Fortis is a luxury Swiss watch manufacturer that has been around for more than a century. Founded in 1912 by Walter Vogt, Fortis quickly became a pioneer in the world of timekeeping. He soon set up production with John Hardwood, the inventor of the automatic wristwatch. In 1926, their team was able to release and patent the first self-winding wristwatch, the Hardwood Automatic. A little over a decade later, the company would celebrate its 25th anniversary by manufacturing its first line of chronographs.
Despite economic setbacks during the Second World War, Fortis continued to innovate throughout the 20th Century. In 1943, Fortis created the Fortissimo waterproof watch, adding to its growing line of functional luxury wristwear. However, the company reached new heights in the 1960s when it created the Spacematic Automatic. Designed to withstand extreme conditions, the Spacematic Automatic accompanied a group of US astronauts into space.
By 1994, Fortis had improved its durability testing for space-bound timepieces. Soon after, Fortis became the only supplier of wristwatches to the Russian Federal Space Agency. Three years later, the Fortis Official Cosmonauts Chronograph was named the official watch of the German-Russian space mission, MIR 97.
Throughout the remainder of the 1990s and 2000s, Fortis won multiple awards and secured new contracts with both military and government agencies around the world. Today, Fortis offers vintage GMT and automatic watches for sale to commemorate the history of the brand and its accomplishments in the realm of space travel.
Fortis Watch Collections
While the Fortis brand did not begin as a watch manufacturer for astronauts, sailors, and military personnel, its collection of watch lines grew to accommodate more adventurous lifestyles throughout the 20th Century. The Cosmonaut, Marine Master, and B42 collections were specifically designed with space travel in mind. Both watch collections feature a wide array of information on the watch face to track the time, date, and even speed. The Spacematic has similar functionality, but with a simpler, paired-down watch face.
However, Fortis does not only release watches for pilots, sailors, and astronauts. The Terrestis Hedonist and Terrestis Orchestra collections reflect the quality of the brand in smaller, luxurious timepieces. Both collections do not feature the large protective casings and chronograph complications of the Fortis’ space collections. Instead, they make use of simple face designs, comfortable leather straps, and gold-plated hands.
Finally, the Tycoon Date collection has a minimalistic design and sleek black or white face to fit just about any occasion. The 41mm stainless steel housing makes watches in this collection small and stylish. This collection has two major variations: Tycoon Date AM and Tycoon Date PM. The former features a white face with a brown leather strap, while the latter features a black face and black leather strap.