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Fortis Watches

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For over a century, Fortis has lived up to its name by making strong, long lasting creations. It also has a particularly stellar reputation when it comes to space clocks. Fortis is one of the big names in that rarified field, accompanying some of the most respected astronauts in history on their journeys beyond the stratosphere. In addition, it develops specialist watches for the aviation and diving sectors.

The Fortis success story

Swiss watchmaking since 1912

Swiss watchmaking since 1912

Expertise, strong design and high quality materials – it's these virtues that make every Fortis watch such a fine example of traditional Swiss craftsmanship. The company was founded in 1912 by Walter Vogt in Grenchen, Switzerland. It wasn't an overnight success, but little by little Fortis rose in the ranks of Swiss watchmakers. This is due in large part to the company's taste for invention. In 1926, for example, Fortis caused a stir with one of the world's first automatic wristwatches. Developed in collaboration with a British watchmaker, the Harwood Automatic marked a decisive advance in watch design.

To celebrate 25 years in business, Walter Vogt released the first Fortis chronograph in 1937. In order to give his watches even more practical appeal, he worked especially hard on their water resistance. The launch of the company's first waterproof automatic wristwatch in 1943 paved the way for a whole raft of Fortis diving watches, which are still a key part of the company's product portfolio.

Strong performance

Space watch specialist

Ever since the early 1960s, Fortis has been committed to the development of timepieces especially designed for use in outer space. Because they're so resistant to temperature fluctuations, Fortis products are ideally suited for the challenging conditions that exist beyond the earth's atmosphere. This was confirmed in 1994 after extensive tests at the training centre in Star City near Moscow. The Fortis Official Cosmonauts Chronograph has since become official equipment for Russian space missions.

Another milestone in the history of Fortis was the creation of the Fortis calibre F 2001. The first watch of its kind, this was an automatic space chronograph with a mechanical alarm function. Overall, various Fortis watch models have played a consistently important role in the story of space exploration. In 1995 the Fortis Automatic Chronograph reached what was then a record altitude of 300,000 metres. And in 1997, the Fortis Official Cosmonauts Chronograph took part in the German-Russian space mission MIR 97. In addition, Russian occupants of the international space station still regularly use Fortis watches.

Colourful, trend conscious watches

The Fortis Pinball Machine

In the 1960s, Fortis once again demonstrated its pioneering spirit by launching a plastic watch in a wide selection of vivid colours. The Fortis Pinball Machine was a particular hit among younger customers, setting a trend that the Swatch brand would later run with.

Available in a wide variety of coloured plastic straps that could be freely combined with different dials, the Fortis Flipper was an expression of youthfulness, individuality and flexibility. In particular, the release of Flipper Quartz Leader in 1975 really shook the watch industry. The Rolling Stones, Roman Polanski and Roger Moore all became prominent fans.

In the recent times, these trend-setting pieces have been reissued under the name “Fortis Colours”. In addition to a precise quartz movement, these welcome updates now offer water resistance up to 200 metres.

Design of unparalleled clarity

For astronauts, pilots and divers

The development of specialist watches for astronauts, pilots and divers has been a priority for Fortis since the very start. For this reason, the quality and functionality of each Fortis watch is a key consideration. Does it works reliably in any situation? Is it robust and easy to read? Only then can it be considered a true professional instrument. These considerations have had a major impact on the look of Fortis watches over the years. That's why the brand typically goes for a clear contrast between the numbers and hands and the background of the dial (usually black, white or grey). These same principles extend to the housing and strap too – all are honed by Fortis's rigourous functional aesthetic.

The use of high quality materials has also contributed to the brand's popularity. After all, it's for this reason that a Fortis watch generally lasts so long. Factors such as cold and heat, air pressure, vibrations and humidity have little or no impact on their robust build quality. Where many other brands can quickly become scratched, this is less likely with Fortis watches thanks to the toughness of their stainless steel and sapphire glass. And the especially good news for customers is that these durable items are available at affordable prices, plus there are some attractive entry level models in the collection which show no drop-off in terms of quality.