Is This the Best Field Watch of 2020?

The Astor & Banks Fortitude is an American watch with everything you need and nothing you don't.

astor  banks fortitude
Vincent Lions

If you were reading GP last year, you may recall our review of the Astor & Banks Sea Ranger, somewhat of a cross between a field watch and a dive watch. The company, founded by Andrew Perez and based in Chicago, is a another young American upstart making affordable tool watches and assembling them Stateside. Perez, a military veteran, has a great eye for design and manages to mix classic horological tropes with modern nuances to give his watches a unique flavor.

Perez's latest creation, the Fortitude, is a field watch through and through, and it's certainly among the most compelling affordable options of the year. Measuring a perfect 38.5mm in diameter, the Fortitude is somewhat reminiscent of a classic Rolex Explorer, but certainly not in a fashion that screams "homage," by any means. Its handsome dial with 6 o'clock date, applied indices and sword hands is available in several colors — navy blue, silver, mother-of-pearl, mint green, and a special limited edition for BLVDier Custom Clothier in Chicago of 50 pieces in navy blue gilt —and is sparse, legible, and just plain good-lookin'. Super-LumiNova C3 coats the hands and indices for nighttime visibility.

astor  banks fortitude
Vincent Lions
astor  banks fortitude
Vincent Lions

New for this model is an anti-magnetic rating of 20,000A/m, achieved through the use of two soft iron plates that sandwich the movement. Viton gaskets and a screw-down crown ensure 660 feet of water resistance, while a flat sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating ensures solid visibility and scratch-resistance.

Powering the Fortitude is the automatic Miyota 9015, adjusted by Astor & Banks and featuring 42 hours of power reserve. Each watch ships on a stainless steel bracelet as well as a suede strap with quick-release spring bars and a strap-changing tool.

astor  banks fortitude side
Astor & Banks

On the hunt for an affordable, automatic field watch for yourself or someone special? The Fortitude looks like a great option. It lists for $650 for the navy, silver and mint green dials, and $695 for the mother-of-pearl. However, the watches are currently in pre-order, and you can nab one for just $525 (or $550 for the mother-of-pearl). Each watch includes a five-year warranty and is expected to ship in December, 2020 or January, 2021.

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