Fortis Easy Math Ref. 7242

Overview

Fortis Easy Math is a quirky 70s watch to the bone. The watch has a cushion case, two crowns and a busy dial. The dial has tritium plots, beautiful deep blue color, elevated disc with compass cardinal directions and a rotating slide rule bezel.

ManufacturerFortis
Reference7242
MovementFHF-ST96
Diameter37mm
Thickness12mm
Lug to lug44mm
Lug width20mm
MaterialStainless Steel
Water Resistance5 ATM
Basic information

The stainless steel case has a beautifully sunburst finish with radially brushed surfaces and polished sides. A similar radial finish was used at the time by Omega in their various references among many others. The watch may look like a dive watch, but it is not and has a very modest depth rating.

The Dial and the Bezel

The most interesting aspect of this watch is the dial and the bezel. The bezel can be used perform multiplication and division operations by using the slide rule (and hence the name ‘Easy Math’). There is a lot of information online how to use the slide rule and how to use watch as a compass, so I will omit those.

The Case

The 37mm case is often advertised as 38mm by over eager sales guys to serve the big watch fetish. The case features two crowns, and is thus typically labeled incorrectly as EPSA super compressor. The EPSA super compressors feature a dive helmet and other EPSA markings on the case-back, but the EasyMath is missing those.

Example of EPSA Markings

The upper crown manipulates the internal slide rule bezel. and the lower crown winds the movement and sets time. The internal gear of the slide rule bezel crown is plastic. The same applies to the teeth on the bezel disk. When encountering mechanical resistance, one should probably avoid adjusting. Turning the bezel risks damaging the gear or the teeth. Replacement parts are unavailable.

The Movement

The manual FHF-ST96 movement is not particularly well regarded, but it is sometimes called workhorse movement. It operates at frequency of 18000A/h and has a power reserve of 48h. While it lacks many nice modern features, the only thing it left me yearning for is hack seconds.

The winding experience of the movement is smooth and the hands move precisely when time is set. While the FHF-ST96 is found in many fake / franken watches, I haven’t noticed that the Easymath is being faked. This would be unlikely due to the lack of market for the watches, but it would be a mistake to assume that something is too cheap to fake.

Conclusion

The unusual dial alone makes Fortis Easy Math worth collector’s interest. The movement is not haute horlogerie, but it gets the job done and at least feels nice to wind. Despite the modest technical properties and lack of complications, the watch feels excellent on wrist, looks great on a variety of straps and above all, you can find one for cheap. In the end, what more can you ask for?

Blushark Orca Review

Introduction

In the past few years, we have seen the introduction a few new Nato strap styles such as Tudor knit straps, Omega seatbelt straps, Marine Nationale stretch straps and perlon straps. Compared to a standard Canvas NATO strap, these new strap styles are a little different and aim to provide better comfort, slimmer profile, better adjustment and more colours and textures.

Omega and Tudor straps are also quite expensive. The general sentiment is that these straps are high quality and built by manufacturers with access to manufacturing facilities and materials unavailable to smalltime producers. However, one might think there is only so much you can do with a fabric and there must be a point of diminishing returns somewhere.

In simplest terms, Nato strap is a piece of cloth that is used to tie a wrist watch to your wrist. The point of the whole thing is that a Nato strap is cheap and disposable, and once the strap is worn out, you chuck it and buy another. Things I expect from a Nato strap:

  • Strong
  • Cheap
  • Not made out of too fancy or weak material
  • Lasts a long time.
  • Fabric doesn’t undo.
  • Steel hardware.
  • Looks good.
  • Enough colours.

Blushark Orca

Blushark Orca is a heavy-duty strap. Its distinctive feature is the waffle weave that sets it apart from basic canvas straps. The strap is thick, so you don’t perhaps want to wear your 1,7cm thick Planet Ocean GMT on one. However, for the thickness, you get excellent looks and a thick durable strap that seems like it’ll last a lifetime.

I’ve worn my Seiko Turtle SRP777 on one, and it works just fine. While the SRP777 is not particularly high, its still 14mm. For smaller watches such as skin divers and military watches the strap is perfect. It wears comfortably and the extra thickness doesn’t bother at all. The waffle pattern is different enough and the conservative colors create a very desirable rugged look.

Colors

The available colors are fairly limited, but yet enough. Colors that particularly work well with the Orca waffle strap are: army green, khaki, navy blue and gray. In addition to these the strap is available in the both standard ‘Bond’ colors, but I don’t participate in secret agent LARPs so I never wear those.

Three Orcas and two Phoenix Natos

In addition to the standard conservative colors of Blushark also offers some brighter colors. Of these, my favourite is the gray and orange and bright orange. The gray and orange works exceptionally well with titanium / bead blasted finishes. A colour that is on my wish list is burgundy or wine red. I’d definitely wear it with my watches with red details such as red seconds hand or red text.

Price & Packaging

Individually, the price of the Blushark straps is somewhat steep at 19 USD (checked in August 2020). However, Blushark runs ‘buy 2 get 1’ and ‘buy 3 get 5’ offers, which radically change the value proposition. This coupled with free shipping and -20% after a special offer such as holiday or sale and you have nearly unbeatable price per strap a little over 10 USD a piece.

The single biggest disappointment with the Blusharp Orca strap is the packaging. Each strap comes individually packaged in a plastic foil. This is quite literally, total waste. The strap could come either in thin paper or — surprise surprise: no packaging at all. This may be difficult to implement as obsessed strap enthusiasts will return the products when encountering the slightest scuff on the hardware.

Conclusion

Whereas the recent trend has been copying Omega and Tudor straps, the waffle weave Orca is a reminder what a strap should be. With the price of single Omega strap, you can buy 20 Blushark straps. Blushark offers a serious good looking Nato strap for a decent price that definitely works well with tool watches.