sandwich-style indices. RZE has upgraded the lume in this model to Grade A BGW9 Super-LumiNova, as well, so that clarity at night is guaranteed.

The matching titanium bracelet is delicately faceted with a mix of brushed and statin finishes, which highlights the timepiece’s stylish, yet utilitarian, quality. The clasp makes use of a signed, flip-lock system with several degrees of micro-adjust.

Inside this lightweight titanium shell beats the ubiquitous heart of Seiko’s NH35, whose date complication is so tastefully incorporated at the six position that is is almost unnoticeable at first glance.

The Fortitude comes in a choice of four different colorways: Night Hawk, Cruiser White, Turbo Teal and Nimbus Grey.


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SPECS

CaseGrade 2 Titanium
/w UltraHex
Anti-magnetic to 20 000A/m
41mm Diameter
48mm Lug to Lug
12.5mm Thick
20mm Lug Width
Screw Down Crown
100m Water Resistance
Dial & CrystalFlat Saphhire /w AR
Textured Sandwich Dial
Date Window @ 6
24-Hour Register
BGW9 Super-LumiNova
MovementSeiko NH35A
24 Jewels
21 600bph
41-Hour Power Reserve
Date Complication
StrapTitanium Bracelet /w Flip-Lock Clasp
RZE Fortitude
RZE Fortitude Microbrand Watch Review Pilot Watch
RZE Fortitude Night Hawk © RZE

Of Interest

Aside from his current career as an airline pilot, Travis Tan also has a degree in engineering. The mechanical, it would seem, has been a lifelong interest for the brand founder. As such, simple, functional designs have come to characterise RZE. Clean lines and dynamic shapes abound.

The formula would appear to be working. His first watch–the Resolute–launched with partners Vivian (Tan’s wife) and Clarence, in February 2020, reached its lofty Kickstarter goal of $30 000 in a matter of minutes. The Fortitude, for its part, will be available for shipping on December 13th, 2021.

RZE Fortitude Microbrand Watch Review Pilot Watch
RZE Fortitude Nimbus Grey © RZE

Final Thoughts

The RZE Fortitude is a slick package. Its distinct bezel and crown offer just enough style and flair without drawing away from the fact that it is a functional instrument. Its utilitarian design, the chosen materials, and its distinctive colourways, make the Fortitude easily recognizable as a product of RZE. This is no small feat for such a nascent brand, but is reflective of a clarity of vision that has existed at RZE since the launch of its first watch. The Fortitude looks to be another strong addition to a line of toolwatches that has moved from strength to strength in a competitive microbrand market.

The RZE Fortitude will retail for $599USD. Early bird pricing ranges from $469-$499. For more information, please visit the brand website.

RZE Fortitude Microbrand Watch Review Pilot Watch
RZE Fortitude Pilot Watch © RZE

On Spec articles refer to upcoming projects and rely upon available information on Kickstarter, the brand website, and promotional materials provided by the watchmaker. An On Spec article does not preclude a future full-length review in our Off The Cuff section. If you would like your project to feature in On Spec, please contact us here.

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2 thoughts on “On Spec: The RZE Fortitude Collection

  1. Mason W.

    Great article, definitely thinking about getting a Fortitude for myself! There’s a field/pilot watch sized hole in my collection that the Fortitude would fit into very nicely. I love the turbine bezel, reminds me of an Oris Big Crown ProPilot (which I wish I could afford).
    Small correction to be made though; the Fortitude is priced at $469 for the people that signed up for the initial pre-sale, $499 for the regular pre-sale, and then $599 full retail. The pricing is at the bottom of RZE’s product page.

    Like

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