31. januar 2015

Fortis Marinemaster - Watch out for fakes!

Super compressors are cool. No doubt about it. Different shapes of cases were made and the largest at 42 mm wide are very wearable.

The Fortis Marinemaster are one the most common models found on eBay and has a colourful and unique layout. The watch measures:
Width: 42 mm
Length: 49,5 mm
Height: 12,5 mm

A nice video:

And some wristshots:

The price is usually reasonable at 300-350 euro for a vintage super compressor. And the Fortis Marinemaster's has all the characteristics of a super compressor: criss-cross pattern on crowns, the helmet-logo on the back of the case and the helmet logo and production date on the inside of the back case. Almost all Fortis Marinemaster's for sale are in mint condition. But it is almost to good to be true.

A little googling and soon I realised that 19 out of 20 for sale are modern replicas (or fakes, as some would call them). A some point in time a large batch has been produced and they are now gradually released to the market.

Read this blog with an excellent discussion.

The fake Fortis Marinemaster's are fairly easy to identify once you are aware of what to look for. The production date is "4 - 70" :
It says "WATERPROOP" on the back case:
Often the wrong "P" in "WATERPROOP" has been etched out:
Or the word "WATERPROOP" has been polished away:

In 2002 actually Fortis themselves produced a 90-years limited edition of the Fortis Marinemaster Steel Date, but only 90 pieces were made. They should be easily recognizable by the limitation number (e.g. "12/90" engraved on the case back. Source.
Spec sheet for the Fortis Marinemaster 90-years limited edition of 90 pieces
A genuine Fortis Marinemaster from the early 70s has a different colour scheme on the dial - less red, more orange and yellow:
A genuine Fortis Marinemaster has no spelling errors on the back case: 
A genuine Fortis Marinemaster is not only produced in "4-70" but e.g. from "11-72": 

To sum up. The genuine Fortis Marinemaster's are very rare and often sold for 1.000+ euros (and thus not relevant for this blog).

The Fortis Marinemaster replicas are available, reasonably affordable, in excellent condition and cool looking - but certainly not from the 70s. If only the sellers would call them "replicas" or "heritage".

6 kommentarer:

  1. Hi, very nice post about the marinemaster, but you left me with an uncertainty in you last sentence. I personally owned the waterproop version. I colltect watches for a long time and after this article I am not sure if this was a replica, a heritage watch, a reedition or just a fake. I personally can not imagine and I saw a lot of fakes, that this was one. Why making a fake wath with an writen mistake made on purpose? Is it not possible, that it was just done to avoid people to go swim with this watch as it was not waterproof at all? And why doing such an effort to create a fake watch with such a detailed precision - ETA movement, rotating bezel, all the engraving and then this "stupid " waterproop mistake. are you sure, Fortis has not produced this as a heritage line? Would like to know your opinion on that.

  2. Hi Watchport. Thanks for your input! Nothing seems to indicate that the ”waterproop” version is authorised by Fortis. It is certainly not one of the 90-years limited edition watches. The conclusion must be that these new ”waterproop” are replicas / fakes. The spelling error is probably just a stupid – but very fun – mistake ;-)

  3. Thanks for the reply. I just have to cope with the fact of having been pranked with this watch. Frankly, when I was buying this watch some years ago, I thought that it was just an edition for the scandinavian market. But it is a funny mistake indeed.

  4. Thank You for that great information about Fortis Marinemaster and saving my money!

  5. Absolutely wonderful post! What a perfect concept. Thank you ReviewBlogInvestor


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