Astor & Banks Fortitude

It’s a great time for entry-level watch fans. Not only are established brands increasingly embracing the space, there are also plenty of new startups looking to make their name on the sub-$1000 watch scene. The Astor & Banks Fortitude is one of the latest offering from one of these newer outfits.

Inspired by traditional officer’s watches, the timepiece brings a sporty yet elegant design that makes it suitable for pairing with both formal and casual outfits alike, making it a versatile everyday watch that you can slip on all year round. Not only does the design look good, the size is very wrist-friendly, too, making it perfect for guys who have grown weary of the oversized watches they spent much of the previous years using to accessorize their outfits. Truth be told, it looks like the kind of watch your girlfriend will want to take from your dresser occasionally, which says a lot about its appealing aesthetics.

The Astor & Banks Fortitude has a 38.5mm case, so it fits in well with the current trend of smaller men’s watches, with a thickness of 11.9mm, leaving it slim enough to tuck in comfortably under the sleeves of most of the dress shirts you wear to the office. The dial is quite classic, with thick hour markers, a date window at the six o’clock position, and four options in dial color (navy blue, silver, mint green, and mother of pearl), complete with Super-LumiNova C3 coats at the hands and main indices for nighttime visibility. It has a vertically brushed flat bezel, a flat anti-reflective sapphire crystal, a screw-down crown, and a solid caseback.

Movement is a Miyota 9015, which ticks at 4Hz, winds automatically, and keeps a power reserve of 42 hours on tap. Even better, this movement is sandwiched between two soft iron plates that repel magnetic forces, giving it an anti-magnetic rating of 20,000 A/m, so it will maintain accurate timekeeping better than most watches out there that come unprotected. Both the screw-down crown and the Viton gaskets allow it to withstand up to 660 feet of water immersion, so you can get pretty deep in the water without having to take the darn thing off.

The Astor & Banks Fortitude comes with a flat link bracelet that’s, pretty much, as refined as its classic dial, with a design that’s tapered and fitted with solid end links really rounding out the stylish looks. It goes so well with the dial, in fact, it feels like the bracelet is integrated into the case. Those who are not quite fans of stainless steel bracelets can opt for the included suede strap instead by simply using the included strap-changing tool, so you can change this up to something more casual if the whole aesthetic feels a tad too formal.

If you want a solid, functional watch with a nice selection of dial colors, the Astor & Banks Fortitude is definitely one timepiece to check out. Even better, it’s very affordably priced, starting at $525.

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