Fortis was founded in 1912 by Walter Vogt in Grenchen, Switzerland. But it wouldn't be until another 12 years later that they would begin watchmaking history after John Harwood, inventor of the automatic wristwatch. The patented Harwood Automatic was released by Fortis in 1926, becoming the world’s first automatic watch in a series production. Maintaining a strong reputation for functional and reliable watches in the following years, Fortis also launched the world’s first waterproof watches in 1943.
By 1962, Fortis was beginning its relationship with the space industry, with seven members of a US space mission testing its Spacematic Automatic. Following strict endurance tests in 1994 that proved the capabilities of Fortis watches in the most extreme conditions, the Star City Training Center chose Fortis to become part of their Official Cosmonauts’ equipment. The Swiss brand has been the official watch supplier to the Russian Space program since 2004, and was the official supplier to the Mars 500 mission in 2010..
These ongoing and intensive collaborations with space travel experts resulted in another world first for Fortis: the creation of the world’s only chronograph automatic alarm. With expert knowledge and Fortis innovation, the company developed the very first patented watch complication to unite the three basic functions of time measurement: the display of hours minutes and seconds; precise time measurement facilitated by a chronograph; and specific time reminders provided by an alarm function.
Inspired by new technologies and the desire for innovation, Fortis continues to invest in new, modern developments to stay ahead in an ever-changing watch industry.
In addition to the distinctively sporty pilot's watches series Fortis with the Marinemaster and Diver has also dive watches in their offers.
In 2000 the collection Spacematic is presented. It includes five different models: Day/Date, ECO, GMT, Chronograph and Chronograph Alarm.
On 10 September 2001Fortis CEO Peter Peter, on the occasion of a meeting of the international space agencies in Paris, receives the medal "Star of the Blue Planet". This award, bestowed by the Russian Space Agency Rosaviakosmosfor his involvement in the development of mechanical Chronographs for travel space, has been previously awarded only five times to non-Russian personalities.
Fortis filed for bankruptcy protection on November 24, 2017.
From 1994 on Fortis is official watch supplier of the Russion Cosmonaut Training Center Yuri A. Gagarin. The watches are subjected to severe tests in order to fulfill their service in space with the highest reliability and durability. Thus, the model Official Cosmonauts Chronograph was worn by Russian cosmonauts in space and proved that watches with automatic winding are fully compatible also in space. Because it's not the gravity that matters but the movements of the wearer.
As an important technical innovation of watches Fortis in 1998 presented the world's first automatic chronograph with integrated mechanical alarm function,, whose construction was developed by the Zurich watchmaker artist Paul Gerber. .
1956: Fortis wins the leading chronometer prize awarded by the Swiss institute for official time measurement, for the first waterproof, mechanical alarm
2001: 1st place at the International Watch Award. In Japan the Fortis Official Cosmonauts Chronograph wins the Grand Prix of the watch magazine "BEGIN" in the space watches category.
2001: "Star of the Blue Planet” for Peter Peter.
2004: “1st European Aviation Watch Award” for the Fortis Pilot's Chronograph.
2007: 2nd place at the election "Golden Balance" with the limited edition Fortis Flieger Chronograph Alarm Platinum in the category up to 25,000 €.
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